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Q&A with the cast of ‘Doctor Who’

Neela Debnath

Picture 042 300x225 Q&A with the cast of ‘Doctor WhoLast weekend the first-ever Doctor Who convention was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. It was the first of its kind since the show returned in 2005. Stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, along with Executive Producer Caroline Skinner, shared their thoughts on conventions, action figures and the forthcoming series.

What are your thoughts on this weekend and conventions?

Matt Smith (MS): It’s been wonderful. I’m really impressed with the way it’s been organised and run. From my point of view it’s nice to get to touch base with some of the fans. I would do it again. I think it’s been great.

Arthur Darvill (AD): Yeah, because we’re in the middle of filming so you’re concentrating so much on trying to make it really good and you forget that what you do is being seen by so many people and so many people care about it. It’s really nice to meet people.

Karen Gillan (KG): I really love meeting the fans so much, I’m really getting into it. Like I’ve drawn tally marks on myself and everything. Whoo hoo!

Have you been given any unusual gifts by fans?

AD: We had to sign a pair of pants.

KG: TARDIS underwear. Also, I met a guy who has actually changed his name to River Song by deed poll. And I was like ‘no you haven’t’ and then he got the ID out and yeah it’s real.

MS: It’s quite a cool name for a guy, River, isn’t it? Like River Phoenix, stuff like that. I’ve just been really infused by it – because often in America they’re really vocal – but they’ve been really cheery. Like hey!

KG: Also, there are just people from all over the world, it’s amazing.

How sad are you to be leaving?

KG: I am so sad to be leaving, it’s weird to be moving on from this. We’ve been doing this for quite some time now. But that’s really cool because we’ve had a long run at it and it’s really cool because we’re the longest running companions of the new series which is really nice. But I am really sad to be moving on but it kind of feels like the right time. You want to leave on a high.

AD: It’s strange, it’s happy and sad in equal measures really because we’ve had such a good time doing this and we get to work with some of our closest friends all the time. The scripts are incredible but there’s nothing worse than outstaying your welcome. It’s going to be very emotional when we leave.

KG: I couldn’t get through the read through.

AD: But one thing we’ve been talking about is that the show’s much bigger than all of us and it’s all about change constantly, so we go out on such an amazing storyline. We’re so privileged to have that anyway but yeah, it’s also going to be really sad.

KG: It’s just the nature of the show.

AD: The nature of the beast.

Are you going to come back for the anniversary?

AD: We don’t know anything about the anniversary.

KG: We probably wouldn’t be told even if we were.

MS: I don’t even know what’s going on.

Caroline Skinner (CS): I might know what’s going on.

KG: GASPS

What have been your favourite monsters?

MS: The Weeping Angels is my favourite.

KG: Yeah, same.

MS: Or the Silence.

AD: The Moffat monsters.

CS: They’ve just shown our trailer again for next year and the line ‘give me a Dalek any day’, I think that is now my new favourite Matt Smith line ever.

Karen will you be screaming at the television this year when Jenna-Louise Coleman joins?

KG: LAUGHS. No, I’m not going to be jealous. I’m really sad to be leaving the show. I really have had the best years of my life on this. I’m not just saying that, it’s true and working with Matt and Arthur has been amazing and we’ve become really, really close friends so it is going to be weird seeing Matt acting with another companion but I’m open to it. I am actually looking forward to it because I get to watch it as a viewer and also I really want to see him interacting with a different companion, I think it will be interesting for the show.

Matt, when you’re skidding around the TARDIS, how much of that is a conscious character decision and how much is just you?

MS: I think they’re sort of one and the same thing really. It’s funny, a lot of spinning around in the TARDIS comes from the fact that there’s a glass floor so it’s quite slidey. It’s been quite a slidey TARDIS and often he’s in a rush because the world’s ending. So if he did everything really slowly we probably wouldn’t have a show.

What did you feel like when you first saw your figure?

AD: We were excited.

KG: It’s so cool to have a doll of yourself.

MS: Arthur, what did you feel like?

AD: Mine still isn’t out yet but I have seen it.

CS: I’ve seen yours. It’s pretty cool.

AD: It was pretty cool, it was quite muscley.

CS: Limited edition but he looks quite hot.

Arthur, are we going to see the return of the Centurion?

AD: I can’t say if it’s coming back or not but it’s a lot of fun doing that hero stuff because it’s stuff that I never really expected when I got the part. You get looked at differently when you’re walking around dressed as a Roman Centurion.

Arthur, Karen what will you miss most about the show?

MS: ADDRESSES ARTHUR AND KAREN Hello?

AD: The food

MS: Right here, people!

KG: The food was really good.

AD: And it’s as simple as that really

KG: We’re just really close friends, it sounds really cheesy but it’s really true. Also, I feel quite emotionally invested in this show, really a lot. So I think I’m just going to miss everything about this, it’s going to be weird.

AD: Yeah, the read through for our last story – it was really so emotional and I think that anyone looking in would have thought: ‘what is going on?’.

KG: Self-indulgent.

AD: So self-indulgent but we’ve been doing this for a long time and we are working with some of our closest friends. It is really emotional. So it’s the people and getting a Moffat script.

MS: And the adventurousness.

KG: And a different thing every episode.

MS: It’s weird we’ll be on set and there will be Silents and Daleks and you kind of get used to it. You have to go: ‘no, this isn’t going to be everyday for the rest of our lives’. There won’t always be giant monsters coming up.

Do you watch the show when it goes out?

MS: Yeah.

KG: Religiously.

AD: I didn’t used. I couldn’t watch it. It made me really nervous, I used to watch it on iPlayer the day after. I’ve got more used to watching it.

KG: I timed everything in my day around it

MS: And you know, you’ve got to tune in, keep the figures high.

Given technological advances, which previous Doctors do you want to work with?

AD: I’m a big Jon Pertwee fan anyway, kind of from this and Worzel Gummidge.

MS: He wasn’t Worzel Gummidge.

AD: He was.

MS: Was he? I did not know that! I used to love Worzel Gummidge. That’s Jon Pertwee- bloody hell! Oh my god, Worzel Gummidge was amazing! I remember that, wow, sorry, I digress.

KG: William Hartnell would be quite fun because I think Amy is quite grumpy and he’s pretty grumpy. So they would both be grumpy.

Is the new series going to be less dark than the last one?

MS: ‘Doctor Who’ explores always the light and shade of every character. I think the great virtue of it is that in the space of five lines you can go from complete despair and end of the world to making a joke about Pot Noodle landing on your head or something. So of course it’s unavoidable that the Ponds – it’s their final hour – which is going to be sad but there’s great adventure and great heroism and love. There’s everything in it so it’s never one thing.

What have you enjoyed most about filming so far?

MS: I got to ride on a horse which was amazing.

CS: You galloped that horse.

KG: You really did.

AD: Filming in Spain was quite good.

Karen, Arthur when you leave the show, do you then become complete outsiders and Matt won’t be allowed to tell you anything at all?

KG: (ADDRESSES MATT) Well, I guess that’s your call as to whether you disclose any information.

MS: Well, I think that if anyone on the planet who you could tell ‘Doctor Who’ stuff to, you can probably tell Karen and Arthur because they know the deal that you can’t tell anyone.

KG: But I don’t want to know.

AD: I want to watch it as a viewer without knowing it. Finally, I can watch it without knowing what’s going to happen.

KG: Although, I sort of want to know what’s going to happen

MS: If I knew what was happening for the 50th anniversary which I don’t, you’d want to know that for instance?

CS: We might not tell you.

KG: Come on guys, you could just lie to us at least!

For more information about the series go to: www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw

Image credit: Neela Debnath/The Independent

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