Alex Kingston: if Steven Moffat has River Song storylines, I will always say yes

The Doctor Who actress discusses Glee, Donny Osmond's naughty bits, the end of Merlin and why she's joined the cast of Arrow

What’s your guilty pleasure?


I don’t know whether you have it in Britain but my 11-year-old daughter and I are obsessed with Project Runway, a reality show about fashion designers. We even did our own version: we had an hour to design dresses for her Barbie dolls.

Whose Barbie won?

Mine, who very much looked like a Josephine Baker showgirl. My daughter was a bit miffed!

Living in LA, does anything make you blush?

We used to have Glee nights and my daughter’s friends came round, but it started to get a little too raunchy and we had to stop watching.

Did your mother stop you watching anything?

I remember lying on the floor, kicking and screaming, not eating my food, and still my mum was absolutely adamant that I couldn’t watch Barbarella. I’d seen a trailer on the telly and was mesmerised by the lovely male angel and Jane Fonda looking like a Barbie doll.

What are you addicted to?

The Killing. My sister bought me the box set. They did an American version but I don’t want to watch it until I’ve finished the original.

Who was your first crush?

I had two simultaneously: Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. I had a huge poster of David Cassidy’s head and combed his hair every night. Donny Osmond was life-size, sat legs astride in a banana-yellow suit with jaunty matching cap. Because of the way the poster had been folded, there was a hole where his naughty bits were, which I found so erotic! To this day, I couldn’t meet Donny Osmond without blushing.

Do you still catch British dramas?

Oh totally. Although, again, it tends to be ones my daughter and I can watch together: Doctor Who – naturally – and she’s into Merlin…

Sorry to be the bearer of sad news: Merlin has been cancelled.

Oh no! Has it? Oh what a shame. Thank goodness we’re only on series two so we’ve got a way to go.

Will River Song be returning to Doctor Who?

I’m so attached to that character. I never expected her to grow and develop in the way she has. You never know whether she’s going to be hard-ass or good. As long as Steven Moffat has storylines that include her, I will always say yes.

If you were in charge of the BBC, what would you commission?

More Panorama. It’s an enormous shame that there’s not that ambition to produce really good current affairs any more.

What attracted you to the comic book series Arrow?

Like River Song, my character in Arrow isn’t necessarily who she appears to be. Dinah walked away from her marriage after the death of her daughter, and suddenly reappears with the conviction that her daughter is still alive. You don’t know if it’s real or if she’s a crackpot.

You’re often cast as tough cookies – is that important to you?

It’s just happened that way. I’m tall, I’m big-boned so I never got to play Shakespearean heroines like Ophelia or Juliet; I was never offered that kind of role. But I’m not complaining.


Alex Kingston joins the cast of Arrow on Monday at 8:00pm on Sky1