Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

On set with... Freema Agyeman

From The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
Radio Times logo 2000s.jpg
coverage of series 3, 2007

  1. Labour of love (7 April)
  2. Cat and Doc (14 April)
  3. The Thinking Man's Dalek (21 April)
  4. Enemy of the States (28 April)
  5. Who's scariest monster yet? (5 May)
  6. Burn, baby, burn (19 May)
  7. We're coming to get you! (26 May)
  8. Loving the Alien (2 June)
  9. Hell's Angels (9 June)
  10. And then there were three (16 June)
  11. Master mind (23 June)
  12. On set with... Freema Agyeman (30 June)
  13. Who's on board? (22 December)

coverage of other series
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | Specials | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | S10


The fate of the world is in Martha Jones's hands," says Who supremo Russell T Davies. "The final episode [Last of the Time Lords] is a massive quest, it's very stirring, and there are some very dark moments in amongst the fun. It's Martha's time to pay back everything that the Doctor has done for her, to live up to his faith in, and expectations of, her."

Which is why RT asked Freema Agyeman, who plays the almost qualified medic, to talk us through the season finale. The episode presents a huge challenge for Martha. The Master has plenty of gadgets up his sleeve - though there was one from his days in the classic series that Davies couldn't find room to include: his tissue compression eliminator, which shrunk and killed people.

"I loved that!" Davies enthuses. "But by the end of episode 12, the Master's pulled so many tricks on the Doctor, I thought, 'I can't include that as well, or he'll need a helluva big jacket!' But I loved that a gun that turns people into dolls."

Fans of the Jon Pertwee years will also recall with fondness those story conclusions when Roger Delgado's original Master would escape by disguising some unconscious figure as himself, complete with Delgado-resembling rubber mask. Great times.

"Sadly, no rubber masks," confirms Davies. "That's in keeping with the fact that John Simm's incarnation of the Doctor's nemesis is thoroughly contemporary. Previous Masters seemed to appear on a whim, merely to thwart the Doctor with a throaty cackle. This one's plans have been far more carefully thought through. He's installed himself as prime minister, for a start.

Once I'd thought of him as the prime minister, the story really clicked," adds Davies. "We built up a small mythology about Britain's PM by having Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones. We've seen people come and go, we've killed a few prime ministers already, and the moment I thought of having an evil PM, I thought, 'That's the key to it!' How much fun would the Master have in that role?!"

And, using the Hollywood model of which Davies is so fond, he gave the dark Time Lord a raison d'être: "Every time Hollywood introduces a villain, you get the origin story, as with Dr Octopus, or Sandman in the latest Spider-Man film So in episode 12 we had a small origin story. And a look at Gallifrey [the Time Lords' home planet]. Oh my God — you get to see Gallifrey!"

But where in previous years it might have been basically a sandpit, this time around, "more special-effects people slaved over that shot than you can imagine. It's absolutely beautiful: the citadel and the mountains and it's snowing and everything. So we had that small, contained origin story, explaining why he's so mad, so driven."

Anyone who saw John Simm as the Master outside the Houses of Parliament last week will have been taken by his smile: an expansive grin, wholly empty, forming ripples of skin that extend from the eyes, which shouts, "Trust me, I'm a politician."

Is this satire? Dare one use the word in Doctor Who? "There's an element of it," says Davies. "As ever with Doctor Who, when we get to politics it's not satire, it's having a laugh. I'm not sure we're ever genuinely satirical; it's just taking modern stuff, using it in the common language and giving people a chuckle at the same time."

And what of the little etymological conceit that has so stirred up the Doctor Who internet chatrooms these past weeks? The fact that the Master's "human" politician name, Mister Saxon, is an anagram of Master No. Six? (Ignoring Derek Jacobi, who only popped up last week, previous Masters have been played by Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley and Eric Roberts. Count 'em.)

Sneaky. "Do you know, I swear... Someone pointed that out to me afterwards and I had no idea!" says Davies. "Although, if you take the word Mister and put a surname on it, you're likely to get an anagram of Master somewhere along the line. But there is a coincidence there. "It's really quite weird."

Already, the new Doctor Who is building its own legend, just as the classic series did back in the 20th century. Davies was looking at his viewing figures the other day, and notes, "We're doing well this series. Our viewing figures for the last week in May are higher than they were for the past two series."

Reputation must be pulling in new devotees. "Yes, there is a slow build, which, considering our figures were lovely anyway, is just great. I'm so happy with it, and the final scenes of John Simm and David Tennant this series are just so brilliant. I love it.

"I know, call me biased. I know it's my job to sit here and hype it up, but if we'd messed it up, I'd have told you I was too busy taking calls to do the interview. I want to hype it up because I want everyone to watch it."

So wait until the end credits wash over fixated eyeballs this Saturday-then start counting the days to the Christmas special.

"That's David, Julian Howarth from the sound department and David's make-up artist, Stuart Bray. That's a typical day on set. It was taken on an airstrip and it was blisteringly cold, but spirits were constantly high."


"Early on we were given camcorders by Doctor Who

Confidential to document the whole experience.

I started off with all the will in the world, but I've got an aversion to technology. David was fantastic, though; he always had it on set. A lot of the DVD extras stuff is his. He's a proper A-grade student?'

"This is in the last week of filming, on a beach at night.

John Barrowman and David finished filming the week before me. The sea's just behind me, and I had to do scenes wading through the water. I remember John said, before he left, in his inimitable charming, cheeky way, 'We'll be thinking of you, Free, when we're tucked up in bed while you're in the sea on a night shoot.'

"It was freezing! I did miss them, but I had the best time. As it was the last week I thought it might be hard, but it was amazing. We were all sad to finish but everyone's spirits were high, so no-one was going to spend the time being miserable. That's my SAS look. Plus wet suit and ten layers of thermal underwear!"

"When Rene Zagger worked with us on Utopia [he played Padra, a non-savage human from the future], he said to David, 'You're the sensible one'; he said to John Barrowman, 'You're the naughty one'; and he said to me, 'You're easily led!' That's all true except for David — just look at that cheeky face! That speaks a thousand words!"

A CHIPPY BIRTHDAY "This was John and David's last night and also John's birthday. They brought out a cake and champagne. It was just a funny, funny night. On the table there were loads of chips. When they first came out they were piping hot. The boys couldn't resist. So in the first take, they ate the chips. Then of course they had to eat during every single take, so by the end the chips were soggy, damp and cold. Their expressions after 'Cut!' were priceless!"


"David's on a harness, and we had a very strong stunt co-ordinator, Tom Lucy. David had to do some gliding across the room. He's been frozen, strung up, blown up — but he never, ever complains."

TORTUREWOOD Is Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) regretting his decision to divert from Torchwood to help the Doctor?


"I have categorically not been sacked from Doctor Who," says Freema Agyeman, dispelling recent tabloid rumours. "There's no truth in them whatsoever and I don't know where they came from. But I'm not permitted to talk about storylines and I can't talk about the next series. I've been gagged and if I do talk about it, then I will be sacked!"


How much fun can you have with a cardboard Dalek? Lots, as you can see from the pictures above! Now it's your turn because r3T has 50 life-size, cutout Daleks to give away.

And if you don't win, you can order one for less than £30 from, or your usual Doctor Who stockist. The cutouts available are the Cyberman, black Dalek Sec and bronze Dalek Caan, Martha and


For your chance to win, tell us how many Daleks escaped at the end of the Evolution of the Daleks episode in the current series. Send your answer, with your name and address, to: Radio Times/

Black Dalek Cutout Draw, Room •

A1102, 80 Wood Lane, London

W12 OTT, to arrive by Friday 13 •

July. The first 50 correct entries drawn after that date will win a black Dalek cutout.


"This was shortly after David [Tennant - yes, that's him!] came on set. I was going, 'Oh my God, you look so sweet and so vulnerable - like a cute little old man.' And he whispered something really lechy. It really cracked me up. I thought, 'That dispels any sweet old man stuff!'"


"This is Colin Teague again. I've worked with so many incredible directors on Doctor Who and with each new one I've thought, 'He's my favourite. Oh no, he's my favourite!' And Colin

is right up there."

II RESPECT YOUR ELDERS "This is Neill Gorton of Millennium FX finishing off David's make-up. When David walked on set the reaction was huge. First there was this stunned silence, then everyone roared with appreciation. Some people couldn't even talk to him properly, saying things such as, 'It's not like it's you I'm talking to'."


"John Simm was an absolute marvel. I remember him doing a scene one day and afterwards he just sat down and went, 'I'm exhausted'. He puts so much in. Both he and David are electric actors, really

compelling to watch. You can feel their energy. A great pairing."

• PLAYING TO THE GALLERY "This is outside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff with director Colin Teague, filming Last of the Time Lords. What you can't see is that behind Colin there are about 200 people watching. It was like doing live theatre as well as TV."


"I look quite serious here. The last two episodes for me, and Martha, are quite intense. It's a distressing scene for her, and I remember really having to concentrate before doing a take."

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Griffiths, Nick (2007-06-30). On set with... Freema Agyeman. Radio Times p. 10.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Griffiths, Nick. "On set with... Freema Agyeman." Radio Times [add city] 2007-06-30, 10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Griffiths, Nick. "On set with... Freema Agyeman." Radio Times, edition, sec., 2007-06-30
  • Turabian: Griffiths, Nick. "On set with... Freema Agyeman." Radio Times, 2007-06-30, section, 10 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=On set with... Freema Agyeman | url= | work=Radio Times | pages=10 | date=2007-06-30 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=On set with... Freema Agyeman | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 April 2024}}</ref>