Suranne Jones (Coronation Street) guest stars as Idris in this week’s episode of Doctor Who, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’; the long-awaited story written by fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman.
Watch the trailer…
The Doctor receives a distress signal from an old friend. Could there really be another living Time Lord out there? Hopes raised, he follows the signal to a junkyard planet sitting upon a mysterious asteroid in a Bubble universe, populated by a very strange family. The Doctor, Amy and Rory are given the warmest of welcomes by Auntie, Uncle and Nephew. But the beautiful and insane Idris greets them in a more unusual fashion – what is she trying to tell the Doctor? As the Doctor investigates, he unwittingly puts his friends in the gravest danger.
‘The Doctor’s Wife’ airs at 6.30pm on Saturday 14th May 2011 on BBC One. CultBox caught up with Suranne to find out more…
SPOILER WARNING FOR ‘THE DOCTOR’S WIFE’…
How did you get involved with this episode of Doctor Who?
“Have you seen it? What did you think? I’ve not seen it yet, I’m dying to see it! I’d done a Sarah Jane Adventures and I just got a call saying ‘would you fancy doing a Doctor Who?’. The character they wanted for this… they wanted someone wild. Apparently Neil Gaiman said ‘Suranne Jones is odd; beautiful but strange looking, and quite funny’ – so they went for me!”
Did Neil Gaiman give any tips on how he wanted you to play Idris?
“Well, no, I read as me in the read-through and they said ‘we’re going to neutralise you a bit’, because they didn’t want me to be a Northerner. They didn’t want to make the character from anywhere, but they didn’t want me to have a standard accent. They wanted me to be kinda like the Doctor.
“They wanted me to be the embodiment of the TARDIS put into this Victorian party girl who was trying to figure out how to work the body, who was also copying the Doctor – so when they were like ‘can you just do that for us?’, I was like ‘right, okay…’. But hopefully it works; the only thing she can see to mimic is the Doctor.”
The junkyard planet looks amazing – how much of it was a set and how much was added with CGI?
“I’m not sure if I can really say as I’ve not seen it, sorry! All I can say is that we filmed it in a quarry in Wales and we had to start at 5 in the afternoon, then I was getting in at 7 in the morning. So I was watching Daybreak or whatever as I was coming in after being in a freezing cold quarry all night. They created a world within the quarry that looked beautiful when it was lit in the middle of the night, but what I was told is that when I was pointing things out in this quarry, they’ve spent a lot of money on expanding this world. I’ve been told that it looks great.
“”Have you seen the bit where we’re building a TARDIS and then fly it? Then we were just in green screen and they were shouting ‘now there’s a meteor coming at you and there’s this and that’, so I was just like ‘okaaay’. What’s interesting is that your imagination really takes over. Me and Matt had a lot of fun together and I hope that comes across as well.”
Would you like to return to Doctor Who as Idris?
“I’ve been txting Matt to ask how it’s all going as it’s such a long shoot and he txt back saying ‘ah, we miss you, come back!’, but because the body of Idris dies and the soul goes back into the TARDIS, I’m not sure how she could come back – unless she was frozen in a chamber in the TARDIS and the TARDIS wants to go into her again, but I don’t know how it could work!
“Also, the love affair that kinda develops is motherly but also as friends. Obviously River Song is the woman in his life – if there was one – so I think Idris is just a one-off sadly.”
You’ve now appeared in both Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Would you like to complete the set and appear in Torchwood too?
“Snog John Barrowman? I’ve done it off-screen so I might as well do it onscreen, yeah!”