Pearl Mackie
Pearl Mackie has been announced as Dr Who's new companion Bill BBC

The news that Pearl Mackie has been named as the new Doctor Who companion has been met with approval and excitement by fans of the long running TV series. It was announced today that Mackie will play a character called Bill, as she joins join Peter Capaldi in the Tardis.

Fans were given a brief glimpse of the Dr's new companion in a teaser which was shown on BBC1 during Match of the Day. The ballsy, street-smart, sassy Bill, had audiences won over already as at the off, she appeared to poke fun of the Daleks.

Commentators on social media were elated to see a black actress take on the coveted and iconic role as Mackie follows in the footsteps of the likes of Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Karen Gillan, Catherine Tate and Jenna Coleman, whose character Clara Oswald left the show in 2015.

"Yay for women of color in science fiction!<" said one Twitter user. "Yep, happy with that companion choice, looks like someone who is genuinely funny. Something they have lacked since Catherine Tate," commented another.

Once the announcement was made Mackie herself took to Twitter to share her excitement at the role in the tenth series of the show, which was introduced in 1963, and to express her gratitude to the positive reaction to the news.

"I'm so excited to be the next companion on Doctor Who! Can't wait to join the family! Thank you for all the lovely messages," she tweeted.

Mackie, who graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010, is currently performing in the National Theatre's West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Speculation that she was among the contenders for the role mounted after a photo was posted on social media of Capaldi with the cast of the stage show.

A well-known stage actor Mackie has been described as "a star in the making" by the British Theatre Guide. The actress said that she was excited to work alongside Capaldi and hinted at Bill's character.

"I'm incredibly excited to be joining the Doctor Who family," she told the BBC. "It's such an extraordinary British institution, I couldn't be prouder to call the Tardis my home. Peter Capaldi is such a brilliant actor, and his Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character, I can't wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space.

"Reading the script at the audition I thought Bill was wicked. Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in - I can't wait to bring her to life, and to see how she develops through the series."

Dr Who
Peter Capaldi described Mackie as a 'refreshing addition to the Tardis' BBC

Capaldi in turn said he was certain Mackie would bring a new dimension to the TV show. "It is a genuine delight to welcome Pearl Mackie to Doctor Who. A fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm, she's a refreshing addition to the Tardis and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor's adventures."

Producer Stephan Moffat added: "A new face in the TARDIS, a new voyage about to begin: welcome aboard the amazing Pearl Mackie! This is where the story really starts."

Doctor Who will return later this year with a Christmas Special and the new series will start on BBC One in 2017.