Q&A interview with ‘Doctor Who’ star Frazer Hines
Neela Debnath spoke to ‘Doctor Who’ actor Frazer Hines, who played companion Jamie McCrimmon to Patrick Troughton’s second incarnation of the Time Lord.
Why do you think Doctor Who has remained so popular?
It’s a job I did over 40 years ago but I never thought it would still be here all those years later. I don’t know what it is. Even when it was taken off the air, I think fans kept it going because they wanted to see more of it. It was the fandom and a company called Big Finish who did the audio books that kept the name Doctor Who alive. So I think it’s been knocking on the doors all the time, people would not let it go. Like a dog with a bone. The fans will not let it go.
Are you doing anything to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who?
I think there’s going to be a big party. I’ve been invited to America about five times to celebrate the 50th which is great. I’m going to Houston, Texas and New York and a cruise around the Caribbean, so that’s not bad at all!
How did you feel when it was announced that the show was coming back?
I was very excited because even though I wasn’t going to be in it, I was very excited because the show is very close to my heart. I had three of the happiest years of my career in Doctor Who, working with Patrick Troughton then 16 years coming back with Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton in The Two Doctors.
Do you watch the new series?
I do, yes I do indeed. I liked David Tennant and I like Matt Smith because apparently he says his favourite Doctor is Patrick Troughton, Tomb of the Cybermen. I keep saying: ‘come on Matt, Patrick’s no longer with us, if you’d like Cybermen, get Jamie back’. I can still swing off a chandelier.
Who is your favourite companion?
Jamie is my favourite companion. (laughs) You’ve got to say that.
Any other apart from Jamie?
Well I daren’t say Deborah Watling or Wendy Padbury – both smashing girls and of course Nicola Bryant. The Who girls were all great fun. I’ve always said though that I would have liked to have worked with Leela – Louise Jamieson – the Amazon girl because her and I were the only two companions who carried weapons. I can just see us and the Doctor, the tide rising around his neck and he’s tied up and I’m going to rescue him with my knife and she’s ‘I’ll rescue him’. We both end up wrestling on the floor, who’s going to rescue the Doctor? So this is the fantasy I have. Jamie and Leela wrestling on the floor, both our knives out. ‘I’ll do it, I’ll do it!’
What was it like wearing the kilt and running around?
That was okay. I always said to the guys, ‘I’m not being funny but watch all the camera angles’ because Jamie being a Highlander would not be wearing anything because this was 5.15pm on a Saturday afternoon. It was a kids’ show. We musn’t show anything, so even when I climbed up the helicopter I had lead weights, unknown to the director, sewn into the hem of my kilt at lunchtime. So when I climbed up the rope ladder my kilt did not raise. Because I’d read that the Queen of England has lead weights sewn into her dress so when she steps out the helicopter on a windy day, you don’t see anything. I was supposed to climb up the ladder but I let the girl go first, Sally Faulkner and of course her mini skirt blew right up. Then we broke for lunch and I was sweating. Then I found my dresser fishing and I said: ‘you’ve got lead weights, sew them in’. So he sewed them in and I clanked onto the helicopter and nothing happened.
What was your most memorable moment of working on Doctor Who?
I think my most memorable moment would be probably, Innes Lloyd the producer. I was only supposed to be in the four episodes of The Highlanders, we’d already filmed all the pre-stuff, me waving goodbye to Patrick Troughton, Polly and Ben, the Tardis materializing and I’m left on earth. The most memorable moment when Innes Lloyd came up to me in rehearsal one day and put his arms around me and he said: ‘Frazer! How do feel joining the old Tardis crew for a year or so?’ I said: ‘I can’t Innes because I’ve filmed-’ He said ‘leave it to me’. Two days later we went back to Frensham Pond where we were filming and this time I got into the Tardis.
‘Doctor Who’ will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in November this year
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