Two of the stars of this week’s Doctor Who episode, Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror, Goran Višnjic and Anjli Mohindra talk about starring in Series 12 and reveal what it was like to be a part of Doctor Who!
How does it feel to be part of Doctor Who?
ANJLI: It’s a real dream come true! I've been a huge fan of the show ever since being a part of the Sarah Jane Adventures and being absorbed into that world. I was totally thrilled when the call came.
GORAN: It was very interesting and exciting to even be considered to be a part of Doctor Who because I never thought we were going to cross paths – it’s kind of two different worlds. I’m a big fan of the show so when the question came, and especially with the character, I was like… “Okay, this is a yes and yes situation”. So it was this level of coolness before even getting to Cardiff. It was already like “oh my god this is really exciting!”
How was it working with Jodie and the other cast?
ANJLI: I've been a huge fan of Jodie’s work since Broadchurch and actually since her role in ‘Tess of The D'urbervilles’, quite a few years ago. She sort of glows a little bit as a person, so it's just a real treat getting to work with her. Tosin is so lovely and Mandip is hilarious. Brad? Well we’ll come to him a second!
GORAN: It was really pleasant, they’re really nice. They made me feel at home. It’s always a little weird when you’re a guest star, you walk in amongst people that really know each other, they’re full of stories and things they’ve done in the past and you can sometimes feel a little like an outsider. But from day one, they were really kind and welcoming. I felt like part of the gang and it was a really great shoot. It was a very nice gang to work with.
Have you worked with any of the cast before?
ANJLI: I've worked with Bradley Walsh because he played Odbobb the Clown, an alien in my first ever episode of Sarah Jane years ago. So yeah, getting to work with him again was brilliant and he didn’t actually recognise me as I was under 3 hours of prosthetics (laughs). It was hilarious because he sort of introduced himself to me and I thought he was joking. Cause I was like ‘Oh he’s probably seen my name on the call sheet’ and is pretending, was just taking the mick. I think an entire day had passed before he said: “You’re going to have to show me a picture of what you look like because I'll probably pass you in the street at some point and have no idea”. And it was at that point that I was like, oh, he really doesn’t, he really hasn’t twigged. (laughs).
How was it working on a show like Doctor Who with lots of special effects, aliens and prosthetics?
ANJLI: A bonkers but exhilarating process. Being fitted for the prosthetics was a little bit surreal because it felt very strange. Being live cast. But the team that work on the prosthetics and create everything were just so brilliant to work with and so lovely and fun and just made the experience exciting.
GORAN: We actually had a lot of physical props but we did have some stuff that we needed to imagine. There’s a green screen with these aliens coming from the side and you have to imagine that and react. There were days like that but there was also a lot of practical elements too. We spent time inside the TARDIS too, which was great.
Is it quite different when you're in prosthetics in terms of playing a character, is it a different experience?
ANJLI: For sure! I think that makeup definitely helps with your character transformation. You feel very different, your skin feels very different and therefore, yeah, I think any piece of costume enhances performance or helps actors sort of like transcend their current reality. So when you've got that much makeup on it’s great to work with. How did you find playing Tesla?
GORAN: Tesla was born in Croatia so I know a lot of about him and we studied Nikola Tesla more than I would say an average European or American student, so I knew a lot of details way before I was playing Tesla. I read his biography, a lot of fantastic elements about him, a lot of the things that are mysteries – I was very familiar with a lot of it. When they asked me if I needed any help with the research, I was like “no, I’ve already got it!” (laughs).
How does playing a historic character differ to playing an entirely fictional character?
GORAN: Well I would definitely skip a moustache if it was a fictional character – those things are so uncomfortable (laughs). There’s very well-known photograph of Nikola Tesla, he always had his moustache and there are known things about him, what he liked and didn’t like, so I kind of incorporated some of those things into the character. In a way it’s a double edged sword, it’s a blessing because you know things about your character already because they’re given to you but the other side is that you have to do certain things with your character that are established. In truth, I can’t even consider Tesla as a historical character from “the books” because I feel like I grew up with him, I knew who he was since I was a kid so in some ways it was like playing someone you know.
How did this role differ from others you’ve had in the past?
GORAN: I’ve never played a historical character that was so well known. When I say well known, he was living in a time that was well described and he was internationally known as an inventor. Every character is different, every time you work in a new job there’s so many different things to consider, for example is it a film or series? This was just one episode so you have to make the character quite quickly. In ER, I played the same doctor for years, you really know the character and you become the character. You play everything through yourself. When you have an episode like this, you have to build it through building blocks and hold it all together for the duration and then you can let it go.
Do you have a particular highlight of filming/favourite memory?
GORAN: I just had this big warm feeling about working Doctor Who. It was a really good experience. There wasn’t even one tiny friction of something negative or any bad memories. It was just smooth and pleasant. The actors, producers, crew… it was just smooth sailing and really pleasant. I really had tons of fun, I think you’re going to see that.
What was the most exciting part for you about your Doctor Who experience?
ANJLI: Just the whole thing. Jodie is one of my favourite Doctors so far, so to work with her, and being on those sets as a fan and as an actor is just an experience that I won't forget.
Jamie McCaffrey posted a photo:
See the previous post(s) for the Tree House that we stayed in for a few night in California.
Our hosts made sure the tree house was outfitted with amenities. Including an antique Army field desk with wine glasses and cutlery. Both our hosts being engineers - and this being just down the coast from Silicon Valley - their geek roots showed through with this Dr Who Tardis lunch box. We loved every touch.
JulesFoto posted a photo:
Visit to Broadcasting House for recording of BBC Radio 4 programme.
More Doctor Who fans than ever can now step inside a VR version of the TARDIS as the BBC’s hit virtual reality experience Doctor Who: The Runaway comes to the Doctor Who YouTube channel and launches internationally.
The VR experience stars Jodie Whittaker voicing an animated version of the Thirteenth Doctor, a role she’s just reprised in the new series on TV. The viewer crash lands in the TARDIS and is quickly recruited by the Doctor to help return a strange and potentially dangerous creature called Volta to its home planet.
Where previously the experience has only been available to view on VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR, the YouTube 360 version enables anyone with an entry level VR headset like a Google Cardboard to step into the TARDIS and try out the adventure for themselves.
The international launch will also enable the show’s fans around the world to team up with the Doctor in virtual reality. Until now, The Runaway has only been available in the UK, but is now available globally for free on the Steam store for the first time, is launching on the Oculus and Viveport stores internationally, and globally on the BBC VR app for the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR.
Fans of The Runaway should also check out The Edge of Time, a feature-length Doctor Who virtual reality game where players solve mind-bending puzzles, escape treacherous environments and come face-to-face with classic Doctor Who monsters such as the Weeping Angels and Daleks!. Find out more about The Edge of Time here.
Doctor Who: The Runaway features new original music from series composer Segun Akinola, and is directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous work in virtual reality includes Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. The script was an original story written by Victoria Asare-Archer, and is being published today on the BBC Writersroom blog.
Doctor Who: The Runaway has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and has since been shown at the Sandbox Immersive Festival in China and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, among many others. The BBC VR Hub has also taken it on an extensive tour of UK libraries, enabling people without VR headsets to try it in their local library.
Suzanne Guest posted a photo:
This photo was taken (with permission as required by the comicon rules) at the Dr. Who exhibit at a Comicon at the Canadian Warplane Aviation Museum in Hamtilon, Ontario. This particular Dalek was interactive.
Coming in the next episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor and friends go on an all-inclusive holiday — into terror.
Plenty of colourful characters will be holidaying with the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham! Two of the actors playing them, Laura Fraser and James Buckley, revealed more about filming Orphan 55…
How did it feel to be in Doctor Who?
JAMES: Without sounding dramatic, it’s an honour really. So many great people have been involved in the show. It’s really an honour. The viewers who watch it and how passionate the fans behind the show are is one of the reasons I wanted to do it. I want to be involved in things that people support like they do a sports team, where something is so loved by so many people. Really huge fans, taking the word ‘fan’ back to its actual meaning – fanatical. That was really exciting for me and I obviously hope people enjoy the episode.
LAURA: I was quite nervous because when there’s a show that you've watched as a child that is so iconic and almost out of reach in your head because when you were a kid watching, it just seemed like it would be inconceivable that you could ever actually be on that TV show. It was really exciting. There was so many lovely and funny people and we were travelling around quite a lot to different places in these outrageous costumes and being silly and telling stories and having a laugh.
JAMES: Really nice, yeah! It was great. Hanging about with the guys was an absolute pleasure. Really lovely people. Nice people to be around which is what I want to spend my time doing in my life, working with good people and nice people. It made the whole experience great.
LAURA: They were so welcoming. Jodie and everybody - they were so warm and welcoming. I was nervous on my first day and they completely put me at ease. They're just so open. Yeah, it was lovely.
JAMES: I don’t know if I have a particular highlight as I have a lot. For me, it was just really exciting to be on something like this. Usually everything I do is shot in suburban Britain or somewhere like that. As an actor, you want to be on these big sets with fun props, makeup, costumes and things like that. So all those things. It’s sort of why you dream of being an actor as a kid when you do a project like this. I can’t think of one specific thing as it was all of that.
LAURA: There's so many moments I really loved. We were filming abroad and when I saw one of the sets from the outside I was blown away by what they had done. The set designs are amazing. It’s hard to say without revealing anything but I just remember being blown away.
JAMES: It’s all part of the fun and the stuff you dream of as a kid. You just have too much fun with aliens running after you and things like that, it’s great (laughs).
LAURA: I was really impressed with the monsters and the people that operate the monsters too! It's such a funny life isn't it? That their life is to go on all these different sets and be all these kinds of monsters and perform stunts as these monsters - it's totally fascinating.
LAURA: The music! The theme music is so iconic. Also, all the different doctors and the TARDIS…and I remember once going down to London when I was about 18 for an audition and I met one of the Doctors at the audition. I was just floored, I couldn’t believe it, I was like “it’s the Doctor”! Is there anything particular about the episode you’re excited for viewers to see?
JAMES: For me, personally, just how big it is. It felt like making a big sci-fi movie. There’s special effects, there’s explosions, there’s action, and there’s chasing… I hope people are really going to like the episode.
You can catch James Buckley and Laura Fraser in Orphan 55, opposite Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh.
Orphan 55 is coming this Sunday 12th January at 7:10pm on BBC One, or on BBC America at 8pm ET, 7pm CT.
I didn’t audition which was amazing as I’ve never been offered a part. I’d worked with Matt Strevens on Adventure in Space and Time and he’s a great friend of mine. He had asked me to play another character in the last series of Doctor Who but I was away filming. I think in hindsight it’s the best thing that could have happened because I wouldn’t have been able to play this iconic character.
It’s actually really difficult and I think the more you’re told not to say something, the more you want to! It’s an amazing feeling, especially being the first British Indian actor to portray the role. I’m really proud and excited for people to see it.
Have you worked with any of the other cast before?
I’ve worked with Jodie – we did an ITV drama a long time ago. I was worried she might not recognise me so it was a real joy when she did. It totally put me at ease.
What was it like working with the cast and crew?
It was amazing. And I had already worked with some of the crew on Sherlock. I love coming to Cardiff to film, because of the crew; they are incredibly generous. The character can be quite unpredictable at times, and I found the crew immensely supportive and collaborative.
The cast couldn’t be more welcoming, particularly Jodie, who has the responsibility of setting the tone on set. And it’s a huge responsibility in my opinion, especially with the amount she has to do each day. She’s a special Doctor for me, not just because I’m fortunate enough to work with her, but because she’s a true company leader, with such love and care for everyone on set. It’s something the audience don’t get to see, and it’s pretty incredible. I’ve learnt a lot from her.
How did you react when you heard it was the Master and how did you prepare?
The first feeling I had was pure terror to be honest, and I thought: ‘there’s no way I can do this!!’ Then I eventually calmed down.
My first port of call was to extract the bare bones of the character because there is so much information out there. I was keen to approach the part like I would with any other character, which in a way, gave me confidence to make the character my own. Yes the character is playful, unpredictable, dangerous, but I was keen to explore where that ‘persona’ originates from. That’s when I really became excited by the possibilities in terms of where I could take the character, because I started to uncover a much more darker, more melancholic side to The Master, which I felt hadn’t been explored before.
I actually sent Matt and Chris an audition tape prior to my first day on set and said “be honest”. They both seemed really excited by the tape, but at the same time, they gave me some interesting thoughts to think about and play around with.
It really opened up an interesting and exciting dialogue between Chris and I, which continued throughout the whole process. I felt I could call him at any time to share ideas, which only made the character stronger. It’s rare for an actor be able to do that; it felt very collaborative.
How do you feel knowing this is such an iconic character, and people are always going to now know you as the Master?
There was a time when actors like myself, wouldn’t even be considered for a role of this nature. Doctor Who has always been a landmark show, but I feel it’s becoming an even more landmark show due the stories that are being written, and the actors being cast to represent them. Yes, I’m a nemesis alien time lord, but that’s only the surface. For me, the role becomes ‘iconic’ because if you look beyond that you’ll see that there’s a much deeper story that’s going on. Once I realised that, I couldn’t feel more proud to be incarnating the character.
With less than one week to go until Doctor Who makes a spectacular return to screens, Inbetweeners star James Buckley is set to appear in the upcoming series when it returns on New Year's Day!
James is no stranger to television screens and has a wealth of credits ranging from White Gold, Zapped and The Inbetweeners.
Speaking ahead of his Doctor Who appearance, James Buckley said:
“It was surreal to be on such an iconic show and I’m really happy to be part of something so well loved. Hope everyone enjoys it!”
Matt Strevens, Executive Producer said:
“It was a real thrill to welcome James to the cast, his dramatic and comic talents are put to fine use in this action packed episode.”