This week the Doctor and Clara must train a useless band of Vikings to defend themselves against the galaxy’s most deadly army. Their death is assured. So why is the Doctor preoccupied with the fate of a single Viking girl?
Are you a fan of Doctor Who?
“When Doctor Who came back on television a lot of my male friends were really excited. I didn’t know much about it, but I watched a couple of seasons with David Tennant as the Doctor. And since I’ve been here, I’ve been questioning Jenna – why are you in a space suit?, what’s going on here?, have we met this person before?, does this link back to a previous episode? – anything I can find out. It has been really exciting working on it and I’m so glad to be a part of it now.
How did you get the role?
I was approached with the role, I didn’t know much about it but knew they were introducing a new character to work closely with the Doctor. I’d got through the second episode and absolutely loved it! I was going to do a tape but ran out of time because I was in America shooting another film, so my agent worked really hard and sent over lots of clips and videos – they liked them and gave me the role.”
Who has the most beards, Doctor Who or Game of Thrones?
“I feel like I’ve seen a lot of insane beards here on this shoot. I don’t know which would have more, but it’s very nice to have that familiar bearded, hairy men setting. It’s so refreshing to have this futuristic element linked in to it too, that’s what has kept me going really, not just beards and dragons. There’s a whole new element that’s fed in to the sides. It just looks so great with all of us in our Viking outfits, Jenna in her space suit and the Doctor in his cool coat with his crazy sunglasses. It makes for a really cool and interesting dynamic on screen.”
What was it like to work with Peter Capaldi?
“Peter has been such a joy to work with. My brother was so excited when he heard I got the part, as was I. He’s a wonderful, wonderful actor and I couldn’t wait to meet him. He totally lived up to my expectations and I Iove that! When you meet your idols – people say ‘don’t meet your idols as they never turn out to be who you want them to be’. That was completely not the case with Peter and he’s been wonderful and really helpful on set.”
What do you think about the fact that Doctor Who has been running for 50 years?
“When I got the role, my mum would tell me about when she watched it before it came back more recently. I’m not so aware of the previous Doctors but I know a lot of the lines Peter says now relate back to other Doctors’ lines. It is so nice how they’ve incorporated the previous seasons in to the more recent episodes. I like how it all links in some way or another.”
“The Doctor meets The Vikings! Of course he does. The only question is, why did it take so long?
“Odin has come to visit his loyal followers, the Vikings, and reward their bravest warriors with a place in Valhalla. There’s only one problem – The Doctor and Clara, who are having none of this and smell a rat. They are soon caught up in the middle of a war between an advanced race of mercenary aliens and a village full of angry Vikings, who don’t take kindly to having their Gods insulted.
“But the Doctor has no TARDIS or sonic screwdriver, just his wits and raw material in the form of Viking villagers. But these aren’t the roaring warriors of legend, these are the ones who usually stay behind to feed the chickens. The farmers and shepherds who make sure that the roaring Vikings had a village to come home to. But the aliens are coming back and if the Doctor can’t convince the villagers to flee, he just might have to teach them to fight…
“There is another big mystery to solve in the form of Maisie Williams, who plays a Viking that the Doctor seems to recognise. But from where? Or is it when?
“At one point in development the episode was called ‘The Allfather’s Army’ referencing both Dad’s army and Norse mythology. There are also nods to films like ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and ‘The Dirty Dozen’.”
The Girl Who Died is on Saturday 17 October, BBC One
Writers: Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat
Director: Ed Bazalgette
Producer: Derek Ritchie