Actor Matthew Waterhouse played classic Doctor Who companion Adric from 1980 to 1982.
A young native of the planet Alzarius, which exists in the parallel universe of E-Space, Adric was the youngest male companion so far in the series and appeared in 40 episodes with the Fourth and Fifth Doctors.
Matthew’s autobiography, Blue Box Boy: A Memoir of Doctor Who, is out now.
Here he kindly answers some questions sent in readers of CultBox and The Doctor Who Hub…
Christina Schlupp asks: Was working on set with the Doctor as exciting as watching from home as a fan?
“It was unimaginably different; a whole new ball game as the saying goes! But working on the series was tremendously, wildly exciting, and strange too.”
Kara Riley asks: What was your favourite episode to film, and why?
“The most straightforwardly fun to make was ‘Black Orchid’. Out in the country with a terrific group of actors, fun in the evenings. Oh, and the wonderful Janet [Fielding] doing the Charleston! I also remember ‘The Keeper of Traken’ as being a very happy production.”
Annemarie Spiegel asks: What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your time on the show?
“Don’t sleep in TV centre dressing rooms overnight… they are very cold!”
Elizabeth Carter asks: What are your favourite Doctor Who monsters?
Katja Brown asks: Do you think there should be more alien companions?
“The more the merrier.”
Cydney Bittner asks: Is there a Doctor or companion from the modern era of Doctor Who that you would have liked to work with?
“All of them. A bland answer, I know, but true.”
Melissa Thompson asks: How did it differ working with Tom Baker and Peter Davidson?
“It differed greatly. Tom had been a great hero of mine and I love his Doctor, but he has been honest in the years since about how difficult he could be. This is not to say that working with him was not sometimes fun, it quite frequently was, but, as is well known, he was not an easy person.
“Peter is a classic example of a skilled professional actor of equable temperament! Incidentally, I think the Fifth Doctor’s period adds up to one of the finest three years of the entire series. (And it turns out Mark Gatiss is a huge fan of Peter’s era, especially the first season.)”
Lois Seymour: How shocked were you to find the tension between Tom Baker and Lalla [Ward]?
“It took a bit of getting used to…!”
George Stephens: Your memoir ‘Blue Box Boy’ is written entirely in the third person. Do you feel that allowed you to view your experiences with some detachment?
“Yes, I wanted to write an evocative and atmospheric book about making DW, rather than a book about myself, so I thought if I put myself in the third person I would become just one of many characters. The energy and colour in the book come as much from Tom as myself, I think.
“I was thrilled by the reaction of other Doctor Who actors to it, particularly John Leeson, who was around at the same time, and told me how much he liked the book and how fair and non-tabloid he thought it was. “You’re not kicking anyone,” he said.”
Matthew Kresal asks: What was your experience like recording the recent Big Finish audios acting with Peter, Janet and Sarah for the first time since the 1980s? Did you find it easy to find it to channel your inner teenager?!
“It was mega-fun! If I’d known how much fun it would be I might have done Big Finish years ago! Also, the story is very good indeed.
“Of course, I had already channelled my inner teenage for AudioGo’s range of Target books and the audio of Blue Box Boy, so I was sort of half prepared for it. it’s like an extreme form of character acting, which I enjoy.”
Doug asks: What is your happiest moment while being part of Doctor Who?
“Lots. The day I was offered it was unforgettable. And I have never forgotten walking around the TARDIS console in the dark on my first studio day.
“And standing in the rain with Tom et al on the M1 on my birthday, eating soggy cake. And an afternoon in the pub with the writer Johnny Byrne. And lots of others.”
Jason Pryce: What do you think of the casting of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor and what sort of Doctor do you think he’ll be?
“I think he’s one of the fabbest actors in Britain and I know he’ll be great as Doctor Who. I haven’t a clue what his approach will be, because he could make many different choices, but finding out is part of the fun, isn’t it?”
Tatiana Moore: There has been a lot of mileage made in the press regarding John Nathan-Turner after the publication of a recent biography. Did any of the so-called ‘revelations’ surprise you?
“I gave an interview to Richard Marston on the phone for the book and he has sent me a copy but I’m afraid I haven’t got around to it yet so I don’t know what the ‘revelations’ are. If any of them are shocking they didn’t come from me!
“Unless the fact that John was gay is shocking in itself, which seems unlikely, I don’t think there’s actually much scandal around him. I think John’s work for Doctor Who has worn really well. I saw Sylvester’s Dalek story at the BFI recently and thought it was terrific.”
Robert Henderson: Tell us about your novels, Vanitas and Fates, Flowers. We believe you have another in the works – can you tell us anything about it?
“I describe them as ‘metaphysical camp’! They’re all set in a concrete but slightly dreamlike version of New York City – the kind of place where you can encounter a ghost on the streets of Greenwich Village. They’re peopled with larger-then-life characters who still have a close connection to real life.
“I hope they’re funny but there’s also darkness in them. There’s a new one due in late October from my publisher, Head Music, called Precious Liars. It has a larger cast of characters than the earlier ones. My publisher asked me to do an audio version of the complete piece which pleased me immensely, because the earlier audios were edited versions.”
Lucia Craig: Do fans ever quote Adric’s dialogue when they meet you and what do they say most?
“Occasionally. ‘Now I’ll never know if I was right’ comes up most frequently!”
Samule Hunt asks: Would you ever return for a cameo?
What was your favourite Adric moment? Let us know below…