She made two Dalek serials in the 1970s and appreciates how they’ve developed. First with the 2005 episode simply titled Dalek, written by Robert Shearman: “He’s my hero. And what Steven’s done is taken the Daleks further without falling into the trap of using Davros. The moment I saw Davros in the 70s, looking like everybody on the Tube round about six o’clock at night with their headphones on, it took away the menace of something that isn’t human. Because suddenly it’s half a bloke in there. There’s nothing human about a Dalek.”
But, I argue, Moffat has blended the human and the Dalek so cleverly here, reusing his idea of nanogene transformation from his 2005 two-parter, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (“Are you my mummy?”). He’s even made the new companion a Dalek!
What does Katy make of Oswin? “I’m going to like her.” But Oswin Oswald… Didn’t everyone predict her name would be Clara? And how come she’s a bloomin’ Dalek!? “I don’t know about the full Dalek conversion. Look, this is sci-fi. We can de-convert!”
Yet surely this is where Oswin/Clara’s story will end, Dalek-ised and memory-wiped...? I like her final, telling line: “Run, you clever boy. And remember.” Or perhaps it'll transpire she's a looky-likey, cousins like Freema Agyeman played when she started... “I don’t know where it’s going and don’t want to guess,” says Katy, “but obviously if she’s going to be the new girl, we’re going to have x number of stories with her. Maybe they don’t know where it’s going to go. How often do you start a story like that?”
That mirrors River Song, I point out, another woman of mystery killed off in her debut story whose earlier life is coloured in later. “Yes, I was confused with River Song,” admits Katy. “I don’t think I was alone there. Truthfully, that character slightly jarred for me. I don’t know why, because I think Alex Kingston’s a fabulous actress.”
She’s effusive about the three leads. “Matt’s one of my most favourite young actors. Without a shadow of doubt, I love what he does. Amy has been a wonderful companion. I love the way Karen Gillan performs the character. She gives me all the levels I actually want. She can scream, she can be tough, she can be brave, cynical… She’s all those things that work beautifully with this younger Doctor.” Katy’s also met Arthur Darvill, “briefly at a signing – rolling a cigarette somewhere. It’s how you meet in my business. He’s a cool dude. A smashing actor.”
As for the episode: “It has a quirky Alice in Wonderland quality – going from the Daleks up there in this huge sort of Albert Hall of Daleks, spiralling down, down into the hole where Rory sees all the old Daleks… What’s glorious for me is to see so many Daleks that aren’t tiny little cardboard things superimposed on the screen.”
Final word of praise for director Nick Hurran. “He should be congratulated,” she says. “It was beautifully directed, beautifully lit. It was shot every bit as well as an action movie – you can well-quote me on that! It was as good as anything I see that people spend zillions of dollars on.
“D’you know what? I would love to have been in it now,” she confides. “Not as an old person, not an old Katy...” the husky voice breaks “…but as a young Katy. I would love to have been a young person in Doctor Who now.”