Archive for the ‘interview’ Tag
Observing Matt Smith as he throws shapes for the RT photographer, it’s clear there’s something different about the Doctor. It’s not just the wind machine rearranging his floppy locks nor comely new co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman at his side, but rather that he appears to have bulked up and broadened out. Once the photos are finished, he concedes, “Since I’ve been back in London, I’ve been going to the gym three times a week. It makes me feel much better about my life, I have to say. It’s just good for my mind.”
Could it also be on his mind that he’ll soon be starring in the US movie How to Catch a Monster, directed by Ryan Gosling, renowned for his chiselled physique? Has he seen Gosling’s celebrated six-pack? “No, I haven’t seen his abs yet,” he laughs, “but as soon as I do, Radio Times will be first to know.” Surely, they’re both in competition for the hearts of teens around the world? “Oh, he wins, he totally wins, mate.”
Smith completed filming series seven of Who last year, but soon he’ll be back in Cardiff to shoot the 50th anniversary special, about which he is customarily tight-lipped. He’s spent the hiatus directing a Sky Arts drama, Cargese, which suggests he’s keeping at least one eye on a future beyond the Tardis. The question, as always, is how long can he go on as the Doctor? “For ever! I came back and put the costume on for the photoshoot today. At the risk of sounding self-indulgent and cheesy, it really does make you want to go back and start shooting. I’m attached to the show for the next year and I take it year by year. I think that’s the only way you can take it.”
Amid signs of spring outside, renewal is in the air with newcomer Coleman. In a bid to understand the dynamic between the pair, I ask Smith who would drive if they were to take a hypothetical car journey together. “I’d definitely drive,” he laughs. “Can she even drive? She can ride shotgun. Happy days! Plus the fact is, I get to choose what’s on the radio. The music this one listens to… No, no, no, no, no. She doesn’t share my musical tastes. She’ll hate me for saying that. That will really annoy her.” In the past he’s dismissed her tastes as “low-level pop” while his iPod features Alt-J and Jessie Ware.
Smith and Coleman were head boy and girl in their schooldays. Jenna got better A-levels than Matt – straight As. “Exams just tell you how good you are at passing exams,” says Smith. But does this disparity extend to their characters? Could Clara, a bona fide genius, be more intelligent than the Doctor. “No. I mean, no,” he laughs. “There’d be no show. He’s cleverer. He allows her to think she’s really clever all the time. But this is a man of over a thousand years with a complex neurostructure, two hearts and the mind of a robot dog.”
Confronted with recent criticism that the Whoniverse is dishing out short rations in this golden anniversary year, he replies, as if personally wounded, “But I think there’s only so much you can shoot. There’s a Christmas special and eight episodes, there’s the 50th anniversary, and on top of that you’ve got Mark Gatiss writing a script [An Adventure in Space and Time about Who’s origins], plus you’ve got live events, things taking place around the world simultaneously. There’s only so many you can make each year without compromising the quality. It will be everything that it needs to be, the anniversary. And in November there will be a right old party.”
He’s similarly engaged when confronted with another recent criticism that the show has become too complex for children. “No, I think we have to give children more credit. Children are always going to engage with the story in a slightly different way to adults, but I tell you this, I bet you they pay more attention. What are we meant to do? Just dumb everything down? The science is mad and complicated and brilliant. It’s Doctor Who! If it’s too easy, what’s the point?”
Having said that, Smith’s summary of the new episodes is admirably straightforward: “A load of new places to explode things, new places to visit and people we may or may not have seen before.” Simple enough for any adult.
via Radio Times.
The Doctor Who actress discusses Glee, Donny Osmond’s naughty bits, the end of Merlin and why she’s joined the cast of Arrow
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I don’t know whether you have it in Britain but my 11-year-old daughter and I are obsessed with Project Runway, a reality show about fashion designers. We even did our own version: we had an hour to design dresses for her Barbie dolls.
Whose Barbie won?
Mine, who very much looked like a Josephine Baker showgirl. My daughter was a bit miffed!
Living in LA, does anything make you blush?
We used to have Glee nights and my daughter’s friends came round, but it started to get a little too raunchy and we had to stop watching.
Did your mother stop you watching anything?
I remember lying on the floor, kicking and screaming, not eating my food, and still my mum was absolutely adamant that I couldn’t watch Barbarella. I’d seen a trailer on the telly and was mesmerised by the lovely male angel and Jane Fonda looking like a Barbie doll.
What are you addicted to?
The Killing. My sister bought me the box set. They did an American version but I don’t want to watch it until I’ve finished the original.
Who was your first crush?
I had two simultaneously: Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. I had a huge poster of David Cassidy’s head and combed his hair every night. Donny Osmond was life-size, sat legs astride in a banana-yellow suit with jaunty matching cap. Because of the way the poster had been folded, there was a hole where his naughty bits were, which I found so erotic! To this day, I couldn’t meet Donny Osmond without blushing.
Do you still catch British dramas?
Oh totally. Although, again, it tends to be ones my daughter and I can watch together: Doctor Who – naturally – and she’s into Merlin…
Sorry to be the bearer of sad news: Merlin has been cancelled.
Oh no! Has it? Oh what a shame. Thank goodness we’re only on series two so we’ve got a way to go.
Will River Song be returning to Doctor Who?
I’m so attached to that character. I never expected her to grow and develop in the way she has. You never know whether she’s going to be hard-ass or good. As long as Steven Moffat has storylines that include her, I will always say yes.
If you were in charge of the BBC, what would you commission?
More Panorama. It’s an enormous shame that there’s not that ambition to produce really good current affairs any more.
What attracted you to the comic book series Arrow?
Like River Song, my character in Arrow isn’t necessarily who she appears to be. Dinah walked away from her marriage after the death of her daughter, and suddenly reappears with the conviction that her daughter is still alive. You don’t know if it’s real or if she’s a crackpot.
You’re often cast as tough cookies – is that important to you?
It’s just happened that way. I’m tall, I’m big-boned so I never got to play Shakespearean heroines like Ophelia or Juliet; I was never offered that kind of role. But I’m not complaining.
Alex Kingston joins the cast of Arrow on Monday at 8:00pm on Sky1
via Radio Times.
Best known for playing the fifth incarnation of the Time Lord and more recently for his role in ‘Law & Order: UK’, Peter Davison spoke to Neela Debnath at this year’s Sci-Fi Weekender about his time on the show, discussing the Doctor with his son-in-law David Tennant and watching the new series.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, what do you think is the enduring appeal of the show?
Well, there are several enduring appeals really. I think one is that science fiction has itself a very strong appeal because it’s almost limitless in its imagination. It can be doing all sorts of different stories. It can be doing a period story, a futuristic story, an alien invasion story, a story on other planets, and I think that appeals to those younger people with imagination. I think they’re drawn to it. It helps of course that we’ve managed to have several actors play one part, unlikely we could have got one to go on for 50 years. I was probably the first Doctor who grew up watching Doctor Who. Although he’s from another planet, it’s a strangely British character.
How will you be marking the 50th anniversary?
I suppose I’m attending some functions like this. I’m involved in some Big Finish 50th anniversary specials. Apart from that I don’t know. I do have a meeting with the producer of Doctor Who just to talk about events, things at Bafta. There’s a big celebration on the weekend when the series went out originally which strangely falls on the same weekend, that’s as far as I know.
You son-in-law David Tennant also played the Doctor, do you discuss Doctor Who much?
Doctor Who features quite highly in what we talk about but usually our experiences with it and whatever happens to be going on now. Both our children – he’s got a son Ty, I’ve got two boys 11 and 13, but they all love Doctor Who.
When you first took on the role of the Doctor was there any apprehension?
Yes, there was apprehension from two points of view. One is that I grew up watching it and it’s very weird to be offered a part that you’ve been watching as a fan. I felt young, the original Doctors were quite old and in my head that was a fixed thing, so I thought ‘am I too young?’ And then of course, it is a large responsibility, a heavy responsibility in a way to do that part because it is an important character for a lot of children. But it’s not really a children’s programme. So, it’s almost like a father figure. I felt the responsibility of taking that on. So, it took me a few days to say yes. But I kind of knew in my heart that I would.
Who came up with the costume and in particular the celery?
Well, I had the idea that it should be based around a cricketing outfit. My idea was then taken away and developed by the costume designer into something that was actually very comfortable to wear. I love it but it really wasn’t based on a cricketing outfit by the time they finished with it apart from the cricket jumper and slightly stripy trousers. The celery was a thing suggested by the producer and my only proviso was that it would be explained before I left the series. We got the very last episode and I remembered that they hadn’t explained it. So they inserted something into the last story to the effect that the Doctor was allergic – would have a fatal reaction to a certain gas in the Praxis range – and the celery is an antidote. In fact when the gas is present it will turn purple and then if I eat the celery I will be saved.
How did you feel when you heard the show was being brought back in 2005?
I always thought it would come back because it seemed to me like it had lost its way a bit I think, as things do after that amount of time. It got a bit tired in certain areas and I think it lost its focus – that’s the main thing. When I heard it was coming back under the auspices of Russell T. Davies, I thought that it was just in good hands. I knew he was a big Doctor Who fan and I know he’s a brilliant writer. It seems to me where it has its advantages now over the classic series is that it’s being written by all those people who grew up watching it. It’s Russell T. Davies first of all then Steven Moffat the producer, Mark Gatiss who is a big Doctor Who fan and they’re fantastic writers and they’re all writing marvellous stories. Of course David who was a big fan of the series growing up becomes the Doctor and so now it’s really being run by the people who were the fans.
Do you watch the new series?
I do watch the new series, yes, because my children watch it and I love watching it. I’ve got to that age now. Douglas Adams who was a script editor on Doctor Who once said to me; ‘the trick about Doctor Who is making it simple enough for the adults to understand and complicated enough to hold the children’s attention’. And I think I’m now getting to that point where I think I’ve moved into the older bracket, obviously I have, but in brain as well because I do find myself turning to my children saying; ‘what’s going on? What? Can you explain that?’ They go; ‘oh, dad, what’s happened is his…’ So, I’m now in that bracket which has to be simple for dad to understand.
You’ve had a varied career, what have you done to avoid getting typecast?
Well, I’ve never done anything for too long. If there is a secret, most things have panned out about three years, four years. Doctor Who I decided to leave after three years. Although it was tough letting go in a way it was a wise thing to do. I’ve never had a plan to be honest, maybe that’s been half the secret. A lot of actors I know who will go; ‘I can’t do that because that’s not the direction I want to go in, I want to be doing this’. I just let how I feel about a certain part be the guiding factor not whether it’s the right direction or not. If I think I’ll enjoy it, I’ll do it. If I don’t, I won’t.
You were in Law & Order: UK with Freema Agyeman who played a companion to David Tennant’s Doctor, did you talk about Doctor Who?
That was weird, we did. It almost becomes like a little family, the whole Doctor Who thing even if you’ve never worked with them and I hadn’t worked with Freema before that but I’d met her at various functions. It’s just very nice.
Why do you think police procedurals are so popular right now?
I was a fan of Law & Order before I was actually in it. I do not like programmes that are about something but then they’re actually not. So a hospital drama that’s more about people having affairs with each other then it is about a particular case. Sometimes in police dramas things are more about who’s having an affair with who in the police station or the personal lives of the police officers. So I think the attraction of procedural is that it’s not soap. From my point of view it’s soap-free. In Law & Order you don’t really hear anything, except finding out the facts of the case and the prosecution of the case. Someone’s not upset because he’s just broken up with somebody. There’s a tendency now in drama to turn everything into a soap and I don’t think the public necessarily like that. So, I think they’re quite grateful for things which are just about [cases].
What else have you got coming up this year?
After Law & Order I don’t know. That finishes in April. I’m doing a lot of conventions. I’ve just done a radio series which is science fiction called Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully, it’s fun to do those. It’s a comedy in front of an audience and then I’m just going to see what comes up.
For more information about the Sci-Fi Weekender visit www.scifiweekender.com
via Independent Arts Blogs.
Having brought up David Tennant, I have to ask, when you were playing along with those ‘Is David Morrissey the Next Doctor?’ rumours, was there a part of you that would have loved them to be true?
Yeah, there was a bit. Again, it’s a great show and I was slightly thrown by that. David announced he was going and this rumour mill began and I couldn’t say what I knew but it was a very fun place to inhabit for six months, when people thought it was going to be me, that was great. And also I think that Russell [T. Davies] is just a wonderful person, so it was great to even be associated with that, but I think it’s in good hands.
Were you a fan of Doctor Who growing up?
No, not at all. No, I was really not, it was not my bag. I was also slightly suspicious of people who were. I had one great friend who could quote passages from the books, you’d go into his house and he had all the books, and he wore a Tom Baker scarf and I loved him dearly but I was also slightly… Apart from Liverpool Football Club, I’ve never been in love with anything in that way. I was in love with acting and drama and film and theatre but never one specific genre in that way and Doctor Who, I thought it was alright, but it never got in my bones in that way.
Saying that, the relaunch did, and I watched it because my kids watched it, so I suddenly got into it in a different way, but no, I was never really into it as a child. It was always on at the wrong time for me, I was always out playing football.
The Doctor’s former companions often find themselves back in the TARDIS for an episode or two, is that something you’d be open to?
Ah, I’d love that. I would absolutely love to do it again. I had such a ball doing it. Mark Gatiss says, you know, there’s nothing more blissful for him to write than “Interior TARDIS: Day” or whatever on the top of one of his scripts, it’s living the dream. And for me, when I went down and worked on it, I thought ‘This is great’, it’s a really well-run show, people take it very seriously but you have fun on it. And l loved that character, I really loved Jackson Lake, I thought he was a really interesting man, he was in some sort of trauma himself and the Doctor liberates him from that…
He was another troubled parent, like the Governor…
[laughs] Another man going down the toilet, I wonder why! But also at the end he’s full of joy so I’d really jump at the chance to do that.
Having been involved in Russell T Davies’ press rumour machine must have been good preparation for taking on the Governor role, something very high profile role that requires such secrecy?
Yeah. Like The Walking Dead, Doctor Who’s a very well-loved show, so the press was excited about it and it was very positive. But when I did State of Play, when I did The Deal, there was always that sense of press interest around it, which is great for me, but I don’t live my life like that. It comes from my work, which is okay.
The Walking Dead is different in the sense of that Twitter world, and I’d never been to Comic-Con before and that was a very interesting world to step into, so that’s all a bit new for me, that sense of the world.
read the full interview at Den of Geek.