Samuel Anderson wants to return as Orson Pink... and he has a great idea to pitch to Steven Moffat
The former Doctor Who star reflects on his exit in a "blaze of glory" and looks ahead to new film Pleasure Island
It's been nine months since Doctor Who star Samuel Anderson was "sacked in style". Those are his words, not mine, and he has nothing but affection for his time spent on Britain's biggest sci-fi series. "They were such a great team, you can do nothing but wish them the best – beautiful, beautiful people," he tells RadioTimes.com.
"I would love to be back on there, of course. It's one of the best things I've ever done by far."
But reappearing on the show might prove difficult. Anderson's character Danny Pink was killed off not once but twice last December – the second time as a Cyberman – leading to his love interest Clara (Jenna Coleman) bidding a wrenching farewell to her man during a Christmas Day dream. "Steven Moffat put me away in style," he recalls. "I've lost a few jobs in my time but never gone out in such a blaze of glory."
However, that hasn't stopped him thinking up ways to engineer his return. "Maybe in an alternate universe? I wouldn't mind approaching him in a different way. Or maybe just come back as Orson Pink [a descendent of Danny's who appeared in series eight episode Listen] because then it changes the dynamic between him and the Doctor.
"If it's Orson Pink I think the relationship would be totally different because instead of a soldier – which is the kind of person the Doctor can't bear – you've got another scientist who could be quite interesting with their relationship. And then instead of it being a love interest with Clara and Danny, it would be a family affair with grandmother and grandson but at the same age."
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Has he pitched this to Steven Moffat? "I do remind them that Orson is alive. #BringBackOrsonPink."
Regardless of a physical comeback, Anderson reckons the memory of maths teacher Danny will continue to play some sort of role in the show when its ninth series begins this September. "Steven is very clever with the arcs that he writes and I suppose that the relationship with Danny and Clara was integral to how the relationship with Clara and the new Doctor was going to go. I imagine there will be something there [in series nine] for sure."
While he's no longer required to keep Who's secrets – something he says he "loved" doing – Anderson does credit the show with giving him "a lot of confidence" going forward.
"It's such a huge show and responsibility like that – when you get through a good eight months of filming – it just gives you some added confidence. The hard work to that point has been worth it and it's just a great thing to have on your CV when you sit down in an audition or meeting. People can't help but take you a little more seriously."
Since he left the Whoniverse, Anderson's appeared in a play – State Red – which he reveals Peter Capaldi came to see him in during the month-long run at London's Hampstead Theatre. The Doctor even popped backstage afterwards: "there he was, sat with his flat cap on – I think that was him trying to be incognito."
But for those looking to see Anderson back on screens, pay a visit to the cinema this weekend to see Pleasure Island – a new film by writer/director Mike Doxford. Set in Grimsby, it follows soldier Dean as he returns from the army in search of his childhood friend Jess whose struggles as a single mum see her slip under the thumb of a network of thuggish criminals. It's a moody, tense feature in which Anderson provides some light relief as Nate – Dean's friend and the manager of the local amusement arcade. "He's a deadbeat with good morals," he explains. "There's a bit of a hopelessness about him."
Shot entirely on location in the north-east of England, the film – released in cinemas on Friday 14th August – is, in Anderson's words, "a good bit of independent filmmaking".
"It was just one of those films where you think to yourself, if I don't get it, I can't wait to see it. It has a rawness to it without trying too hard."
In the meantime, he's got the fifth series of Sky1's Trollied coming up, and is heading to the west country this autumn to shoot a new comedy – Witless – alongside Him & Her's Kerry Howard and Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall). Although his Saturday evenings are still reserved for new episodes of Doctor Who: "I can't wait." Neither can we.
Pleasure Island is released in cinemas on Friday 14th August and is on DVD and digital downloads from Monday 31st August. Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on 19th September