Ingrid Oliver holds a fairly unique distinction among Doctor Who guest stars, with the actor – who played UNIT scientist Osgood during various episodes of the BBC sci-fi drama – starring alongside no less than four different Time Lords during her time TARDIS-adjacent.
“A lot of Doctors, yeah,” Oliver laughs now. “Matt Smith, David Tennant, Peter Capaldi… and John Hurt!”
First popping up in 2013 anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, Oliver’s Osgood is presented as a true fan of the Doctor in-universe, who gets sucked into a Zygon plot to take over the world that’s followed up in later episodes like Death in Heaven and The Zygon Invasion/Inversion. From her first appearance, she’s been a fan-favourite and, after six years, Whovians can now see her in action again in a new adventure.
Well, sort of. You see, Oliver is reprising her role not for a new episode but for a Doctor Who mobile game called The Lonely Assassins, which sees players forced to dodge Weeping Angels in Wester Drumlins and solve puzzles while Osgood assists from afar.
“It is a Found Phone game, so you play it on your mobile,” Oliver told RadioTimes.com.
“Well, you can play it, I think, on your PC as well. But maybe for maximum enjoyment, it’s best to play it on your phone, because then you feel like you’re actually doing the thing that the game is about.
“You find a phone, and then you interact with it, and interact with the characters to try to solve this mystery. I’m not a big gamer, but I like these sort of games, escape room games and so on, that you can do on your phone.
“And the Weeping Angels – as an adult, the Weeping Angels 100 per cent are my favourite alien. I think they’re brilliant. I was so hoping I’d get to work with them.
“So I immediately got what this was. And also, frankly, it just gave me the chance to play Osgood again, so I was more than up for it.”
Of course, Oliver has continued to keep the character alive in various Big Finish audio dramas, but this was the first time she’d played Osgood in live-action for some time – and, in fact, she was surprised by just how close to real Who filming it was.
“It wasn’t until actually almost just a few days before I went, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to Wales. It’s not a studio,” she said.
“We’re actually filming on the sets of Blink and Wester Drumlins, and the BBC had provided my actual costume – my full costume – which was so lovely. And that was a total surprise.
“I was wearing not just an Osgood-adjacent costume, but it was actually the costume, down to the ink stains on the pocket which were still there, and the glasses, and the inhaler that was in the pocket. It was like it had been in a dusty warehouse somewhere, and it had been complete since the last time I filmed and had been brought out again for this.”
She added: “I took a couple of selfies in the bathroom in full costume because I was very excited.”
Altogether, The Lonely Assassins was something of a Doctor Who homecoming for Oliver – though she’s still hoping that one day she can go even further and make her return in the main series. In fact, she can’t imagine who wouldn’t jump at the chance to come back.
“There’s not many people that wouldn’t,” she told us. “I think everyone would!
“It’s such a brilliant job. It’s one of the few jobs where you’re on a set and you’re in an alien lair, and you go, ‘This is properly what I imagined filmmaking would be as a child growing up.’
“That’s exactly what I thought it was going to be. And it’s rare to have those moments, particularly with sci-fi because you’re creating completely different worlds. As a kid, it’s what I imagined acting to be. So I definitely would go back. It’s such a brilliant show.”
And of course, she wouldn’t be averse to adding a new Doctor to her tally of team-ups.
“Jodie’s Doctor is so funny and witty and high energy,” Oliver said. “I think Osgood would be quite intimidated, probably. Because she’s not the most socially at-ease person, Osgood.
“I think it’d be quite funny. I think it’d be a really funny dynamic, actually, and quite interesting to watch. Let’s see what happens. I mean, let’s do it. Let’s do it!”
The campaign for the grand Osgood return starts here.
Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is available now on iOS, Google Play and Steam.