Trans Actress Bethany Black Joins “Doctor Who” In New Season

Black previously played Helen Brears on the queer dramedies "Cucumber" and "Banana."

Actress-comedian Bethany Black will appear in the upcoming ninth season of Doctor Who, the BBC announced, making her the first openly trans actor in the beloved sci-fi series’ 52-year run.

bethany black

Her appearance was billed as a guest spot in a network press release. “Now to sit back and wait until The Mail realises the BBC have cast an openly trans lesbian in a family show,”she wrote on Facebook.

Black, 36, previously played Helen Brears on Russell T. Davies’ queer dramedies Cucumber and Banana, which aired on Logo this year. (Davies, of course, helped reboot Who for the 21st century in 2005.)

“I have seen trans characters portrayed and I have seen them go badly wrong,” she told The Stage of taking the role of Helen. “I thought, ‘Oh God, how awful is this going to be?’ I expected to not like it but I thought it was great.”

It’s not clear yet whether her character on Who will be trans or not.

Reece Shearsmith league of gentlemen

Other guests in the upcoming season, which premieres in September, include Maisie Williams (Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), Reece Shearsmith (above, The League Of Gentlemen) and Elaine Tan (Entourage).

Peter Capaldi took on the mantle of the Doctor last year, and Jenna Coleman remains his steadfast companion, Clara.

Last year, Season 8 of Doctor Who drew an average audience of 7.4 million viewers in the UK alone.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery