Toby Jones interview: my Doctor Who Dream Lord could return

Actor says he would be pleased to see the 2010 character return to the sci-fi show, while also reflecting on his new period drama The Secret Agent and what is happening with Detectorists

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Toby Jones would like to bring back his Doctor Who character The Dream Lord.

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The character, written by Simon Nye, was a major antagonist for the Doctor and his companions in the series 7 episode Amy’s Choice in 2010.

He set a villainous trap for Matt Smith’s Time Lord where he and his companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and fiancé Rory (Arthur Darvill) repeatedly fell asleep and woke up in a different reality.

Jones told RadioTimes.com that the part could return – and he would be up for it. “I think he can return, but then again I think every character I‘ve ever played can return. I’d be very happy to return to most of them. The Dream Lord is especially equipped to return because he doesn’t really exist. It would just need him to upload himself as a bit of software, thereby securing immortality.”

Jones can be seen tonight in his latest drama, a three-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent. He plays Anton Verloc, the agent from the title and a Soho sex shop owner who is caught up in a deadly game of terrorist intrigue in Victorian London.

Jones said the new period series, adapted by Tony Marchant from the 1906 book and set in 1886, speaks to the modern world about contemporary concerns: “It’s a brilliant story. It explores the ramifications of the situation of the individual to an entire society. But it is remarkably ahead of it’s time as well in the subjects it explores. But I suppose there’s something maybe even reassuring about the cyclical nature of history.

“I think the way Tony’s sort of structured it as a thriller, I think he’s brought a whole level of tension that Conrad wasn’t perhaps as interested in.”

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Jones also reflected on his recent appearance as Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, the film revival of the much-loved sitcom, which divided critics. The actor, also known for voicing Dobby the House Elf in the Harry Potter films, said the Marmite response to the film didn’t come as a huge shock.

“The honest response to that is…I think the response didn’t surprise me at all. I was really gratified by how much positive response it had and I fully expected to not win over a lot of people. Knowing how I was to do it in the first place, I knew that.

“It was very hard to plan that because obviously my only reference point was Arthur Lowe. So if I succeeded in making it my own, that’s great.”

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He also said that a third run of BBC4 comedy Detectorists is possible if Mackenzie Crook wants to bring back the series, in which Jones plays Lance, the best friend to Cook’s metal-detecting enthusiast Andy.

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“I’ve talked to Mackenzie irregularly but we do chat. The way he writes those things, he has a very complete vision of it. He won’t write it unless he can see the work developing all the characters. And I think he’s found my character very easy to write for, but he’s parked his own character unhelpfully in Botswana and how to retrieve that character in an issue.

“I think the other issue would be, when you finish with that sort of climactic episode in the last series, it’s very hard to cap that. It’s possible, and if anyone can do it I believe Mackenzie could do it – I think he will if he can.”

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The Secret Agent starts tonight, 9pm BBC1 and continues on Sundays