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Kiss from you know Who

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2007-03-25 Sunday Express.jpg


Freema Agyeman steps into Billie Piper's shoes for the new series of Dr Who and gets steamy straight away, says DAVID STEPHENSON

FIRST, the confusing bit: Dr Who's new assistant is a doctor. Well, a trainee one, anyway. New star Freema Agyeman has taken over the role vacated by Billie Piper in the new series of Dr Who, which begins next Saturday on BBC1. Fans will be relieved to know that she does it with some style. She's sassy, sexy and funny, and should be a big hit with viewers.

The first episode of the third series has many echoes of Rose, the former assistant, but Agyeman carries the responsibility very lightly. If she's nervous, she's certainly not showing it.

"Hand on heart, I didn't really feel the burden of that, no. And looking back on it, I would have to say that the characters are not that dissimilar. There are certain aspects that the Doctor is always going to look for in an assistant, and one of them is that you can't afford to be a wallflower. So when you put all of those together, you're going to get a happy-go-lucky bolshy kind of person, and that's Martha. The comedy is still there, too, but there are differences as well."

So similar are the characters that the Time Lord seems to spend some of the first episode pining for his former companion.

"Billie did an amazing job," says Agyeman at the London launch, "and Rose is a phenomenal character, who was taken into the nation's hearts, and rightfully so. But that's exactly what Russell [T Davies, the writer] did. It wasn't simply out of the old and in with the new. It's lovely that she's not forgotten, and is actually mentioned

throughout the entire third series. People will not forget her overnight, but I didn't want to spend the whole time worrying about that. I can look back now and say that I had a great time doing it. Now that it's going out there I will worry!"

The 27-year-old, who has a property developer boyfriend she has been seeing for a year, is excited by the prospect of stardom but not overtaken by it.

So relaxed is she, that there is a danger that her fresh presence may eclipse the profile of David Tennant by the series' end. It certainly did during

the post-screening question and answer session. She says there were many "pinch-me moments" during filming. "There were moments like that all the way through. It's now a year on since I got the part, and that in itself is still amazing, I'm still having to pinch myself. I'm still just buzzing on adrenaline. It's brilliant.

"The first scenes I shot involved just running down corridors. Then David came on the set, and it has been great fun ever since. When he's there, it's easier to work because of his energy. He's superb."

And what does she think of the final product? "It's very weird doing a lot of scenes in front of a green screen. In the first one that I did, I had to stare out at the 'moon', which, of course, wasn't there. You can feel a bit silly, but it gets easier. When I finally saw it on the big screen, like here in the cinema, it completely blew me away"

Unlike with the character of Rose, there's sexual tension from the off in the third series. Not only do they kiss within the first episode, but Martha also resuscitates the Doctor with the kiss of life. And

then, in the second episode, the time traveller and his companion find themselves in the same bed.

"Their relationship does change, and it's an interesting journey that they go through. He does influence her. He's the teacher and she's the student. He thinks he might not need anybody, but clearly he does."

The series catapulted Billie Piper to stardom. She is now acting in the West End and has starred recently in Mansfield Park on ITV1. Is Agyeman prepared for the onslaught of publicity that will surround her appearance as the Doctor's assistant?

"I wasn't even prepared for walking through the door tonight! You're told that your life is going to change, but I have no basis for comparison. I don't know how to prepare for that. If it carries on the way it has been going, it will be great. Everyone has been very nice to me. The fans especially have been really warm and welcoming, which has made it easier. But whatever is coming, I'm ready for it."

Doctor Who, BBC1, Saturday, 7pm.

Caption: OH, DOCTOR: The Time Lord (David Tennant) quickly gets to grips with his new assistant Martha (Freema Agyeman), left

BILLIE PIPER, right, is many things: pop star, celebrity, icon, Whovian, but period drama actress? I think not. Mansfield Park (ITV1, Sunday) was the first drama in the channel's much-awaited Jane Austen series, but Dr Who's former assistant just didn't look right. She was far too 21st century. While I'd rather watch any Jane Austen than none, this "reduced" version was flat and uninspiring. There still has to be a reason for doing period drama, not just, "we've got Billie Piper signed up". Let's hope the next two dramas, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, prove me wrong.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Stephenson, David (2007-03-25). Kiss from you know Who. Sunday Express p. 67.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Stephenson, David. "Kiss from you know Who." Sunday Express [add city] 2007-03-25, 67. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Stephenson, David. "Kiss from you know Who." Sunday Express, edition, sec., 2007-03-25
  • Turabian: Stephenson, David. "Kiss from you know Who." Sunday Express, 2007-03-25, section, 67 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Kiss from you know Who | url= | work=Sunday Express | pages=67 | date=2007-03-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Kiss from you know Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024}}</ref>