Doctor Who’s assistant has a date with fellow teacher, Danny Pink, in Saturday’s episode (BBC1, Saturday, Sept 13). But actor Samuel Anderson tells What’s On TV Danny has a big secret…
What do we know about Danny so far?
“We met Danny in episode two and he’s an ex-soldier who has become a maths teacher, and he’s in charge of the Coal Hill School cadets. And he might take quite a fancy to a Miss Clara Oswald. Who wouldn’t? They caught each other’s attention in episode two and by this week’s episode, something has clearly started between them. It’s the first time you see much time between Danny and Clara, the first time you get a measure of their relationship and where it will go…
“They are both a bit unsure. Clara’s spent the last year running around with a mad scientist, one that she can’t have a relationship with because he’s 2000 years old and an alien. It’s quite funny, it’s a very funny episode. It’s a bit of a rom-com, let’s say.”
Is there a kiss between the two?
“A little kiss yes, but it’s Doctor Who so they never go too far! It’s a family show!”
Does Danny get to meet the Doctor?
“Yes, he does go on the TARDIS, but probably not as you might expect. There’s a major surprise about him. It shocked me when I first read it!”
What was it like filming in the TARDIS?
“It was great. Stepping on to that set for the first time is awesome, it’s an incredible work of art. There are the tiniest details that the camera will never see – tiny lights that come on with the smallest switch and so many working parts, it’s like ‘wow’. On day one, you walk in and you try and behave yourself, surrounded by all those knobs and buttons! Jenna [Coleman, who plays Clara] says it took her about two weeks before she started flicking things and pushing buttons. I don’t know how she lasted!”
How was working with the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi?
“It was quite funny, two weeks in he asked me how I was doing, if I was finding my feet, and I said ‘yeah, it’s just weird being the new boy’, and he said ‘Yeah, me too’! He’d only started a couple of weeks before me. To see him working was great. The workload is so huge for him and Jenna, in nearly every scene. He’s one of the best acting talents we have in this country. It doesn’t really get better than Peter.”
Were you a fan of the show as a kid?
“Yeah, it was one of those things you enjoy, but maybe I never understood what it was about – just that there was this guy running around helping people. That’s probably all you need to get from it as a kid at that age, I guess I was about 10 when I watched it. It was a cool show, lasers and aliens. But the depth that Steven Moffatt is taking it to now, I was blown away by where the writing goes, some of the philosophies and arguments that he’s dealing with in the story.
“It took me an hour to become a fan, from the first read-through. There are subjects in there that me and my friends argue about all the time. I can’t wait for the next episode to come out. I want to hear and see more!
Hadn’t you worked with Jenna before, on Emmerdale?
“Yes. We were there at the same time – I was policeman Ross Kirk and Jenna was Jasmine Thomas – but I only had one storyline with her which was actually both of our exit storylines. She framed me for murder! We were familiar with each other so that was nice for me going into it, knowing her. It was part of the audition process. They had a ‘chemistry read’ for me, they said ‘you need to get the chemistry with Jenna right’ and I thought, ‘Jenna Louise Coleman, happy days!’ One less thing to be nervous about.”
Wasn’t it awkward, filming with someone you know?
“No, not really When I was a young actor I found kissing scenes horrifying, my word. I must’ve missed that lesson at drama school. But now, no, it’s not just part of my job.”
Partners of companions don’t generally have a good track record on the show, they tend to be a bit doomed…
“I know! That, or they turn out to be a hero. It can go either way. It might get worse, it might get better. I’m in for seven episodes.”
Oh, so you’re travelling with the Doctor then?
“Hmm… Erm… well…. You see Danny in the TARDIS quite a bit, but he doesn’t do too much travelling. In the end it’s a show about the Doctor and his companion – not Doctor Who and Clara and the companion’s companion!”
Are you prepared for the fandom element?
“I don’t think I am. I don’t think Doctor Who fans hang out in the kind of places I do, although I’ve been very surprised! They pop up everywhere. I don’t think you can be prepared for it, going by what everybody tells me. My sister is a massive DW fan. She has all the books and DVDs. My dad too, He’s a bit of a sci-fi geek and Doctor Who got him started. All of his favourite elements of the show, Doctor Who ‘things’, are things that my character encounters. I’m not allowed to say what, but I can’t wait for him to see it!”