The hidden heroes of Doctor Who
STEVEN MOFFAT chooses…
“Rory Pond is everything I could never be — brave enough to show when he’s scared, man enough to take his wife’s name, and so steadfastly in love that he’ll wait 2,000 years and not complain once. Everyone needs a Rory in their life.”
(Read our interview with Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory here)
KAREN GILLAN chooses…
“Stephanie Carey, my stuntwoman, a fearless, talented woman who makes Amy Pond an action hero. Without Steph we wouldn’t have the amazing shots of Amy being flung across a pirate ship, or flipping through space with a decent amount of grace.”
Stephanie Carey: “I don’t mind the cuts and bruises. It’s part of the job. One of the stunts I’ve done for Doctor Who was what we call in the industry a “jerk back”. Basically, Amy had to fly back when the Siren [in The Curse of the Black Spot] pointed a wand at her, and that was me. I wore a special vest with a wire attached, which the team pulled with such force that I was jerked back 20 feet. Even if I wear pads, I know I’ll get knocked around on a heavy stunt like that. I wear a wig and shy away from the camera. Obviously, it helps to be a similar size – Karen is 5ft 11 whereas I’m only 5ft 8, but it’s close enough.
You never know what you’re going to get when the phone rings. Recently, I doubled Sigourney Weaver in a new film, so spent seven weeks racing around Madrid in car chases. That was brilliant fun. I’ve played a Death Eater in Harry Potter, assassins in Spooks and exited speedboats seconds before they explode.”
MATT SMITH chooses…
“Phill Shellard, our standby props man. When he’s not there, you notice. When he is, you don’t. he was formerly a tool-maker. I break everything. Without Phill we’d have no chance. he is brilliant.”
Phill Shellard: “I’ve heard Matt Smith called clumsy, but I prefer to think he’s enthusiastic. Matt likes to show his props off, especially his favourite: the sonic screwdriver. He’s developed it into something of an art form – flipping and tossing it up into the air – and at his request the prop-makers have tweaked and tailored it to his tastes. Which doesn’t stop him breaking it: I do tend to spend a lot of time hastily sticking it back together with tape, wire and superglue. In fact, we now have four sonic screwdrivers – one for every stunt and scenario – so there’s always a spare when it takes a battering in Matt’s hands.
I’ve been on Doctor Who since the very first episode of the new series [in 2005]. I think I have a reputation as being a bit of a taskmaster. I’m a little overprotective, but with good reason: one missing prop will bring the whole shoot to a grinding halt.
A couple of years ago, I had just half an hour to devise a replacement. Scouring the set for anything that bore any resemblance, my eye fell upon the vacuum cleaner, and I took a hacksaw and pot of glue to it. So we did the scene with the actor running around holding a souped-up vacuum cleaner. Nobody realised, hopefully, but I’m not going to reveal which episode it was, in case your readers zoom in too closely…”
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