Q&A with ‘Doctor Who’ star Freema Agyeman

Neela Debnath

Freema Agyeman 225x300 Q&A with ‘Doctor Who’ star Freema AgyemanBest-known as Martha Jones, the second companion to David Tennant’s Doctor, former ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’ actress Freema Agyeman was in attendance at the London MCM Expo at the ExCel Centre. She spoke to me about ‘Doctor Who’, the growth of science fiction and what she’s doing next.

What do you think of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’?

Well, I haven’t seen all of the season but then I didn’t see all of Catherine’s [Tate] until afterwards. I did it in a box set. I’m starting to do that more and more actually, because you can’t keep up, it’s easier. I’ve just done it with ‘Downton Abbey’ which I loved, so I’m going to do the same for them. I think I will just block watch it but I’ve watched the first one that came out. What I love about it, what they’re doing is pretty much what I said when I got the job: I believe the strength of it is change. I believed it then and I wasn’t just saying it, because I believe that every time it does change, it injects a new sort of dynamic or flavour to it which has got to be the key to its longevity. So I think that they’re doing a fabulous job. I completely applaud and champion them. People are going to have their favourites and that’s lovely. It’s nice when people say: ‘you’re my favourite or that person is’, so they’re going to have their favourites but I think that for what they’re doing, they’re doing it brilliantly well.

It’s a bit early, but have you heard of anything about the 50th anniversary in 2013?

I’ve just heard rumblings and my agent was talking about it because there’s a tight-knit of us. In terms of working with David and with Karen, we’ve all got the same sort of circle really, so a mention of things but nothing’s really been in set in stone. But if they want to do a big group thing, I can’t really envisage anybody in the Who family saying no because it’s quite a marked occasion and a good opportunity to rekindle. For the fans, it’s exciting for them as well and everyone gets together.

So have you met up with David or any of your other co-stars since you finished?

On my god, let me see, I’ve seen him at various dos and occasions and stuff like that. But no, it’s tricky. You leave every job thinking that you’re all going to meet up every week for the rest of your life but it’s just not physically possible. Me and my boyfriend have just come back from L.A. because we’re looking at some projects over there. So you just never know where the job’s going to take you to be honest, but you can remain in text contact with people.

What have you got in the pipeline?

We’re off for pilot season. All I’ve ever heard was other people’s stories and other people’s experiences and we thought: ‘before we’re going to decide what we’re going to do about going to LA or not going, why don’t we just experience it?’ So we wanted to give it two weeks and we ended up extending it for three and we very nearly extended it for a month but we thought: ‘it’s just never going to end’. It was amazing which is why we were extending it. It was such a different perspective of the industry because they’re the daddy of it all, I think. That’s sort of the birth of TV and film over in Hollywood and it just feels like there’s a lot of opportunities, they create a lot of projects. They’re quite swift with the axe as well but I think that for the volume of what’s going on it presents you with a lot of opportunities, so we are going back. We decided to come back and do Christmas and consolidate a few things then go for four months next year. So that’s the immediate plan.

How do you feel about going out there?

Really exciting, because we were like: ‘what are we going to experience?’ Everything about it, we utterly enjoyed it. I’m not a sun worshipper but there’s got to be something about having a blue sky everyday making people jollier. Everyone was lovely, just even walking on the street. And the industry side, it was great. I signed with a really great agency over there and they’re really excited and I’m really excited about the future so we’re definitely going to head off in that direction.

Why do you think SF has grown so much recently?

I wonder if it was always popular and people just felt it was geeky or not chic enough. Now, we’ve got geek chic. I think there is something Sci-Fi can kind of offer the imaginative, your imagination can run wild. It often presents a kind of post-apocalyptic world but then the hope that comes from that, I think people are like that. We can all maybe imagine what we would do in those situations or imagine how we would feel seeing the stars from the moon for the first time. It just allows your brain to go and I think also in times of – it’s the recession – real darkness, I think people want utter escapism. I think that any drama or comedy can offer you that but there is something about the beyond that can offer you complete escapism, so maybe that’s why it’s really taken off. My family’s always been into it – ‘Star Trek’. My sister was uber-Trekkie number one and I really loved it too so we used to go to conventions in fancy dress.

So, you’ve been to conventions?

Yeah, I hate it when people derogatorily describe fans of Sci-Fi. For me, I say ‘avid’ or ‘dedicated’ because I’ve been on both sides. So I can understand the spell it can have over you because it allows you to just escape. So yeah, we’ve done both sides. And my mum loves it. She used to have it perpetually on the ‘Syfy’ channel when we first got cable. I just think to watch Sci-Fi offers you something magical and to participate in Sci-Fi means you just don’t know what the script’s going to say when you open it next. You don’t know what possibilities you’re going to be exploring as an actress, so I like the diversity that it offers.

For more information about MCM Expos across the UK visit:

Image credit: Neela Debnath/The Independent

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  • Matters2me

    Freema brought new life to Doctor Who. I was not terribly impressed with the direction the show was taking immediately before her arrival. The Rose saga and then the Runaway Bride had me convinced that the show needy to be completely revamped. As it turns out, it just needed Freema. Martha was not only an excellent companion, but Freema was an excellent co-star for David Tennant. Her tenure ended much too soon. Nevertheless, I am extremely impressed with how Freema is directing her career. She is doing a great job in Law and Order:UK. I do hope the industry out in L.A. recognizes what she has to offer and we see her in major productions for a long time to come.

  • Les Enfants du Temps

    Freema Agyeman [on 50thanniversary in 2013] ..if they want to do a big group thing, I can’t really envisage anybody in the Who family saying no…

  • reverend61

    Except for Eccleston, anyway.

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