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Feature: Doctor Who (2000s)
Noel Clarke was one of the cornerstones of the new series of Doctor Who, taking the viewer with him on Mickey’s journey from unspectacular everyman to save-the-day hero.
It’s mid-November, and Noel Clarke has just returned home from shooting scenes for the second season of Doctor Who. In Cardiff, work is underway on the eagerly awaited two-parter that marks the return of the Cybermen; in London, the publicity machine is slipping into high gear for The Christmas Invasion, the 60-minute special that marks David Tennant’s proper début as the Doctor. Broadcast in a peak BBC1 slot on Christmas Day, the special is testimony to the Corporation’s well-founded faith in the series – but one wonders if its cast and crew feel a tremendous pressure to deliver in the ratings?
“For me personally, no,” the actor tells Starburst. “I’m just there to do what I do. I don’t think the BBC has to worry about that any more, in terms of what ratings the show will get. I think it’s proven that it has recaptured its old fans, and new fans and kids are watching it. They’ve got that pretty much locked down now.”
The Christmas Invasion sees the TARDIS returning to Rose’s council estate, but the Doctor is suffering from the aftermath of his regeneration and his companion is attempting to come to terms with the changes in her best friend. As Rose prepares to enjoy the festive season with her mum Jackie (Camille Coduri) and ex-boyfriend Mickey (Clarke), an alien force is stirring – the Sycorax are attacking and even the most harmless festive icon could now be deadly…
“It’s going to be scary,” promises Clarke. “The Sycorax are going to scare the kids, and the Christmas Special is going to set the tone for the new series. I think in the first season they weren’t really sure where they could take it, but now they can push the envelope of what’s allowed in that timeslot.”
That’s surprising news for those of us expecting a fun, creature-filled romp like Aliens of London (but with tinsel). Are we talking chills to the degree of last season’s World War II tale The Empty Child?
“It’ll be as scary as that,” Clarke says, “but in a different way.”
The Christmas Invasion shares the same director as Steven Moffat’s acclaimed two-parter; it was shot in Cardiff and on location in London back in July, with evil zombie Santa Clauses marching through streets festooned with decorations.
“It was slightly odd having all these Christmas decorations up in the middle of July,” notes the 30-year-old actor, “but we did all that stuff with the Santas on night shoots, so essentially it was as cold as it would be in December anyway. You kind of forgot that it was July – it could have been 4:30 on a December afternoon, but it was three in the morning on a July night.”
by David Richardson
Read the full interview and more on the new 2006 season in
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