Born in Brixton, Pearl Mackie is a graduate of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Early roles included the music comedy Svengali, daytime soap Doctors, and the West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. She shot to fame this spring playing dinner lady Bill Potts, sidekick to Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor in his final series of Doctor Who, and the first gay main companion in the show’s 54-year history. Her farewell appearance as Bill comes in Doctor Who’s Christmas Day special at 5.30pm on BBC1. She also stars alongside Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker and Toby Jones in a new production of The Birthday Party, running at London’s Harold Pinter theatre from 9 January.