Amanda Abbington: I want to play Jodie Whittaker’s “arch enemy” in Doctor Who

The Sherlock and Crooked House star says that playing the nemesis of the first female Doctor would be her dream role

Amanda Abbington, Getty, SL

Amanda Abbington has been after a role in Doctor Who for a while now. “You’d think I would with Steven Moffat as my mate, but yes, I’d love to be in Doctor Who,” she told the Independent two years ago.


Fast forward to the end of 2017 and her friend Moffat is handing over the reins to Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall who has cast Jodie Whittaker as Peter Capaldi’s successor.

The first female Doctor takes control of the Tardis during the Christmas special and Abbington will be watching – “obviously” – but she’s still after that elusive role in the Whoniverse.

“I’m going to ask my agent but I want to be [the Doctor’s] nemesis. I could be her arch enemy,” she tells “I’ve never done Doctor Who and I’ve always wanted to. My kids say to me, ‘How come you’ve never done Doctor Who?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know’. On my list of next things to do is be in Doctor Who.”

She’s also a big fan of the Doctor’s imminent gender-swap. “I love it. I think it’s brilliant. Why not? No one ever said that it was a man.

“And [Jodie] will be brilliant – she’s an amazing actress and she’s glorious. My son is very excited about the new series and I think she will only be brilliant; what it will do is set a different dynamic and dimension to the show and that’s only a good thing.

“It’s progressive and it’s what we need. It’s a brilliant call on their part and it’s much needed.”

Abbington – who is best known to fans as Mary Morstan in Sherlock – will be back on screens this Christmas, although her latest venture is more ‘Downton Abbey’ than ‘Adventures in Space and Time’.

She plays Clemency in Crooked House – the first screen version of Agatha Christie’s classic tale, adapted by Downton creator Julian Fellowes, and starring Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks and Terrence Stamp.

Amanda Abbington in Crooked House, Channel 5, SL
Amanda Abbington in Crooked House, Channel 5

“It was one of those very fun jobs which just came out of nowhere and you think, ‘Of course I’m going to do this because it’s got this pedigree of actors in it and I’ve got quite a nice part in it and why wouldn’t I want to be part of that?'”

The story finds us in the home of late entrepreneur Aristide Leonides who has been found dead in his country pile in a case of suspected poisoning. The film was shot last year and much of the action takes place in the mansion itself, inhabited by Leonides’ various bitter and twisted family members – all of whom are suspects in his murder.

“If you like Agatha Christie – if you love all that intrigue and stuff – I think this is right up your street,” says Abbington. “And it’s never been adapted before, Crooked House – this is the first adaptation – so I’m hoping people will want to tune in for that.

“Agatha Christie is such a brilliant storyteller. She’s very good at suspending disbelief and she makes everybody a suspect rather beautifully so you end up second guessing and trying to work out who it is. She’s the master at the denouement at the end of any of her books and then her hero just leaves and goes on to the next thing and that’s what I love about her – she’s mystery herself. You can’t help getting sucked into it and you end up becoming the detective yourself, trying to work out who it is.”


Crooked House airs on Sunday 17th December at 9pm on Channel 5