Karl Greenwood (‘Doctor Who Live’) interview

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New stage show Doctor Who Live promises to deliver a spectacular audio/visual experience featuring live music and special effects. Taking in nine cities and 25 dates, the show kicks off in London at Wembley Arena on 8th October 2010, and will visit Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff and Liverpool, culminating in Belfast on the 7th November.

CultBox caught up with actor Karl Greenwood (who plays several monsters in the show and has appeared as Cybermen, Ood and Judoon on the TV series) to find out more…


As the Doctor Who Live tour draws closer, how are you feeling?

“I’m so pleased to be doing this show – it’s all the best bits of Doctor Who and the eyes of the world will be on us. The whole cast is thrilled with it and can’t wait to get going. We know how good it is – it’s a huge, action filled production. And yes, there are a few nerves here and there!”

What should audiences expect from the show?

“It’s a multilayered extravaganza of all things Doctor Who. The set is big, the music is epic, the monsters are right there with you and several of the scenes have been written by the brilliant Steven Moffat. It draws you in from the very start. Everyone involved has had to work very closely with the pyrotechnics guys, the illusionists and props, set and lighting guys – the show is so intertwined with all these factors – it’s fantastic to be involved.”

What sort of reactions are you hoping from audiences?

“The storyline is based in an arena – putting on a show for an audience! Things soon start to go strange. The audience are essential and integral to the plot so there is a lot of audience interaction which is always enjoyable. The action comes thick and fast so they need to be on their toes – the universe needs you like a universe has never needed an audience before!”

For you, how does Doctor Who Live differ from filming the TV show?

“It doesn’t compare at all. Filming is a long and complex process, and often the excitement of the show is not revealed until we actually see it on the TV and witness everything with all the effects added into the edit. In the live show, the excitement is real, palpable and experienced by everyone in the auditorium!”

Which monsters have you played on the TV show? And which of these will you be appearing as in Doctor Who Live?

“I have played Cybermen, Ood, Judoon and Winder in the TV show and this live performance. I’ve also played the Dalek pigslaves, the Host and the Blowfish in Torchwood.”

The show ends with an ‘epic onstage battle’ – was this as complicated to choreograph as it sounds?!

“The choreography of the battle scene was broken down into its component parts and each section rehearsed to perfection before the next bit was added. The combination of the multi level staging, the movements, the pyros, the guns, video and dialogue, lasers, effects and music makes it seem impossibly complicated – but there is order in there somewhere!”

Is there added pressure when performing stunts live?

“There is added pressure when performing stunts, this is very true, but it is borne out between a team of performers and crew all working to the split second to make sure it all happens when it should. Of course, live theatre is live, but we rely on our extensive rehearsals to keep the pulse racing in all the right ways!”

What’s it like working with Nigel Planer, who plays Vorgenson?

“Nigel is fantastic. He has the ability to turn a line or a movement from comic to tragic to menacing and a thousand other emotions in between. He has really brought this Vorgensen character to life. It’s been fabulous watching Nigel turn this from script into reality, weaving the whole show together into a whole, whilst all the time he’s working in a maelstrom of special effect chaos and still helping us with our limitations in our monster suits! It’s a big ask of anyone – hats off to him!”

How long have you been working on the TV show for?

“I’ve been on Doctor Who since David Tennant started. Millenium FX (who make all the monsters) knew I was the same physical size build as the costumes had been based on and I’d done this kind of thing before. Because I’d been a fan since childhood – haven’t we all? – I jumped at the chance!”

Do you have a favourite monster to play?

“My favourite and least favourite monster is the Cyberman! 27 kilos of movement limitation – added to deafened, blindfolded and a short air supply! Why on earth would I do that to myself – but the answer is of course on the screen and stage… it’s the Cybermen!”