Exclusive interview: Samuel Anderson chats about ‘Doctor Who’ finale

In a break from rehearsing his new play, State Red, Doctor Who star Samuel Anderson gave CultBox some of his time to answer our questions about the life and death of Danny Pink.



Doctor Who Dark Water Danny


So, with different writers and directors coming in for every episode of Doctor Who, is the onus on you take ownership of the character?

“Yeah, I think so. I mean…it was quite weird working with directors that you didn’t audition for. They all come in having seen a bit of your work and kind of…edge towards that, see what your strengths or weaknesses are. But yeah, from the beginning the onus is on you to develop the character and keep it consistent.”


Danny’s very quiet in an otherwise loud show. How much of that comes from you as a person, you as an actor, and the scripts?

“Um…I think…I think it’s a bit of both. The writers try to cater to what you can do and how you are a little bit, and also it’s kind of…it’s kind of the other side of the Doctor.

“The Doctor’s the loud one, the mad one, the eccentric kind of character. You can’t have too many shouty characters of else it becomes unbalanced, also he’s (Danny) more of your everyday man, more of a silent, strong…and we refer back to – in the last episode we refer back to his time as a soldier – not needing to see all these other wonders. Having seen that, I’m calm. I appreciate the little things. “


Doctor Who Clara Danny


Were you a big fan of Doctor Who as a kid? You got the ‘80s where it was tailing off a bit in terms of public affection…

“Yeah…I mean, I remember whispers of it. My age group’s kind of in that dead space of Doctor Who…”


Yeah, it was repeated in the ‘90s, but it wasn’t a huge thing in the playgrounds, whereas now it’s a big deal…

“It’s a massive…yeah. This week it’s been half term, I’m rehearsing a play, and nipping out to Tesco…I’m getting funny looks from teenagers, like a few looks of disbelief going ‘Is that Danny Pink?!’”


Has that happened a lot?

“Not really, um…I’ve kind of kept busy since filming stopped so I haven’t seen too much. I play in a band…Kinetika Bloco. It was quite funny, just before I started rehearsing with them, just before the series started…I didn’t see them for a few weeks when the series started then we all played together at Bestival, that was quite funny when they got on the coach, they were all like ‘You didn’t say anything!’”


Doctor Who Danny


How do you find keeping the show’s secrets?

“It’s quite fun to do…normally, y’know, you feel a bit silly keeping secrets, but it’s part and parcel, it’s part of the game. It’s quite fun to do, yeah!

“I haven’t got any preview copies! The only bits I’ve seen ahead of time is when I’ve done ADR, so you know more than I do! So what happens?”


It just cuts back to Tom Baker and it was all a dream!

“Hah! That’s the wonderful thing with the Time Lords…you can kinda get away with a lot. They could probably have the dream before Tom Baker got into bed.”


So, ‘Dark Water’…how did you find the depiction of death? It’s incredibly unsentimental.

“There is something brutally honest about it. If you’re…an atheist, that’s it isn’t it? And the Doctor is very…y’know, very much an atheist in his views. But at the same time, it isn’t unsentimental in that it carries on; it’s more of the same.

“It’s brutally honest, and you can’t be honest and unsentimental at the same time. Honesty is the most sentimental you can be, really.”


Throughout the series, Clara and Danny’s relationship has mainly taken place off-screen. Do you go with the scripts or fill in the gaps?

“Bit of both, a bit of both. I mean, you can see how uncomfortable he is [in ‘Listen’], it’s a very awkward date, but by [‘In the Forest of the Night’] they’re arguing and that shows…you can become comfortable with someone when you can have a row that doesn’t lead to anywhere, just bickering.”


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