Annabel Scholey returns to face the Weeping Angels again in Village of the Angels. It’s just the latest role for the Split and Being Human actor
Before returning for Village of the Angels, Annabel Scholey has already made her first appearance in the epic storyline that is Doctor Who: Flux. As Claire Brown in premiere The Halloween Apocalypse, she had a decidedly timey wimey conversation with the Doctor and Yaz. She’s already familiar with the duo and the TARDIS, even if they don’t know her. But she says she hasn’t met them yet, but will see them again “in the past,” “if it’s true.”
And when a Weeping Angel comes for her later that same night, in what must be one of the most tense, old school, uses of the monsters since Blink, she’s already knows the “don’t blink” mantra. Could this be a twist on the formula, with her finding evidence of a life lived out in the past? Could she have read about her own encounters with the Doctor and the Angels before facing them in real life? By Sunday night we’ll know for sure. Because Village of the Angels reunites us with Claire in a cursed village in 1960s England. One about to have a huge Angel problem…
Scholey’s successful theatre career includes sharing the stage with both Christopher Eccleston and Jodie Whittaker in Antigone
But ahead of that, let’s take a look at the Yorkshire actor’s other work to date. One production that can’t go unmentioned in her performance as Ismene in the 2012 National Theatre production of Sophocles’ political and ethical drama Antigone. The production starred a post-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker. While Eccleston’s Creon resorts to harsh dictatorship to hold the kingdom together following the deaths of his two nephews in a bitter civil war, Whittaker as his niece Antigone defies him in favour of her own moral code, even if it will cost her her life.
Between them, Scholey’s Ismene provides a crucial balance and contrast. She shares her sister Antigone’s principles, but is unwilling to break the laws of the State to pursue them. The same production even featured Karvanista actor Craige Els. In a twist on the classical Chorus, he was Creon’s sinister henchman helping to try and break the sisters.
Other notable theatre roles have included Trolius and Cressida as Cressida (who, as any Doctor Who fan knows, was actually the First Doctor’s former companion Vicki…), Ophelia in Hamlet and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew (both Bristol Tobacco Factory), and Anya in The Cherry Orchard as the Crucible. And on the lighter side she was tabloid journalist Liz in musical comedy High Society at the Old Vic, and Vickey in classic comedy Hobson’s Choice.
In supernatural cult favourite Being Human, Scholey was the seductive vampire Lauren
But Annabel Scholey may be best known for her extensive work on television, including some genre hits likely very familiar to Doctor Who fans. She was Lauren Drake in Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse’s popular supernatural drama Being Human. During a sexual encounter with Aiden Turner’s Mitchell in the very first episode he kills her and turns her into a vampire. She becomes a recurring antagonist and a symbol of Mitchell’s guilt as she commits a series of murders across the first series. And in parallel, she stalks Mitchell, vying for his attention, while he attempts to deny responsibility.
More recently in Druids and Centurions drama Britannia on Sky, she’s one of the key figures as Amena. A ruthless climber of the ladder of power, the three series so far have seen Amena manipulate her way to her tribe’s throne. Scholey’s skill at depicting both Amena’s inner steel and the outward semblance of wisdom and compassion that makes her seem fit to rule has made Amena one of the show’s most compelling characters, despite competing with the likes of David Morrissey and Mackenzie Crook for the title.
In Britannia, Medici and The Split Scholey has created a series of powerful women with complexity beneath their confidence
She was a similarly strong and determined noblewoman in the three seasons of Renaissance drama Medici. As the real life historical figure of Contessina de’ Bardi she appeared in almost every episode. Contessina provides a steadying, wiser, hand on the affairs of the Medici family in Florence. She stands in contrast to her more reckless and mercurial husband Cosimo de’ Medici (Richard Madden). As a woman of genuine passion and compassion, forced to step up into a leadership role and stare down the courts of Florence, Contessina was the opposite side of the same coin as Amena. And between them the two roles proved Scholey’s versatility.
Among Scholey’s more down to Earth roles, she’s probably most famous as Nina Dafoe in The Split. The tense and emotional legal drama series about a family firm of divorce lawyers stars Nicola Walker (Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor companion Liv) as Nina’s elder sister and Anthony Head (School Reunion’s Mr. Finch) as her estranged father. Scholey’s mercurial Nina, hard working, hard playing, and hard talking, but increasingly unsatisfied with her life, is for many the highlight of the show.
Annabel Scholey grabbed the Doctor Who audience’s attention so completely with her two short scenes in Halloween Apocalypse. And she’s set to have us all riveted this evening. How does she know the Doctor? What is the secret of the Cursed Village? And why has Claire Brown been specifically targeted by the Weeping Angels? We’ll find out tonight!
Doctor Who: Flux continues this Sunday at 6.20pm on BBC One, and on BBC America in the US, with Chapter Four: Village of the Angels
Devon, November 1967. A little girl has gone missing, Professor Eustacius Jericho is conducting psychic experiments, and in the village graveyard, there is one gravestone too many. Why is Medderton known as the Cursed Village, and what do the Weeping Angels want?