Me In Doctor Who

Here we are, then: the mystery is solved. In this still from Saturday's Doctor Who episode The Sontaran Stratagem, I'm the blue fella on the left. For two seconds. Hooray!

As you can see, I'm playing the role of a somewhat rotund gentleman with a bald patch on the side of his head. It was a hell of a stretch - I had to bulk up beforehand with multiple visits to catering - but it was clearly the role I was born to play.

It happened on the afternoon of 7 November, 2007. Director Douglas Mackinnon wanted to film some extra coverage for Scene 4.14, in which UNIT take control of the ATMOS Factory and round up its (literally) blue-collar workers. Problem being, because this was a change of plan, most of the warehouse worker extras weren’t on set that day.

Bizarrely, The Mill’s FX man Tim Barter and I were asked if we’d mind being roped into playing warehouse workers for a teeny, tiny scene. Of course we didn’t mind! So we abandoned our respective posts on set, and headed over to the clothes trailer, where costume supervisor Lindsay Bonaccorsi was waiting to size us up for boots and blue outfits.

Then we nipped next door into make-up, where Morag Smith and Cathy Davies slicked back our hair a bit and powdered our noses. I was asked if I'd mind having my goatee shaved off – apparently it wasn't very “warehouse worker”. Naturally, if it was all in the name of Doctor Who, then it had to be done. So off it came, and then Tim and I were heading back to set, enduring hoots of laughter from David Tennant and Freema Agyeman as we passed by.

Third AD Sarah Davies positioned us in the ATMOS Factory, careful to ensure we matched up with the workers in previous takes of this scene. I ended up on my knees, with my hands against the wall, with a female UNIT soldier pointing her gun at me. Brilliant!

It was frankly a unique rush as the takes began, and UNIT jeeps drove into the area. I was unsure whether to look afraid, given that we warehouse workers were all clones. Still, I decided against walking up to Douglas and asking for my motivation. Besides, being expressionless is a fairly easy task for an amateur thespian.

“Sometimes I look at extras on TV and think I could do a better job than them,” said Tim as we headed back to collect our regular clothes. “Now I know I can’t.”

I felt exactly the same way. Despite all this, the experience was so damn exciting that I later wandered dazed onto the wrong train out of Cardiff and ended up in Swansea instead of London.

23 comments:

Elinor said...

darling, you were maaahvellous!

Lucy said...

Rotund? "Portly" is the word I would use. And everyone knows bald patches are *really* solar panels to fire up your sex machine baby, yeah!

Loving your work, dah-link x

Anonymous said...

Forget the return of the Sontarans, forget the return of Martha, forget it all, this performance made the episode work for me.

Douglas Mackinnon
Director Doctor Who

John Soanes said...

Whilst watching that scene, I pointed at the chap on the left in the blue, and said 'watch out for him, he looks dodgy. Probably one of the baddies.'
How very right I was.
J

James Moran said...

Never before, in the history of blue-suited men kneeling in the background, has so much been owed by so many viewers, to so few, the few meaning you. Yes.

Just think - you are now officially a Doctor Who villain. I'm mates with a Doctor Who villain! We - we *are* mates, aren't we, right, you and me? You and me, yeah? We're like *that*, you and me. Yeah?

Danny Stack said...

You're so in the moment. I can feel the tension of you being held at gunpoint. What's next, an interview with James Lipton?

Phill Barron said...

I'm not so convinced. I thought it was a fairly one-dimensional performance without the usual nuances I've come to expect from your previous work.

However, it does show promise and perhaps, with a great deal of work, you could kneel in front of armed women for a living.

the ex said...

I am available for all kiss n' tell interviews since Jason has found fame as a Dr. Who Villain. Much will be said about his tentacle for the right price.

Oli said...

Isn't it spooky how your first appearance on TV has coincided with a charming new head shot on the blog?

Straight. To. His. Head.

Jason Arnopp said...

I can confirm that, during the creation of my new profile pic, the camera was indeed pointing straight at my head.

Phill Barron said...

For what it's worth, I like your new photo. You look less ... pissed.

Based on that photo I might even hire you.

Not as a writer, you understand; but maybe as a cleaner or someone to carry stuff.

Jason Arnopp said...

Baron Barron: What with me tiptoeing further away from journalism as each week goes by, in six months I might well be grateful for the work.

Oli said...

BTW, have you killed Dan Turner? His blog has disappeared.

Dan's Ghost said...

yes Oli. i am dead, and now haunting this very blog.

BOO!

(did that scare you?)

Phill Barron said...

Didn't scare me ... I normally shit myself at this time of day.

Dan's Ghost said...

I think Jason's photo is out-scaring me...

I'll float off and frighten some old women

Stevyn Colgan said...

Oh so ... let me get this clear. You weren't the baldy potato headed alien?

Oli said...

Oh, and by the way, I forgot to say during my snippy remarks earlier, getting to be in Doctor Who is AWESOME.

Sal said...

hoorah, yay, etc! Being in an ep of Dr Who is ubercool, dude!

Ian Berriman said...

You jammy bastard. I've been sycophantically sucking up to Russell for years (ask any ming-mong, they'll tell you), but where's my cameo? Tsk.

Jayne Nelson said...

Sod Doctor Who - why weren't you at the Sci Fi London Quiz today? SFX got thrashed. We're blaming you, you know.

AndrewT said...

I completly missed this the first time round. Sat down to watch the box set yesterday and say that scene and thought I know that man in the guantanamo-bay-esque outfit.

Wow, I'm bowled over! Welsh BAFTA for that man.

Brendan O'Neill said...

I'll have to bring my phaser to the next SWF I attend!