Doctor Who: Russell T Davies keeps tight lipped about spoilers

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Annette Badland has shared some insight into filming the first ever episode of Russell T Davies’ 2005 Doctor Who revival, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The star, who played the infamous Margaret Blaine, remembered that the team had no idea if fans would “like or despise” the new iteration of the show as they shot the fourth episode entitled Aliens of London.

Annette, 71, who has worked on some of the UK’s biggest television shows over the years, revealed what it was like playing a villainous Slitheen on Doctor Who ahead of renowned head writer Russell’s momentous return to the show.

Asked if she was excited to see Russell make his comeback, the Midsomer Murders star replied: “I certainly am. He’s a god for me.”

“I think he’s wonderful, I think his writing is tremendous, and his energy and his generosity…

“He’s just a big man, you know, in every way. He’s full of heart and he is a writer who can start a line with comedy and end with pathos. I mean, wonderful stuff.

“So I’m a big fan of his and, of course, Doctor Who was regenerated by him. He loved Doctor Who and still loves Doctor Who.”

The actress also reflected on how actors Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, who played early iterations of the Doctor in the revival series, were very keen to do the show justice when it was first getting started.

Speaking about people on the show who were passionate about Doctor Who, she added: “So did Chris. You had people who really, really wanted to get it right.

“Because, you know, I was in the first two episodes that they filmed because they filmed out of order – and they had no idea whether the fans would like it or despise it!

“But they cared a great deal because they were fans themselves. I guess they were tuned in to where it could go and what it could do. It was very exciting.”

Speaking about David, who is returning to the show as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations alongside former on-screen companion Catherine Tate, Annette explained she “wasn’t surprised” when she was announced as Christopher’s successor.

“David is mercurial and wonderful,” she reflected. “I think he’s a fabulous actor and, again, he loves Doctor Who… That tremendous energy he has – and he’s a bright man!”

Annette also went on to share her thoughts on how the public might react to the next Doctor, which we now know to be Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa.

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“The fans don’t like them to begin with,” Annette mused, “… But then they love them!”

Back in May, it was announced Ncuti had been cast in the iconic role as the fourteenth incarnation of the Doctor, succeeding Jodie Whittaker in the role.

Ncuti rose to fame in 2019 when he appeared as Eric Effiong in Netflix’s Sex Education, which earned him a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor in Television and three BAFTA Television Award nominations for Best Male Comedy Performance.

It’s A Sin creator Russell will also take back the reins from showrunner Chris Chibnall, who has overseen Jodie’s time in the T.A.R.D.I.S.

Annette has played plenty of memorable characters on TV over the years, including fan favourite Fleur Perkins in Midsomer Murders since 2019.

She also played Babe Smith in EastEnders up until 2017, when her character put a curse on her family after they threw her out of The Queen Vic.

She has also been busy behind the bar as no-nonsense landlady Mae at the local pub of Richmond Football Club in Apple TV’s award-winning show Ted Lasso.

Her other roles include Mrs. Glenna Fitzgibbons in the first season of Outlander, and Nanny Bingo in the BBC’s hit show Big Boys. 

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