Former Casualty actor Will Thorp starred in Doctor Who’s second series as possessed archaeologist Toby Zed in ‘The Impossible Planet’ and ‘The Satan Pit’. He has now read two new Doctor Who audiobooks – CultBox caught up with Will to find out more…
Can you tell us a bit about the two new Doctor Who audiobooks that are read by you?
“The first is called ‘Forever Autumn’, it’s written Mark Morris, and is a spooky Halloween story in an American town – it’s a strange adventure with lots of weirdy Halloween stuff! The second one, ‘Sick Building’, is written by Paul Magrs and is a fantasy. It’s about a family who own a planet, and a huge monster starts eating the planet – cue The Doctor and Martha!”
Were you nervous about doing the voices of Martha and The Doctor?
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, no. You’ve got to make a choice doing something like these – either you do impressions of the actors’ voices or you just try to capture the essence of the characters. I think the latter’s the best way to go, especially as an actor. The Doctor’s lines were really fun to do!”
Do you know if David Tennant and Freema Agyeman have heard your take on their voices?
“I don’t know, I imagine David Tennant is probably too busy really!”
You played the character of Toby Zed in a two-part story in Doctor Who’s second series in 2006 – how did you feel when you were cast as Toby?
“It was great, to be part of such a big successful show, I was very happy! It’s one of those shows where everyone working on it is just really positive.”
Were you a Doctor Who fan as a kid?
“Yeah, I was a huge fan, I loved Doctor Who. I think all kids from my generation did! I grew up with Colin Baker and Peter Davison as The Doctor, and I can vaguely remember Tom Baker too.”
Did you audition specifically for that part or had you tried out for any other parts on Doctor Who before?
“I didn’t actually meet them before I got the part. I was sent the two scripts and was just told “they want you to do it”. As you can imagine, I didn’t even read that much of the scripts before saying I’d do it!”
How long did possessed Toby’s make-up take to put on?
“It took about three hours, it was a long time. Each tattoo was put on individually and there were the contact lenses as well. Everyone was getting on set at about 8am, and I was there at 5am to have all the make-up put on! We had to do it about four times I think. They try to schedule things to get those bits all done at once, but there were stunts I had to do as well. And there was the underwater section at Pinewood for when I’m floating. That was the first time I’d done anything like that, it was quite surreal! You’re there six metres underwater surrounded by scuba divers and you can hear the director shouting through these big speakers underwater.”
I guess a lot of the effects were added afterwards – was that the first time you’d worked with CGI?
“It was a new experience, yeah. It definitely makes watching the end product even more exciting, cos it looks so different to what was there when you filmed it.”
Did you find it hard to imagine what would be added in afterwards?
“It’s what you do as an actor really. The best acting is when you’re just pretending. It was quite hard at times, like when the space station got hit and is shaking, as obviously it was completely still and we were just told to fall over everywhere, it did feel a bit like old Star Trek, though hopefully it looked better than that!”
Did you get kids being scared of you at all after those episodes aired?
“Yeah, it’s amazing actually, I did Casualty for two years and yet I get recognised so much more just from those two episodes of Doctor Who! A few kids have been scared, but not my own kids fortunately.”
How does it feel to have two of your own action figures? One of Toby possessed and one of Toby un-possessed…
“I’ve only seen the possessed one, I didn’t know there was another one! I didn’t even know they existed at all until someone came up to me and asked me to sign one. It’s cool though, it’s not every day you get your own action figure made! It looks more like Prince Harry than me though.”
Do you miss Casualty?
“I had a really good time on Casualty, there was a great cast and crew, but I’m pleased I left. I’m pleased I’ve been able to do lots of varied work since, it’s good as an actor to be creating something new.”
Do you still watch the show now?
“No, I don’t really, that’s bad I know, but I just watched it when I was in it! I’ve got a couple of kids now so I don’t really watch much TV by the time they’ve gone to bed.”
What was it like working with former-Doctor Colin Baker in a stage production of Strangers On A Train in 2006?
“That was great, Colin’s such a lovely guy, we’ve stayed good friend actually. It’s strange, when you work on telly you get used to working with famous people, but I was really quite star-stuck when I met him!”
What’s your favourite episode of Doctor Who?
“The two-part story with the scarecrows (‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family Of Blood’). I like the ones that take everyday stuff and make it a bit weird and scary. The gas mask ones (‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’) are classics now too.”
Favourite monster or villain?
“I’m a bit biased, but I really like the Ood! I’m glad they’re coming back next series, I grew quite attached to them!”
“Again I’m a bit biased maybe, but I loved Billie Piper.”
“David Tennant, he’s everything a Doctor should be, he really is.”
Last film you saw at the cinema?
“It’s probably about a year ago now, that’s really embarrassing, it was Casino Royale. I really want to see There Will Be Blood though.”
Last album you bought?
“The new Arctic Monkeys album.”
Last DVD you bought:
“Ratatouille, the latest Disney Pixar film, my son’s really into all of those.”