Many Doctor Who stars appeared this weekend at the London Film and Comic Con including Roberta Tovey, Donald Sumpter and sixth Doctor, Colin Baker and all were happy to chat about their time on Doctor Who.
Roberta Tovey appeared as the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, in the films Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D (1966). Tovey recalled her time on the movie sets as “great – I enjoyed being there the whole time.” She remembers “going down that big mountain in one of the films” as her most terrifying moment, as it was a huge set in Shepperton Studios and she was only 10 at the time. Director Gordon Flemyng, she said “must have seen my face,” and stood by the side of the camera, with his arms outstretched, just in case she fell.
Tovey loves meeting new generations of the fans, and appreciates that “parents are watching it again with their own children.” Tovey doesn’t always watch the show now, but she says “whenever there is a regeneration, I dip my toe back in.” Would she appear on the show herself? “Oh yes,” she says. “I could be standing there, and I’d say, ‘oh hello Grandfather, where have you been?’”
Actor Donald Sumpter has a storied history on Doctor Who. He appeared in The Wheel in Space with Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, and in The Sea Devils with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee in 1972. Sumpter also appeared in the spin-off series Sarah Jane Adventures, and in 2015, he starred as the mighty Time Lord President Rassilon in the acclaimed episode “Hell Bent”.
What was it like having a career with so many of the Doctors? “FUN!” thundered Sumpter. “They were all very delightful in their own different ways. I really like the current incumbent. I like the darkness in him. I just love it that the Doctor can change into different personas, different characters. Naughty little fixers like Troughton. There was Pertwee, dark and serious.”
Sumpter believes that the show has become more aimed at adults, and that “there is more depth to the stories. It’s more adults that watch it than children, I think. They could take it even further. Perhaps it’s where it should be going.”
How powerful did he feel holding that impressive staff in Hell Bent? “Not very!” he laughed. Sumpter pointed to the curved part of the headpiece and imitated how it pushed into his face. “We were doing it out in the desert. I was in a sandstorm, wearing that. I thought, maybe I should retire!” But he would be delighted to return to the role.
Baker, the Sixth Doctor, was sitting next to Sumpter. Baker had appeared with great style earlier that day at a panel and made the rounds meeting other guests, including former Power Rangers Nakia Burrise and Catherine Sutherland. Baker was happy to discuss another show – his 2012 appearance on I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here! Baker spent 17 days in a jungle location while filming the reality show. “Well, it was hard work, I was well-paid, and I’m glad I did it.” When asked if he would like to work with Sumpter, a fellow Time Lord from Gallifrey, both men agreed it would be a possibility. “But would the screen be big enough?” said a bemused Baker.
It’s always great to hear these stories from the stars of the show past and present. Hear their passion for a show that is now 52 years old, that has never lost its fascination for fans and actors alike. Here’s to another 52 years!
London Film and Comic Con returns next year.