Archive for ‘Interviews’
March 25th, 2017
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-paul-mcgann

WhovianNet recently caught up with Paul McGann to talk about his new play, Gabriel.

As previously reported, the Eighth Doctor actor is about to embark on a UK tour of the production, which tells the story of a family held captive in Nazi occupied Guernsey in 1943 who encounter a terrifying German officer, Von Pfunz.

Paul chatted to us exclusively about the show, his character and, of course, the conversation inevitably turns to Doctor Who. Well, it would’ve been rude not to!

Q. Hi, Paul! So, without giving too much away, what can you tell us about Gabriel?
A. Its story takes place over four days in 1943 on German occupied Guernsey. A mother, Jeanne, tries to shield both herself and her family from the dangerous attentions of a newly arrived German officer.

Q. And what can you tell us about your character, Commander Von Pfunz?
A. Some recent experience in Poland has affected him deeply and made his behaviour unpredictable. Awkwardly,he takes an instant shine to Jeanne who doesn’t know how best to fend him off without provoking the worst and putting herself and her family in danger.

Q. What was it about the play and your character that attracted you to the project?
A. It’s the first one I’d read set in the wartime Channel Islands. I suspect it captures some of the febrile atmosphere and peculiar traumas the islanders must have experienced. My character, Von Pfunz, like most good ones, is a bit cracked.

Q. What do you think it is about this particular era of history that continues to enthral audiences of all ages across various platforms?
A. Perhaps it’s something to do with it being in living memory, so not quite over. Or how it shapes national myths. There’s a British one where we alone in Europe resist the German invader. In fact, as described in Gabriel, British territory was taken and held for five years.

Q. Stories set during the War have a universal appeal, but would you say Gabriel is aimed at any audience in particular?
A. No, I think it’ll appeal to pretty much everyone. It’s a proper thriller!

Q. Does taking a production on tour present any new challenges, advantages or disadvantages?
A. I’m not really the right person to ask, as I’ve never toured before. I’ll soon find out, though!

Q. What are the main differences between performing on stage and in front of a camera?
A. On stage you’re sort of visible head to foot so you really have to give it all you’ve got, whereas on camera it’s just picking the right face to pull. I really ought to write a book.

Q. The Doctor Who Movie turned twenty years old last year. Does it feel that long ago, or does it feel like no time has passed at all?
A. Oh, it feels like twenty years. The blink of an eye.

Q. Did you ever think that your association with the series would still be growing so strong over two decades later?
A. Certainly not before the series came back in 2005. After that it took on a life of its own.

Q. Big Finish aside, what was it like to reprise the role on screen for the 50th anniversary, and would you be interested in starring in a full-length multi-Doctor TV episode?
A. It was one of the happiest jobs. A guaranteed hit, and working with people who loved it and who knew what they were doing. What’s not to like? And yes, of course I’d be interested in a multi-Doctor episode, for the same reasons.

Q. Who would you pick as Peter Capaldi’s successor?
A. I’m not sure. But whoever it is, I’d hope he or she cherished it like Peter has.

Q. Finally, have you got any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?
A. A film short, Perplexed Music, which my brother Mark and me want to shoot in England in the Summer. He’ll direct and I’ll act. He’s also written the story, based on a Cristina Rossetti poem. As you do.

Gabriel is touring in UK theatres from Tuesday 28th March. Read more about the play, find your nearest venue and buy tickets here. Thanks to Paul for his time!

November 20th, 2015
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-ian-conningham

WhovianNet recently caught up with Series 9 guest star Ian Conningham to find out more about his role as Chuckles in The Girl Who Died.

The actor kindly gave us an exclusive insight into how he landed the part, his memories of sharing the screen with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Maisie Williams, and what it was like to take on the guise of a Viking.

You can read our full Q&A with Ian below and don’t forget to follow him on Twitter, @IanConningham.

Q. Hi there, Ian! When did you first realise that you were interested in acting?
A. I became interested during GSCE Drama, so I decided to take it as an A level subject. I was incredibly lucky to have a brilliant and inspiring teacher on that course who suggested that I thought about applying to Drama Schools and consider acting as a realistic career option, instead of it being out of reach, or something that other people did.

Q. And how did your role as Chuckles in The Girl Who Died come about?
A. It was via my agent. Usually if the director or producers haven’t made a direct offer to a particular actor they have in mind, the casting director puts out a breakdown of what they’re looking for. Agents then submit clients they think are right for the parts. In this instance they felt I was right, so I went along for a meeting with the director Ed Bazelgette, producer Derek Ritchie and the casting department. We had a lovely chat and read a few scenes which were filmed. There was a really friendly atmosphere in the room, which helps massively. Not long after that my agent called to say is been offered the part.

Q. Were you already a fan of Doctor Who before you landed the part?
A. Absolutely, yes. Like a lot of people I may have taken refuge behind a sofa every now and then over the years (I’m not saying how recently, though). I can vaguely remember Tom Baker at various points running round, being charismatic and wonderfully mysterious. But it was his regeneration into Peter Davison that really mesmerised me. I can remember thinking it was one of most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

Q. When did you film the episode and how long did filming last?
A. It was around the end of April. I was filming on and off over a three week period.

Q. Did you do any research into the Viking era before you began filming?
A. A little bit, yes. Nothing too strenuous, though. Kept growing my beard. Had a little Google browse. Practised shouting. What I find so brilliant about Doctor Who, is that no matter where the episode in question is set, it’s the relationships between characters that are always most important, and so well written. Also, the big heroes of programmes like Doctor Who are the Art Department and Wardrobe. They create incredible worlds for us to tell our story in. So for me, the majority of my preparation was to look for clues in the script to establish Chuckles’ attitude towards, for example, being a Father of a teenage daughter, a member of a working community, and what he wanted when faced with strangers like the Doctor and Clara telling him what to do in his environment given the circumstances and threat.

Q. What are your favourite memories from your time on set?
A. I’ve got lots of great memories, from when the cameras were rolling to in between set ups and takes. Actors and crew on the whole are a social bunch, so it’s great to sit and chat, swap stories and discover mutual friends. But I do have to say that taking the TARDIS for a spin one lunch time, as suggested by the Doctor himself, was off the scale… and I promise that isn’t a lie!

Q. Speaking of the Doctor, what was it like to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman?
A. It was fantastic. They both shoulder the responsibility of the show with huge care and love, and are superb to work with. Maisie Williams was also brilliant and great fun, as were our fellow Vikings. It’s so apparent that everybody working on the show in all departments really care about it. It’s so engrained in our popular culture. I don’t think I was the only one on set thinking, “Blimey, I’m definitely working on Doctor Who”. It’s a great place to work.

Q. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to any aspiring actors reading this?
A. Follow your heart. Work hard. Read. Grow some thick skin. Trust your instincts. Have a sense of humour. Read. Listen. Work hard. Go to the theatre. Try to surround yourself with positive people. Don’t be late. Work hard. Take direction. Be kind. Ignore the bullies. Be brave. Read. Show respect. Take risks. Don’t forget to breathe. And enjoy it.

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
A. There are various things that are coming up next year. An episode of “Musketeers” for BBC1. “Grantchester” for ITV. A comedy called “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”. And I’ve just spent a couple of days shooting a part in a feature film, with a brilliant script by Alice Birch, called “Lady Macbeth”.

You MUST NOT click this link to Rate & Discuss the latest episode, Sleep No More!

June 19th, 2015
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-christel-dee

WhovianNet recently caught up with the host of the BBC’s brand new Doctor Who Fan Show to find out more about the weekly YouTube series that’s been taking the Whovian world wide web by storm.

As its title suggests, the show, which was launched last month, celebrates the lives and times of our beloved hero in all his Gallifreyan glory and its presenter, vlogger Christel Dee, gave us an insight into what her fellow fans can expect from the show and the process of creating each episode. Check out our full Q&A with Christel below!

Q. Hi, Christel! Firstly, can you describe the Doctor Who Fan Show in a nutshell?
A. Doctor Who: The Fan Show is a weekly show on the official Doctor Who YouTube channel that celebrates some of the awesome stuff fans are making as well as interviews, a smidge of Doctor Who news and funny comedy sketches.

Q. When did you first become a Doctor Who fan?
A. I first came across Doctor Who in 2005. My first episode was The Empty Child. I was 13 years old and it scared the living daylights out of me! I was hooked from that moment on.

Q. And how long have you been a YouTuber?
A. I started my current YouTube channel in 2011 but I started making YouTube videos in 2007 on an old channel where I used to make video diaries at conventions. I set up a new channel in 2011 as I was studying for a Film & Television Production degree and wanted a side project where I could practice editing and presenting/interviewing skills. I’ve been attending conventions and cosplaying since 2006 and wanted to show the hard work and dedication that goes into making costumes in a fun, informal way. I then joined the YouTube channel, FiveWhoFans (5WF) in 2014. We make comedy sketches, serious episode reviews and songs. We also have a podcast and an original Doctor Who audio series called Aimless Wanderings.

Q. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to anybody who is interested in starting up a YouTube channel of their own?
A. I think it’s good to make videos about something you’re passionate about because that will shine through on screen and make you and your videos engaging. Plus, making videos should be fun, so choose something you like! I recommend keeping videos relatively short in length (reviews can be a bit longer, I think) and try to upload regularly, too. Strong channel branding is useful to help build an identity for your channel and don’t forget to make eye catching custom thumbnails! Social media is really useful to build a fan base and engage with fans. It’s also useful for updating people on what’s happening and reaching out to new audiences.

Q. Great tips! How did your involvement with the Doctor Who Fan Show come about?
A. The BBC were looking for a fan to host the show. They found my videos on FiveWhoFans and my own channel and I was invited to an audition.

Q. What is the typical process of bringing an episode of the Doctor Who Fan Show from script to screen?
A. Each episode is very different so the process varies from week to week. As it is an online show, the turn around is fast and we’re often working on multiple episodes at once. With my producer Chris Allen, we work together to plan content for each episode. We both script the links and comedy sketches and George Shankster, our shooter/editor, films and edits them.

Q. In what ways can viewers get involved with the Doctor Who Fan Show?
A. We’re always on the look out for weird and wonderful stuff. So whether that’s a cosplay, a video you’ve made, a cloud that looks like Peter Capaldi’s hair, send it to dwthefanshow@bbc.com or tweet us @dwthefanshow.

Q. What’s the best thing about working on the Doctor Who Fan Show?
The Doctor Who fan community is huge so it’s lovely to be able to highlight some of the awesome stuff that fans are making and doing. We also get to experiment a lot and make a variety of stuff. One week we might do an interview, the next week a silly comedy sketch. We film on lots of different locations and I get to wear lots of silly costumes! Everyone who works on the show are huge fans, too.

Q. What do you think it is about the Doctor Who fandom that makes it such a great place to be?
A. I think the Doctor Who fandom is very unique. There aren’t many things that cross ages, genders and cultural barriers in the same way that Doctor Who does. I love the way it brings people together and the passion it ignites in people, too. There’s also so much to celebrate. So many Doctors, companions, monsters, time periods and worlds. Everyone has their favourites and it makes the fandom so interesting and exciting.

Q. Finally, is there anything coming up in the Doctor Who Fan Show that viewers can look forward to?
A. There’s loads of awesome stuff lined up including robbing Steven Moffat’s lair, an episode filmed entirely in Minecraft and we’re off to San Diego Comic Con in a few weeks.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the official Doctor Who YouTube so you never miss an episode!

June 16th, 2015
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-michelle-gomez

WhovianNet was thrilled to get the opportunity to catch up with Michelle Gomez recently about all things Doctor Who and her latest project, Heather’s American Medicine!

The comedy web series stars the Missy actress as Heather, a neurotic agony aunt who tries to pull her punches as she deals with requests for advice. And Michelle has certainly been keeping herself busy over the last few months. After being introduced as the first female incarnation of the Master in Series 8 of Doctor Who, she’ll be back with a vengeance in Series 9 in which she looks let to “surprise everyone”.

In the meantime, we chatted to Michelle about playing her new agony aunt alter ego, her Missy musings and how she feels about taking to the stage later this year as the host of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular in New York. Check out our full Q&A below…

Q. Hi, Michelle! What can you tell us about Heather’s American Medicine in a nutshell?
A. Heather is a deluded ambitious agony aunt who is out to solve the world’s problems using some good old fashioned common sense.

Q. How did your involvement with the web series come about?
A. My friend Jesse Cleverly and I have always wanted to work together, so we cooked her up over a series of web chats and decided to launch her online.

Q. What initially interested you about the series?
A. The big draw for me was the freedom. We seem to have lost the freedom of speech so it’s all too easy to offend these days. We wanted to shine some light on the social restrictions of being politically correct all the time.

Q. What’s the best thing about working on an online series, as opposed to one for TV?
A. The best thing that working online affords you is the opportunity to take more chances. Most TV is designed by committee.

Q. What are your favourite things about playing Heather?
A. My favourite thing about Heather is her conviction – even when she’s talking b*llocks!

Q. From one formidable lady to another. What was your reaction when you found out you’d be playing the first female incarnation of the Master in Doctor Who?
A. Disbelief! Actually, I still can’t quite believe it. I also love that no one seems to have batted an eyelid about the gender leap.

Q. So you’ve been pleased with the response that Missy has had from the show’s fans thus far?
A. I’ve been beyond thrilled with the response. It’s all a bit surreal, really. I mean, who would have thunk it!? The Master is a woman! Love it.

Q. Missy will, of course, be back in Series 9. Were you happy to be asked back, and is there anything at all you can tell us about her anticipated return?
A. Yes, I was very pleased to be asked back, and no, I can’t tell you a goddamn thing. Spoilers!

Q. Are you excited about hosting the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular in New York later this year?
A. You bet I’m excited and… err, a little nervous! That is a big stadium so I’ll definitely be washing my hair for that night.

Q. Finally, have you got any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
A. Look out for ‘The Brink’ on HBO, which starts airing here in the US on 21st June. It’s a political satire starring Tim Robbins, Jack Black and some other guy called Rob Brydon. But they might have cut his part by now.

You can now subscribe to Heather’s American Medicine over at Wildseed Studios.

October 30th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-rachel-talalay

The new series of Doctor Who continues this Saturday and, unless you’ve been stuck in the Medusa Cascade, you’ll know that this episode will mark the beginning of the epic finale.

Anticipation and speculation is at all time high and we recently caught up with one of the people at the centre of the mystery – the director of the final two episodes, Rachel Talalay!

Rachel chatted to us about being at the helm of such an important story in the Twelfth Doctor’s debut series.

Big thanks to Rachel for answering our questions. Dark Water airs on Saturday at 8:15pm.

Q. Hi there, Rachel! So when did you discover you had a passion for directing?
A. I wasn’t born with a camera in my hands, but with a passion for movies. I came from a science household. My father is Professor of Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins. He just made a remarkable discovery about how broccoli/sulforaphane can potentially help with autism. But my parents also have a love for art. My Aunt and Uncle owned a modern art gallery. They had Christo wrap it for its opening. My parents are British so I was brought up in an eclectic, fascinating household. As I was producing the Nightmare on Elm Street series, I became more and more creatively involved, or my false memories are egomaniacal. As I worked more closely with the directors, the itch grew.

Q. Are there any directors who have particularly inspired you, both professionally and on a more personal level?
A. So many varied influences, from art and music and life, but I always come back to Stanley Kubrick. Sometimes Polanski. Sam Raimi. Sophia Coppola. George Clooney. Hitchcock. Frank Capra. Carol Reed. David Fincher, Powell & Pressburger. Sometimes it’s just perfect moments in media. I never fail to laugh at the Catherine Tate/David Tennant Comic Relief skit. I’m excited by Kate Tempest. Elvis Costello has always been an obsession. Some of Tracey Emin. Enjoying a binge-time with David Mitchell. There’s even something about Mr. Men… On a personal level, though, it’s John Waters.

Q. And how and when did your involvement with this year’s series finale of Doctor Who come about?
A. I’ve been pursuing it since Season 2, and I absolutely credit my agent for following it up year after year. But you’ll have to ask producers Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat as to how and why I floated to the top of the list for this season’s finale. It’s not something you really ask when you start. “Um, why did you end up hiring me?” It gets in the way of the “director swagger’!

Q. Well, you made it! What was it like to make your Doctor Who debut with two such important episodes?
A. Don’t blow it! Actually, when they interviewed me for the second time, I thought, “If I get this, will I screw it up because I want it so much?” Just because one likes a show, it doesn’t mean that you will be a good director for it. But with Doctor Who, I thought “this is an intersection of my passions and my experience”. So one hopes that that will mean something. Nothing is guaranteed, though, or, better said by Elvis Costello, “They told me everything was guaranteed. Somebody somewhere must have lied to me”. I had the most incredible team with me on the finale. I can take credit, but it’s totally the sum of the parts.

Q. Were you already a fan of the series?
A. Oh, yeah. Tom Baker was my Doctor of the past and I have loved all the new incarnations. It would be impolitic to pick amongst them. Needless to say, I bow down to Peter Capaldi. His talent seems boundless.

Q. We know you’ve been sworn to secrecy (spoilers!), but is there anything at all you can tell us about the finale?
Q. It’s funny, actually. One of the first interviews I did, I tried to be all sneaky by using the most generic adjectives ever. The internet fans just over-interpreted what I said, instead of flaming me for saying such banal things as ‘emolional’ and ‘action-packed’. So, this time, I’m scared to say anything. You’ll have to live with Steven Moffatt’s words in Doctor Who Magazine. But I will say that his scripts left me breathless.

Q. Throughout your career you’ve directed a range of different genres, from comedy-drama in Ally McBeal to children’s drama in Fabulous, as well as your fair share of science fiction. Would you say these past experiences all put you in good stead to take on a Doctor Who adventure?
A. Well, of course I would say that, it’s very American to self promote, isn’t it? But I have been incredibly lucky to work in a wide variety of genres. And Doctor Who needs that. After all, it’s adult-childrens programming. It works on so many levels. Comedy, drama, action, effects… Especially useful were the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Tank Girl, Wind In the Willows, and Touching Evil. Every day on Doctor Who, I used tricks I learned when working at New Line Cinema.

Q. Each episode of Doctor Who is a blank slate in terms of their setting, themes and genre. Was this a prospect that was particularly exciting for you coming in as a director?
A. Bring it on! Part of my delight was that every episode is a mini-feature and it could be set anywhere. I love researching for work – location scouting means going places you would never go, or even be allowed in, if you weren’t part of a film crew. People open the doors to their facilities and teach you about their worlds. Fascinating.

Q. What thoughts and feelings were going through your mind when you stepped on to the Doctor Who set for your first day of shooting?
A. Really, the magic is the first time they take you on the TARDIS set. You just think “Really? Is this really happening to me?”, ad you are trying not to bust out into the hugest smile. Ultimately everyone does, though, when they start fiddling with the console! The first day of directing is always, ‘Oh, my God! They’ll figure out I’m faking it. I’m a fraud!’, but then you settle down and do your work and fall in love with it over and over again, even when you can barely move from exhaustion and pressure.

Q. What are your favourite memories and moments from working on Doctor Who? We know it’s probably impossible to choose!
A. Being offered the job. Reading the scripts for the first time and having my mind blown by them. The obvious one: filming outside, and stepping inside, St Paul’s Cathedral with Cybermen and the Doctor and Missy. Taking selfies with Chris Addison on the TARDIS. Then birthday on the TARDIS, with a kids TARDIS cake. But less obvious ones… I was talking over a scene with Peter Capaldi and after a fairly extensive conversation about the depth of Steven Moffat’s writing, I said, “Remember behind all this, you are…”, but I can’t say what word I used – spoilers! Then, Peter opened his notebook where he kept all his notes and thoughts on what he was doing – which we all want to get published – and he showed me where he had written exactly the same description in the margin in capital letters.

Another memory, I was watching Peter and Michelle Gomez work out a scene together. They were just playing with different tones and textures and really experimenting with one another and the text, when I had a multi-consciousness experience. I just made that expression up, but you know those moments where you are thinking on two planes? I was watching them intently, but also, outside the moment, I was thinking, “I wish I could record this, because it’s going to be lost, and this is the absolute true magic of creativity, unfolding before my eyes…”

We were screening Episode 12 for the post production sound team and halfway through, they became so absorbed, they stopped making notes, stopped asking questions, and just watched. These are professionals who do this all the time, and they just sat there, engrossed. The editor looked at me and we shrugged and just let it play. Then we had to go back and do the work.

In the ADR room, a secret was revealed and the ADR technician slammed the console and said, “Oh, my God, really?!”

When the lead Cyberman decided to pretend he was ticklish in his suit and did a full-on laugh-attack routine. That had the crew in stitches but we missed filming it.

And those are just a very few…

Q. Drawing from your own personal experiences, what’s the one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring directors reading this?
A. Teflon skin. Respect and appreciate everyone you work with as best you can, which isn’t always easy, or even possible. And to quote Doctor Who: “Listen”. Also, don’t follow rules – see, not even answering the question properly, re: “one piece of advice”.

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us a little about?
A. A lot of things I can’t talk about, including a low budget feature I’m trying to finish. I’m currently doing episodes of a new US horror series called South of Hell. An upcoming ‘event’ TV movie which I can’t talk about yet. A collaboration with John Waters. I want to do a Marvel movie. There, I said it.

New series, new Doctor, new adventures. Click here for all the latest on Series 8!

October 7th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-edward-harrison

WhovianNet caught up with Edward Harrison to find out more about his recent appearance in Series 8 of Doctor Who.

The actor appeared in The Caretaker as Adrian, a colleague of Clara’s at Coal Hill School, who has been recognised by fans for his striking resemblance to a certain former Doctor.

Edward chatted to us about landing his role and shared his memories of working alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. Read our interview below and be sure to follow him on Twitter @EdHarry7.

Q. Hi there, Edward! Firstly, when did you discover you were interested in acting?
A. Probably when I was around 10 years old. I was – and in many ways still am – shy. I suppose it was an outlet for that. I did the fairly conventional route of appearing in school plays, then local youth theatre, which in turn led to drama school and the rest is history! I’ve been acting professionally for over ten years now.

Q. And how did your most role, as Adrian in The Caretaker, come about?
A. It’s funny. It had been mentioned by the odd stranger and even in a couple of theatre reviews that I had an ‘air of Matt Smith’, so when I got the call to meet for Adrian, I had to laugh! I suppose my floppy hair got me through the door, but hopefully I’ve made Adrian a real guy in his own right. I was never supposed to be a double or an imitation of Matt.

Q. So you were already a fan of the series before you landed this role?
A. Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor I remember most from my childhood. I caught the odd episode over the years. But I’ve watched every episode this series and I’m hooked. What brilliant, funny, dramatic, terrifying, escapist fun it is! But with real heart(s). Sorry.

Q. When did you film the episode and how long did filming last?
A. I was on set in early April 2014, over 3 separate filming days.

Q. What was it like to get the chance to see Peter Capaldi perform as the Twelfth Doctor before he had appeared properly on screen?
A. It was a genuine thrill and privilege to work with Peter, and his work ethic is a real example. Focused, professional, but always ready to share a joke when the cameras stop rolling!

Q. And how did you find working with Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald?
A. Jenna is a real talent and so on her game. Passionate about getting it right, lovely to be around and a real role model I think. She also happens to be beautiful.

Q. What are your favourite memories from your time on set?
A. I’m going to have to cop out and say it was a joy from start to finish! From the wonderful hair/costume/make up girls to the on set crew and actors, Doctor Who is what it is because of the team behind it. They made it ALL a favourite memory. Having said all that, the sticky toffee pudding on day 2 was a dream!

Q. Would you like to return to the role if the opportunity came about?
A. That goes without saying.

Q. Doctor Who guest stars get the chance to meet fans at the various events and conventions that are held around the world. Are these something you would be interested in attending yourself?
A. Adrian appeared on screen for a couple of minutes, but I’ve been embraced by most Whovians the world over. If they are as warm and welcoming as that, then of course I’d love to attend!

Q. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to any aspiring actors out there?
A. It has only truly started happening for me in the last few years. It can take time. It certainly takes perseverance. But that is also a test of how badly you want it. Oh, and be nice to everyone!

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us a little about?
A. I’m due to start rehearsal for a new farce called Sex and the Three Day Week which runs at Liverpool Playhouse over Christmas. You can catch me as Richard in the first episode of Dorian Gray Series 3, due out in November from Big Finish. Following that, I’m joining the Broadway production of Wolf Hall with the RSC. Beyond that? Who knows!

New series, new Doctor, new adventures. Click here for all the latest on Series 8!

October 6th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-ian-hallard

WhovianNet caught up with Ian Hallard to chat about his recent appearance in Doctor Who.

The actor guest starred in Robot of Sherwood as Alan-a-Dale and shared his memories of becoming one of Robin Hood’s coveted Merry Men.

It wasn’t his first foray into the Doctor Who universe, though, as he’s also appeared in various Big Finish audio productions. He also porrtrayed real-life director Richard Martin in An Adventure in Space and Time.

Q. Hi there, Ian! So when did you first realise you wanted to become an actor?
A. I’d always acted in school plays at drama groups on Saturdays, but I generally assumed I’d end up doing it purely as a hobby. Then, after going to university and graduating with no real idea of what I wanted to do next, it was my Dad who said – in a complete reversal of the way parents are supposed to behave – that if I wanted it badly enough, I should give it a go.

Q. And how did your role as Alan-a-Dale in Robot of Sherwood come about?
A. I’ve known Andy Pryor for a while and after I’d auditioned for ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’, it was suggested that I play Alan in this episode. I trained in musical theatre so the singing was a fun aspect.

Q. So you were already a fan of the series before you landed the role?
A. I was a fan as a child. I remember watching it at the tail end of the Tom Baker era – I guess I must have been 7 or 8 – and then Peter Davison was my Doctor. I went to the Longleat exhibition in 1983, and I still have a photo of my brother and me on the TARDIS set. When Peter left, I stopped watching and I didn’t start again until the show returned under Russell.

Q. How did it feel to become one of Robin Hood’s coveted Merry Men and did you do any research into your character?
A. It was lovely to play such an iconic figure. Alan seems to appear in most versions of the legend on TV and film. I rewatched the great Errol Flynn film, as that was the inspiration for this particular version of Robin Hood. Alan’s very much a supporting character in this story. He sings, he plays the lute, he laughs, he’s a bit camp. That’s about as complex as it got!

Q. What was it like to play a character with such a musical personality?
A. There were initially elaborate plans for me to have an earpiece which would play the backing track, but mercifully we abandoned that pretty quickly. I sang and then the lute playing was added afterwards.

Q. What are your favourite memories from your time on set?
A. Well, the weather was lovely – a run of unbroken sunny days. Peter was utterly charming and a real gentleman to work with, and the little boy in me had a fantastic time on location in a genuine Medieval castle playing at knights! The castle was open while we were filming so there were lots of excited families watching. There was archery, stuntmen and explosions – what’s not to love? Plus we five Merry Men spent a lot of time together and did genuinely laugh a great deal. Matthew – one of the SA’s – entertained us with a vast array of YouTube videos of his unique vocal talents. They’re well worth a look!

Q. Robot of Sherwood wasn’t your first foray into the Doctor Who universe as your voice has been heard in several of the Big Finish audio adventures. What are the biggest differences between acting in front of a microphone and acting in front of a camera, and what challenges does each present?
A. Acting for radio is quicker and less pressure – no lines to learn and if you make a mistake you can instantly go back and do it again. It’s always brilliant working for Big Finish so I do it whenever I’m asked. I think my favourite scene was a prolonged suicide where my character tried to kill himself in various ways including crushing himself in a door, biting his tongue out and drinking poison.

Q. Last year you also guest starred in An Adventure in Space and Time as Richard Martin, one of the original Doctor Who directors. How did it feel to be involved in such a special project marking the 50th anniversary of the series?
A. It was great, particularly being on Westminster Bridge early on a Sunday morning and watching the kids on the bridge spot the Daleks approaching. Funnily enough, Richard Martin was the first ever TV director I worked with back when I was at drama school, so it was surreal to be playing him – cravat and all – fifteen years later.

Q. From your own experiences, what advice would you give to any aspiring actors reading this?
A. Work hard, be a good team player and company member, be nice to people, be prepared for unemployment and disappointments, but also remember it’s the best job in the world and you’ll be privileged to be doing it. Oh – and learn your lines!

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
A. I’ve been appearing in “Great Britain”- Richard Bean’s new play about the tabloid press – since June. I was at the National Theatre originally and we’ve now transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket until January. I have vague plans for another theatre production next year, but it’s a bit early to say anything about that just yet.

New series, new Doctor, new adventures. Click here for all the latest on Series 8!

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-peter-harness

“It features the return of an old friend from the Doctor’s past…”

The Doctor and Clara embark on one of their most dangerous adventures yet in this Saturday’s episode, Kill The Moon, and we were thrilled to get the chance to speak to the man behind it, Peter Harness!

Peter spoke exclusively to WhovianNet about his first foray into the Doctor Who universe, which will see our heroes get caught up in a suicide mission to the Moon. As he told us, there are plenty of surprises in store…

Q. Hi there, Peter! So, when did you first realise that you wanted to become a writer?
A. I don’t know, really. Probably before I knew that there was such a thing as being a writer, certainly long before I realised you could actually do that as a job. For as long as I can remember I’ve been writing stories and plays, and episodes of Doctor Who. But I guess I must have made some kind of decision to try and make a go of it, professionally speaking, sometime in my early twenties. For a while, I’d thought that I’d be an actor instead. I did a lot of acting at university and before, but when the time came, I just didn’t really bother pursuing that, and I guess that’s when I realised that my heart must be in writing.

Q. And are there any writers that have particularly inspired you, both in life and in your career?
A. Yes, lots of them. Probably too many to mention. Dennis Potter was one of my big inspirations, and remains so. I think I’ve always wanted to write for television, above and beyond anything else, and he was really the person who proved that you could do that and still be taken reasonably seriously. Terrance Dicks, of course. Like he did a lot of other people, he gave me a real love of books and of reading, which is one of the things that most writers need. Susanna Clarke, who wrote my favourite book, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and who is, in addition to that, a wonderful person who I’ve been very privileged to work with and gotten to know. And Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, without whose genius I wouldn’t be talking to you. But beyond that, if I started listing all of the writers that I love and who’ve inspired me, we’d be here all night!

Q. How and when did your involvement with the new series of Doctor Who come about?
A. I’ve been desperate to write for Doctor Who for years, but I’ve always been a bit shy about putting myself forward. However, I guess I’ve told so many people and gone on about it so much, that eventually the producers got to know and asked me to come and pitch some ideas. I was enormously nervous when I went to meet them, and had about five or six different ideas, none of which they particularly went for. And Kill The Moon, which had just suddenly popped into my head on the plane back to England the night before. Thankfully, they liked it, and I spent a little bit of time developing the idea for Matt Smith’s Doctor before I had to go and write something else. But they were still keen on the idea when I finally surfaced again, a couple of years later, so I got to write it for Peter Capaldi instead.

Q. So you were already a huge fan of the series?
A. I’ve always been a fan of Doctor Who, for as long as I can remember. In fact, I think some of my first memories are of watching Doctor Who. Davros’s big blue bulb lighting up in “Destiny of the Daleks”, and Julian Glover ripping his rubber face off in “City of Death”. It’s had a huge, pretty much immeasurable effect on me. I loved it when I was three years old and I’ve never stopped.

Q. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about your own episode, Kill The Moon?
A. I’ll tell you that it’s quite scary. At least, I hope so. And that I think it’ll polarise people to a degree. And that it features the return of an old friend from the Doctor’s past. And that there’s a throwback to “Blink”. If you can spot it.

Q. Each episode of Doctor Who is a blank slate in terms of its setting, themes and characters. As a writer, is this a prospect that is particularly exciting or daunting?
A. It’s very liberating. It means that it’s very easy to come up with potential ideas for Doctor Who stories, because basically any story or character can be given a Doctor Who twist, and is usually all the better for it. The most worrying thing about writing Doctor Who, first time round at least, is the anxiety about whether you can actually do it. Better writers than me have tried, and not managed to get their head around it. So I was very, very relieved that I found that I could actually do it, that I could write a Doctor Who story, with all the Who-ness, but which still felt like me, too. I was expecting them to turn round at any moment and tell me I wasn’t up to the job. I still can’t really believe that it’s actually been made. Maybe it hasn’t. Maybe they’ll just show the test-card instead.

Q. Are there any skills and experiences, both professional and personal, that you found yourself drawing upon whilst writing this episode?
A. God, that’s a difficult question! I suppose there were loads. But I’ve never been on the Moon or met any giant spider creatures, so I guess I had to imagine that bit.

Q. What was it like to write for a Doctor that had yet to appear properly on screen?
A. I didn’t start writing it entirely blind, because they’d just started shooting when I began writing my script. So as I was writing, I was seeing the odd scene from “Deep Breath”, and maybe “Listen”; and really, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was already beginning to take shape. So I wrote with his take on it, and his voice, very much in mind; and as I went through the various drafts of my script, Peter’s Doctor was busily crystallising and coming into being down in Cardiff, and I was very much writing alongside of that.

Q. What would you say are the main factors that have contributed to Doctor Who’s ongoing success?
A. I think the incredible openness of the central conceit – that you can go anywhere in time and space, and tell a totally different genre of story every single week. The character of the Doctor himself, his benevolence, his twelve-sided uniqueness as a personality. The frequent changes of personnel both on and off screen, and the commitment and love that all of the people who have worked on it over the years have always brought to it. All of these things keep it fresh and alive and new.

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
A. Yes. My next thing up is a seven-part series for BBC One, based on Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It’s a period drama, set in the 1800s, with lots of fantastic special effects, about the return of magic to England, and about the two magicians who bring it back. I’ve written the scripts, and the fantastic Toby Haynes (who directed The Pandorica Opens and the following run of stories) has directed it. And he’s done a magnificent, towering, inspired job. It’s been a huge project and a gargantuan effort to bring it to the screen, but it’s nearly done, and should, with any luck, be on some time in the new year. And I hope people will enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

New series, new Doctor, new adventures. Click here for all the latest on Series 8!

September 13th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-douglas-mackinnon

Earlier this week we caught up with Douglas Mackinnon, the director of several Doctor Who episodes including Listen, which premieres on BBC One later today.

Douglas told us about how he originally came to be involved with the series and shared some of his favourite memories from behind the scenes. Read his responses below and don’t forget (not that you would, of course!) to tune in to his latest offering on BBC One at 7:30pm tonight…

Q. Hi there, Douglas! Firstly, when did you first realise you had a passion for directing?
A. When I couldn’t see that there was anything else in the world that I could do.

Q. Are there any directors that have particularly inspired you, both in your life and your career?
A. John Ford. Billy Wilder. Jenny Gilbertson. Anyone who steps up and directs, really.

Q. Your first contribution to the Doctor Who universe was the 2008 Sontaran two-parter, The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky. How did your involvement with these episodes come about, and were you already a fan of the series?
A. I’ve been a fan of the series since my childhood, and I’ve been a fan of sci-fi since forever. I love Star Trek, I love Asimov, Arthur, Marvel… But I’d also directed Russell T Davies’ first grown up telly series, the first two episodes of The Grand.

Q. Each episode of Doctor Who is a blank slate in terms of setting, theme and genre. Is this a prospect that is particularly exciting or daunting for you as a director?
A. It’s only ever exciting, and never daunting. It’s a privilege.

Q. What are your favourite memories and moments from working on Doctor Who? We know it’s probably difficult to choose!
A. There’s a big, black, soft leather sofa in the dubbing suite where I get to see my complete episode for the first time – totally completed, when all the pictures are done, and all the sound is done. I also love the moment you get a script for the first time and get to read what you’re going to do, and I love the email or the phone call from someone asking, “Would you like to do another episode?” I love working with the cast and crew, and I love sitting down and watching one of my episodes going out for the first time, knowing that the audience is watching along out there. Oh, and my first day on the TARDIS, with David. He came up and said, “We’ve all been where you are now. You’re eight but you also have to be a grown up. I’d start with a wide shot”.

Q. Drawing from your own experiences, what is the one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring directors reading this?
Make things, don’t just talk about making things.

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I’m waiting for that call…

New series, new Doctor, new adventures. Click here for all the latest on Series 8!

September 12th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-trevor-cooper

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have been one of Robin Hood’s coveted Merry Men, wonder no more!

Earlier this week we caught up with actor Trevor Cooper to find out more about his portrayal of the outlaw’s iconic companion Friar Tuck in Robot of Sherwood.

Trevor gave us his interesting insight into the filming of the latest episode and explained how the experience was different to his previous guest role in the 1975 serial Revelation of the Daleks. Read his responses below.

Q. Hi there, Trevor! Firstly, when did you first realise you were interested in acting?
A. In 1975, whilst studying Law at Kingston Poly, I played McHeath in a Drama Society production of The Threepenny Opera. I really enjoyed it and realised that some people did this for a living. After that, my mind was set.

Q. And how did your role as Friar Tuck in Robot of Sherwood come about?
A. Actually, I originally auditioned for the part of Quayl but was offered Tuck. Weirdly, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, who is a mate and who played Quayle, originally auditioned for Tuck. I had done an episode of Chalk for Steven Moffat years ago, so I suspect he had something to do with it.

Q. Were you already a fan of the series before you landed the role?
A. Of course I’m a fan of the series. I was 10 in 1963 when it first came out – the day after Kennedy’s assassination, as I remember. It immediately became my favourite programme and the Daleks had me hiding behind the sofa. Although, that was when I was 38!

Q. When did you film the episode and how long did filming last?
A. We filmed in April. We did most of the Merry Men stuff in a week and then came back a week later for the goodbye scene.

Q. What was it like to become one of Robin Hood’s iconic Merry Men and did you do any research into your character?
A. It was great being Friar Tuck. I’ve played him once before, in an advert for British Pork circa 1979, but this was my first proper bash at him. I didn’t do any research, other than to hark back to the 50s series with Richard Greene, on which our Merry Men were seemed to be based.

Q. What are your favourite memories from your time on set?
A. The Merry Men really bonded on the shoot and there were a lot laughs. We’ve all stayed in touch.

Q. This wasn’t your first appearance in Doctor Who as you also guest starred in Revelation of the Daleks in 1985. How would you compare both of your roles and how were both of the experiences similar/different?
A. This was very different to Revelation of the Daleks – mainly in terms of production values and expense. Back then, we rehearsed for two weeks or so at the Acton Hilton, shot a tiny bit on location and then did the rest in the studio, wobbly sets and eggbox Daleks included. Robot of Sherwood, however, was like shooting a movie.

Q. What was it like to get the chance to see Peter Capaldi perform as the Doctor before he had properly appeared on screen?
A. I thought Peter was tremendous. He gives a new weight to the Doctor that the role hasn’t had in a while, and, as well as being a wonderful actor, he was incredibly welcoming and attentive to everyone. He has properly taken on the mantle and he’s extremely giving with it. I think he may even end up being the best Doctor ever.

Q. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to any aspiring actors reading this?
A. Hang in there and get another job. You can act part-time and still make a lot of money.

Q. Finally, have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us a little about?
A. I’m in four episodes of the next series of Wizards vs Aliens which I shot round about the same time as Doctor Who – fortunately both in Cardiff! That starts in October or November, I think. And I’ve just come back from Johannesberg shooting the next series of The Wrong Mans with James Corden and Matthew Baynton, who is my cousin’s son. Nepotism works! That will go out as a Christmas Special.

What say you about Robot of Sherwood? Click here to Rate & Discuss the episode!

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