Your first day at a new place of work is always a bit nerve-racking – always fraught with the anxious danger of saying or doing something embarrassing, and making a terrible first impression on your new colleagues. And it seems Doctor Who is no different.
Just ask the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, whose first day on the job entailed making a memorable first impression on co-star Mandip Gill, who plays new companion Yasmin Khan.
“Jodie really helped my experience [on my first day],” Gill tells RadioTimes.com, “because she came into my trailer, and she said ‘Oh I’ve bought you a present!’ And I was like ‘Oh my God, you’re so cute!’ She was like, ‘A Keepy-cup! So we can take it on set with us and it won’t spill.’ And she turned it upside down and all of her coffee came out.”
“I’d not put the lid on!” explains Whittaker. “I went ‘This is really environmentally friendly guys, it can be put on set because no-one cares, you know for the art department it’s not disrespectful.’ And I went like that [she mimics turning the Keepy-cup upside down] and the lid weren’t on. But it’s her trailer, so I weren’t that bothered.”
Speaking to RadioTimes.com about the first day of shooting, showrunner Chris Chibnall says that he threw the cast in “at the deep end” with a ‘multi-tasking’ scene, which made both Gill and Whittaker nervous.
“I was sh***ing myself,” Whittaker says. “It’s always terrifying to do your first ever take. My first ever take on Broadchurch was a tracking wide that ended up in tracking close-ups of being told that Danny Latimer had been killed in our sitting room. And that was day one of our entire family. And I think that is an amazing learning experience for any actor. Because when it’s something as harrowing as that, that’s what it’s like. You can’t pre-empt it. It happens, and it’s got to take you by surprise as much as it possibly can do as an actor, cos it isn’t real.
“So that sense of responsibility, and you need to be honest and truthful, feels weighted with 55 years of history, and people probably going ‘what’s she gonna do?’ And so there’s also the natural nerves you have of any job you’re doing that you’re passionate about, and the responsibility of those shoes to fill. And I’m absolutely lying if I I said I didn’t feel it. But once you’ve done your first set-up of your first scene, and they move on from the first set-up, and it’s tattooed on film forever… you’re like ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.'”
“I was nervous!” adds Gill. “I’ve worked quite a lot so I weren’t like ‘Oh God I’m nervous on set today, I’m nervous because I’m filming Doctor Who.’ Just general nervous. But I’ve known [co-star Tosin Cole] quite a while, and I was doing a scene with him. And then I looked up at the camera guy and I’d worked with him, and he went [thumbs up]. And I thought ‘I’m in safe hands, I can do everything they’re asking me to do.’ You know, I can multi-task now. Which is what I needed to do, but I’m not telling you any more…”
Doctor Who series 11 premieres on BBC1 on 7th October