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Feature: Doctor Who (2000s)

How it begins…

Actress Freema Agyeman gives Starburst a sneak peek into the third season of Doctor Who as the Time Lord’s new companion…

Last night Freema Agyeman was in Cardiff filming Doctor Who until 3am. Today she’s been caught up in a publicity whirlwind: an extensive photo shoot in London for a glamour magazine, topped off with a meeting with Starburst in the bar of a top London hotel. And she’s full of energy, chatting with the excitement of someone who still can’t quite take in the fact that she’s been given the role of Martha Jones, the new companion in the Time Lord’s travels.

“It’s hard work,” she admits, “but it’s really fruitful and it kind of feels like playtime as well. And you know you’re going to have a wonderful product at the end so I couldn’t be in a better place right now. I’m really happy to be a part of this team.”

If Agyeman has concerns about taking over from Billie Piper, she doesn’t show them. Nor should she – the actress is, after all, the 23rd female companion in the Doctor’s life, and we long-term fans know that the show always endures changes in cast, and usually benefits from a sense of revitalization.

Martha enters the series in the third season opener Smith & Jones, a trainee medical doctor who couldn’t be more different to Rose Tyler. She’s a little older, wiser, more independent and, as Agyeman reveals, the arrival of the Time Lord doesn’t so much transform her life as reroute it.

What was the first day like on set? “They really eased me in,” she says. “They were so sweet and supportive every step of the way that I wonder if that was orchestrated somewhere. It was a lovely bridge, before we started filming, to do a read through because David [Tennant] was there, representatives from every department were there and Doctor Who Confidential was there. It was a chance to meet everybody.

“Then the first day was without David and without dialogue – just feeling a presence on set. The last job I did before that was the previous Doctor Who the year before [Agyeman had a supporting role as Adeola in Army of Ghosts]. I hadn’t done any acting between the two. That first day was about feeling myself back in and remembering what it’s like to be on a set, let alone the Doctor Who set. It was a really calm day of running around and Moon acting!”

Indeed, in her first story Martha takes a trip to the Moon when her entire hospital is swept away by a race of alien warriors known as the Judoon. Judging by the scenes in the season trailer, it’s not a comfortable journey, as she and a colleague are seen thrown around by a seismic force…

“That was so much fun,” she smiles. “Sometimes you have to pretend that you’re being flung around, and that’s fine. Sometimes the camera will do the shaking and sometimes they’ll help you with other things shaking.”

by David Richardson

Read the full interview and much more on the new season of Doctor Who in
Starburst #348

Doctor Who © BBCtv
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #348, see below for ordering options
Starburst #348
April 2007
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