The end may be nigh for Doctor Who spin-off The Robots, but its stars Nicola Walker and Claire Rushbrook are game to reprise their roles on television.


Unforgotten star Walker has played medical technician Liv Chenka in Big Finish's series of Doctor Who audio plays since 2011, later fronting spin-off The Robots opposite Rushbrook as Liv's sister Tula.

That series – which sees the pair come up against the titular antagonists of 1977 TV story The Robots of Death – is drawing to a close with its upcoming sixth volume, but have we heard/seen the last of Liv and Tula?

"I'd love to," Walker told when asked about continuing their story on TV. "But I don't think we can because I'm pretty sure Claire's already been in the Doctor Who universe on television. I think there'd be uproar."

Indeed, Rushbrook played Ida Scott in 2008 two-parter The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit – though it'd be far from the first time that an actor has returned to Doctor Who in a different role.

"I don't think that matters, does it?" said Rushbrook of her previous outing. "I mean, I had a space helmet on for a lot of it – and also it was quite a few years ago so I have changed. Yeah, I'm sure it'd be fine!"

"OK, great – let's do it!" said Walker. "Can you tell someone we want to do that?"

Though she'd be open to a guest role in the television series, Walker added: "The truth is, we get more screen time on radio – if that isn't too much of an oxymoron! We get more screen time on Big Finish shows than we probably ever would in reality – you've got me and Claire hogging the stories, which is kind of lovely."

The Robots, which launched in 2019, follows Liv during a hiatus in her travels with the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) as she returns to her homeworld of Kaldor and is reunited with her estranged sibling.

It was Walker who originally suggested Rushbrook for the part of Tula: "Ken [Bentley, series director] said to me, 'Is there anyone that you would like to put forward? Is there someone who you know you have a good rapport, that you can imagine being Liv's sister?' – and I immediately said Claire Rushbrook.

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"Claire and I have been friends for a very, very long time and we've acted together loads, so it was a fabulous shortcut to getting the intimacy of sisters."

The Robots: Volume 6 will chart the Chenka sisters' last hours together on Kaldor, with Walker describing the series' final instalments as "completely brilliant".

The worlds of Doctor Who – The Robots: Volume 6
The worlds of Doctor Who – The Robots: Volume 6 Big Finish/Ryan Aplin

"It's got all of the thrill and danger and excitement that you'd expect," echoed Rushbrook. "But it's a continued exploration of their relationship – they don't have time and their characters aren't such that they sit down and talk at length about their feelings... but when we do go there, it's beautifully, subtly written, but absolutely to the point. So there's all of that as well. They're very good scripts."

Comparing the series to Liv's adventures alongside the Doctor, Walker suggested that The Robots has helped her to understand "much more about Liv's interior life, her emotional life".

"Basically this journey for Liv and Tula has been about coming back together as sisters after the death of their father – and as ever with a Doctor Who, yes, they are scripts about robots, but of course they're scripts about human relationships and at the heart of it is this breakdown they had after their father died and how they they responded to his death in very different ways, like you do when you grieve. So that's been the best thing for me.

"When you're travelling with the Doctor, it's really about what you're facing and how you're going to cope with it and you're saving the world. With me and Tula, we're saving our relationship – and the world, it turns out – but we're trying to find our way to each other again."

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The Worlds of Doctor Who – The Robots: Volume 6 will be released in April and is available to pre-order for £19.99 (collector’s edition CD box set + download) or £16.99 (download only).

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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