Pearl Mackie grew up in Brixton. According to an October 2016 interview, she desired to be an actor from the age of five, but found that "I didn't see many people who looked like me on TV. There were hardly any strong black women." The role models of Mackie's childhood were all "tough women, not afraid to be vulnerable": Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald. "They made me feel someone like me could do that."
Like her character Bill Potts, Mackie actually went to university in Bristol, though she attended the University of Bristol, where she earned a degree in drama. Mackie further studied at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, from which she was graduated in 2010.
Before Doctor Who, Pearl Mackie's work was largely in theatre; she has very few credits in either film or television. After playing Anne-Marie Frasier in one episode of Doctors, Bill Potts was her first starring role in a television series.
To keep secrets from spreading, the code "MEANTOWN" was used for Mackie's auditions for the companion role, rather than Doctor Who. The word is an anagram for WOMAN TEN; that is, the companion for series 10 of the BBC Wales version of the show.
- The Pilot
- Thin Ice
- Knock Knock
- Extremis/ The Pyramid at the End of the World / The Lie of the Land
- Empress of Mars
- The Eaters of Light
- World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls
- Twice Upon a Time
- Famous Birthdays
- Jeffries, Stuart (5 October 2016). Doctor Who's new companion Pearl Mackie: 'I have no time-travelling experience!'. The Guardian. Retrieved on 15 April 2017.
- Gee, Catherine (7 April 2017). Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie: everything you need to know about the new companion. The Telegraph. Retrieved on 15 April 2017.
- Duff, Seamus (15 April 2017). Who is Pearl Mackie? Doctor Who companion Bill Potts who admits she's never seen the show. The Sun. Retrieved on 15 April 2017.