Charlie Baker (‘Doctor Who’) interview

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This weekend sees the first “finale” of the Doctor Who year in the shape of ‘A Good Man Goes To War’, with Rory and The Doctor scouring the universe for a kidnapped Amy Pond.

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Series 6 Episode 7 airs at 6.40pm on Saturday 4th June on BBC One.

Watch the episode’s trailer…

CultBox caught up with actor/comedian and Let’s Dance For Comic Relief 2011 winner Charlie Baker to discuss his role in this highly-anticipated story…

We would imagine that you are best known for winning Let’s Dance For Comic Relief (along with James Thornton), how has that affected your standing in the world of film and television?

“It was a lot of fun and a really big door opener for me. Suddenly, overnight, everyone knows who you are. People know your face and know what you do. It was great for getting me into people’s minds.”

And by that time you already knew about your part in Doctor Who?

“Yeah, I had even filmed it by then. It was nice to know that I had another date with millions on Saturday night to come in few months. It’s where I want to be, doing great TV on a Saturday night.”

Was it daunting to be a part of the show?

“I’m not a huge fan, but I do really enjoy watching it. The read-through [where actors get together with the production team to go through the script] was great. It really rammed home that I was starring in television history – Doctor Who! So many brilliant actors and talent on display.

“I was amazed because there were actors I didn’t recognise and wondered why I don’t know them, as they were so good, and then realised they’re normally covered in make-up or prosthetics. It’s a really fun process.”

How does the script compare to others you’ve been involved in?

“The script, and the scripts in general for Doctor Who are of such a high quality. They’re so rich and deep; and full of such imagination. They are worlds within worlds and it’s no wonder there are so many dedicated fans.

“The acting is great too, but there’s always been strong people involved – look at [Jon] Pertwee and [Tom] Baker, [the Third and Fourth Doctors respectively].”

Were you privy to the cliffhanger?

“Well, we had the script at the read-through so I guess we all knew, but it is possible that Steven [Moffat] had two or three other endings ready for filming. I was a bit lost, but as you meet the other characters it becomes clear and when you see one specific person the jigsaw fits.

“[Steven] Moffat knows where everything fits, though he never writes it down. He says he keeps it all in his head! Probably the safest way. After reading the script it made me go back and watch this series’ episodes to see what it all meant. But I still couldn’t work it out! [Laughs]”

Can you tell us a little about your character in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’?

“Is that what it’s called? I didn’t know that, what was it called before…? [Has a think] Doesn’t matter, I play a guy called The Fat One.”

Is he actually called The Fat One or does he have a proper name?

“Yeah, that’s his name. There’s a line about it in the show too. I’m married to The Thin One. We’re very much like Little and Large [a UK comedy duo from the 1970s] in that we’re a double act. I think this is the first married gay couple in the show. I just played it straight in that sense – it’s a normal friendship.” [We point out that a Series 3 episode called ‘Gridlock’ featured a female married couple.]

If you don’t mind me saying, you’re not fat…

[Laughs] “Thanks, I am a bit overweight, but The Thin One is very thin so it accentuates my size. I also wear clothes two sizes too small but there’s no prosthetics or masks involved. I’m also hoping that my character becomes a Top Trump card – that’s the boyhood dream isn’t it? Like being a Panini football sticker.”

As a comedian you must’ve been keen for some funny lines – do you get any?

“There’s a couple, but it’s mainly in my reactions. Of course, The Doctor gets all the best lines. And Matt’s great, he’s a fantastic comic actor too.”

How was it working with Team TARDIS?

“Well, I know Matt from my time in the National Youth Theatre so it was nice to see him again. I filmed for approximately a week – should be about 10-15 minutes screen-time – with really good people. I hope it ticks all the boxes for fans.”

Any scenes with Matt?

[Pause] “In a way, yes…”

Did the episode meet your expectations of Doctor Who?

“Oh yes, it ticked all the boxes. You want an episode set in space with props and sets that will blow you away. When you see the props, it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

“There’s so much care and love into the making of every aspect of the show that it makes you want to be better. The thought and talent invested makes you want to the best work you can.”

Can you tell us about the monsters in your episode?

“The monsters, though I don’t really want to call them that, are really good. Very scary and it’s a great idea.”

The hooded monks?

“I mean, these guys aren’t Friar Tuck – these are Doctor Who monks! They’ve done such a brilliant job on them that it was quite worrying walking around the set and bumping into them. I have lots of scenes with them with some great interaction.

“They are classic behind-the-sofa baddies that are bound to give kids nightmares. I won’t be letting my four year-old watch it! I thought the Silence were pretty scary but these guys are so much more.”

Was there CG work involved in their creation?

“The props and costumes are physical and real. The monks are… sorry, I can’t say more. Even describing them would spoil it for you!”

Given that there’s a lock-down on spoilers, what can you tell us about the story?

[Deep breath] “Well, it’s set a long time in the future. And there’s a sort of Nazi state. And space! I’m so pleased to be in space! As an actor, when you’re asked to be in Doctor Who you want spaceships and space – not a story set in the Victorian era with street urchins! [Laughs] I want a laser! It was like being in Star Wars.”

The press release for ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ mentions “sacrifice” and…

[Interrupting] “I can’t possibly say! I don’t know what you’re talking about!” [Laughs]

…okay then, who is the titular “Good Man”?

Could be The Doctor, could be someone else… [laughs] I will say that it’s gonna be one of the darkest episodes ever…”

We’ve seen a pic with Rory and the Cybermen, did you get to work with them?

“Sadly, I didn’t have any contact with them. They’re a proper iconic part of Doctor Who, though I did get to go into the TARDIS set (though not in character). It’s a lot smaller than you’d imagine [laughs]. I had to go and see it. My curiosity demanded it!”

You seem to be quite busy at the moment, what other projects have you got coming up?

“Yeah, there’s an improv series for Dave [UK digital channel], a panel show called Odd One In for ITV and then I’ve got The Rob Brydon Christmas Special to finish the year.”

…as well as your stand-up gigs?

“Yes, those too! And I’ve a play, Wedding Band, on at the at the Gilded Balloon during the Edinburgh festival in the Summer. It is a play but not like those other boring ones!” [Laughs]

If the chance presented itself, would you like to come back to Doctor Who?

“I’d love to be involved again.”

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