Planet Gallifrey: November 2010

Tuesday, November 23

An Interview with Katy Manning & Finn Jones - Part One

Nabu, from, and I caught up with the wonderful Katy Manning and her on-screen grandson, played by Finn Jones, to discuss the latest series of Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as some other outrageous stuff!

Nabu: So, how is today for you? How have you found the experience so far [at the convention]?

Finn: Yeah it's been great! This is my first convention, I'm breaking my virginity.
Katy: I had to be with him.
Finn: Yeah, Granny had to be there...
Katy: Granny had to check this out! (laughs)

Mac: That's going to be quoted in the interview, y'know.

Finn: Oh it's recording?! (laughs) Yeah, my Gran was there when I lost my virginity...
Katy: Well this is the kind of Granny who would! (laughs)

Nabu: What was it like returning to the BBC set after so many years? Was it like a learning curve? Mac: Was it reminiscent of the past?

Katy: Yeah well first of all, the moment I found myself on that freezing cold mountain, it was like old times, y'know. The only difference was, I wasn't wearing a mini skirt, which was a great relief because everybody was watching! And going into the TARDIS was fascinating because it has changed and become very cutting-edge and it was very exciting because, although I was quite nervous to bring back this character, and you have no rehearsal, you go straight in—

(At this point, Tommy Knight enters!)

Finn: Tommy Knight has just come in here! Tommy Knight, get here now, we're having an interview, and you are just causing a scene...
Katy: I think you'd better come and sit here with us... (pointing at Tommy's 'hip' walking style) Did you see his walk? Did you see the walk?!
Finn: He needs to keep his trousers up!
Tommy: Look, right, I don't have a belt [for my trousers] so I had to use a shoelace!
Katy: It's like a bad-man Saturday Night Fever.
Tommy: Well, maybe I am a bad man out on a Saturday night...!

(everyone laughs)

Mac: This is all going up on the site, you know.
Katy: (laughs) But it really was a terrific experience being back. As I say, no rehearsing and so you just had to go through it. How could you go wrong with a Russell T Davies script? And you know, such wonderful actors, like Matt. I think including the audiobooks now, I'm into seven or eight Doctors!

Nabu: Did you collaborate with Russell about your character?
Katy: Well, he was constantly in touch: very hands-on, very caring. Absolutely lovely. And in terms of the character, if you look at the piece, it's the perfect carry-on from where she left off. For three years, from being this little, cunning 18 year old and this sort of, slightly 'knowing' young lady, going off and getting married. I think with everything that she did, you can imagine her doing that.

Mac: So, Finn, what was the experience like for you compared to Hollyoaks? How was it different?

Finn: It was great. Really really great. Both sets were really welcoming. And Doctor Who is a massive world, y'know these people are so established in what they do, so to come along first it was a bit like 'Oh I might be out of my depth,' but everyone was so welcoming and so lovely and the script was so great. And it wasn't 'The Matt Smith Show' or 'The Katy Manning Show', it was a collaborative double episode where everyone had a fair story in it. I had the time of my life!

Katy: And working with Lis, for me, I thought that [Jo and Sarah] complimented each other really well, and I loved working with her. Yeah, it's true, everybody had their little moment.
Finn: Except for Tommy, 'cause he wasn't it. Were you Tommy?
Tommy: No, I was... er... (Katy laughs)
Finn: Thank God, because if you were in it, I wouldn't have been in it!
Tommy: You're sort of like an upgrade, aren't you?
Finn: Upgrade? Oh thank you!

Mac: Oh, nobody could upgrade you, Tommy.
Tommy: (laughs) Yeah.
Katy: Hang on, if you [Finn] hadn't been in it, and you [Tommy] had been in it, what would I have been?
Mac: A Shansheeth?
(everybody laughs)
Katy: Mrs Shansheeth! Yes, with a bright, nylon frock.

Read the rest of the interview,
where we discuss naughty Katy Manning's double-entendres and a possible spin-off... tomorrow! Also, don't forget to check out Nabu's site, the lovely!

An Interview with Katy Manning & Finn Jones - Part Two

 (Check out Part One here, if you haven't done so already!)

Mac: Katy, had you been a fan of Elisabeth Sladen or Sarah Jane Smith prior to returning?
Katy: Well, we didn't have it where I was living (in the Andes!) No, we didn't have it. So I'd actually only seen what I had seen; I had met this lovely young man called Tommy—
Tommy: In Gally [Gallifrey One LA, 2010]
Katy: ...yes, in America, and obviously I know Lis, so it was important to me to have a little look to see what it was. I thought that the production values of that show were fabulous! And I thought Lis was brilliant in it, and I was really really happy to be part of it.

Nabu: I was really impressed with your knowledge of the show, because you seemed to have just immersed yourself in it. I remember at a recent screening of Death of the Doctor
Katy: Which one was that?
Nabu: The one at the BFI.
Katy: Ah yes, the one at the BFI!
Nabu: The one with your raunchy interview...
Finn: A raunchy interview?!
Katy: I have a problem, I say things and I don't actually what I said, until everybody points it out. And everything I say has a double-entendre, apparently. (laughs)

Mac: It's probably because of your Iris Wildthyme connection.
Katy: (in Iris' voice) Oh I don't think it's anything to do with Iris, darling! I think this is summat I've been doing for a long time!
(everyone laughs)

Nabu: So yeah, I was really impressed with your knowledge of the show, did you research it well before you got into it, or did you just jump in?
Katy: I'm an old actress, darling, I just pick it up instantly(!)
Finn: Alright—! Jesus! (laughs)

Nabu: Is there a potential for you to do more Doctor Who in the future? You know, like come onto the main show, or do your own show?
Finn: It'll be the 'Jo Jones and Santiago Trials'...
Katy: When it comes to the grandson, here, I think he would be a fabulous character to go back into with. I think if I were a producer or whatever, I'd see a lovely moment for you to return. It's lovely; what kid has never been to school, you know? [He and his parents] have been dragged all around the world, very happily for most of the time, but he's suddenly seen that there was something else out there, and that was beautifully played. I love how she has had 7 children and 13 grandchildren, and dropped them at the foothills and then gone off and chained herself to Robert Mugabe!

Mac: Finn, how did you approach your character since you were 'replacing' Tommy Knight? Obviously, Tommy has his loyal fanbase etc.
Finn: Well I wanted to go in, be better looking than Tommy and steal all of his fans... nah, I'm joking.
Tommy: Well it sort of worked! Earlier on in the day, someone came up to me with a photo of Finn!
Finn: That's happened to me, too! Someone people come up to me with Tommy's photo, and I'm like 'W-w-w-what?!' But yeah, I just kind of went with it, worked with the script and stuff.

Mac: Cool. And I asked Tommy this yesterday; do you follow forums and discussion boards to see what people are saying about you?
Finn: I don't. I've done that before and it's just not worth it. I appreciate that everyone has their own opinions, but you've got to have some kind of barrier. It's nice to hear a few things or a few articles, but if you get obsessed with it, you become dependant on it - and it's not healthy.
Katy: It would be mind-numbingly boring. I cannot think of anything worse...

Finn: It's nice that people are speaking about it, but I think that you should go in, do your job, have fun and that's it.
Katy: I think also, if you read what people say about you, it must have some effect - deep down in your head - that you're actually caring what somebody is thinking! It's like in the old days, you used to read somebody's publicity and people used to start to believe that they were that person.

Nabu: Finishing off, what kind of stuff do you have lined up for the future?
Finn: I am doing a show for HBO at the moment, called Game of Thrones. It's based on a series of books called A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I'm playing a character called Ser Lores Tyrell, who is a knight.
Nabu: Did you have to put on outfits?
Finn: Yeah, it's like the Lord of the Rings territory, so kind of Middle Earth-esque.
Katy: He looks so handsome in his armour!
Mac: Is that the end of the interview?
(everyone laughs)

Make sure to check out Nabu's world-famous for all the SJA gossip you'll ever need, including Nabu's interview with SJA writer, Joe Lidster!

A Birthday Competition

To mark the birthday of Doctor Who, I am giving away loads of signed goodies amongst other stuff, to three lucky winners who can answer this question...

When was Doctor Who first broadcast on TV?
a) 1943
b) 1953
c) 1963

Yes, it's that simple! Just send your answer along to with your name and contact details and the competition will end on Tuesday 7th December (so plenty of time to get your entries in!)

Now, the prizes...

The Three Doctors audiobook, signed by Katy Manning
Sarah Jane Adventures: The Time Capsule audiobook, signed by Tommy Knight
Wooden Heart audiobook
Weeping Angel action figure

Katy Manning & Elisabeth Sladen picture, signed by Katy Manning
Diary of a Doctor Who Addict audiobook
Torchwood: The Dead Line audiobook
Decide Your Destiny: Alien Arena book

Torchwood: The Dead Line audiobook
The Story of Martha audiobook
Sarah Jane Adventures: Eye of the Gorgon book

Good luck to all entrants! Any queries can also be sent to

Saturday, November 20

An Interview with Anjli and Tommy

Hot on the heels of the fourth series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, I caught up with Tommy Knight and Anjli Mohindra a.k.a. Luke and Rani to chat about their take on the show amongst other things.

Hi guys! So the current series has just finished and the general reception has been good. What are your thoughts on it; do you think it was better than the previous ones in terms of storyline, drama etc?
Tommy: I think in terms of storyline, the fact that I wasn't in it just completely destroyed it! Haha, only kidding; I dunno, I don't think I can pick out a favourite series...
Anjli: Yeah, it's really hard to do that.
Tommy: Yeah, I think it's more like I'll pick favourite days, like 'Oh that's my favourite scene of all time,' because with every series we're going to do, the scenes are going to be similar, so...

So what was your favourite scene from this series?
Tommy: My favourite's are always the ones where we get gooed! That's my favourite.

How has the level of fame that you now receive affected your studies and your personal life?
Anjli: It doesn't really affect it a great deal. I think because our main audience is children, our largest fanbase is with children, so because we are a lot older - especially because I am a lot older than the target audience - I don't really hang out in those circles, so it's avoidable to an extent, unless you are picking up siblings from school or whatever.
Tommy: Yeah I pick up my little brother from school, like every now and then, and so every time I go there, the little kids go really mental. It makes things a bit awkward...
Anjli: But it's nice, in a way. Because kids aren't ashamed to say whether they like something or not, whereas adults get formal or try to be 'cool' about it, but kids just get straight to the point and it's really nice. You get instant feedback too.
Tommy: Yeah.

Speaking of older viewers, what is your response to older viewers tuning into The Sarah Jane Adventures due to the Classic Doctor Who connection with Sarah Jane?
Anjli: The writers are great, they always put in little jokes for adults as well as the kids, because they will go straight over [the kids'] heads, but we definitely pick them up, so it's nice having a mixed audience, I think.

Would you say that you have become more interested in the Classic series now because of The Sarah Jane Adventures?
Tommy: (laughs) I'm not even like a telly watcher, so I don't know...
Anjli: I'm not sure about Classic Doctor Who, but it's definitely got me interested in Doctor Who. I don't think I'd have watched it before, but because of Sarah Jane, I have started to watch it. And with the Matt Smith and Karen series, I have really followed every story because they're just great, they really are.

Do you ever check forums or discussion boards on opinions about the series, or do you choose to stay out of them?
Anjli: (laughs) No! I stay away.
Tommy: My mum checks them. She's a poster on one of them... yeah she's cool. She tells me now and then what people are saying.

Yeah, I've heard she is more in touch with the fanbase than you are! 
Tommy: (laughs) Oh yeah, definitely. She's got lots of friends. 

So... Katy Manning was in this series. What was it like working with her?
Tommy: I didn't.
Anjli: (laughs) I did. She's brilliant, she's a wicked lady. Just as a woman and an actor, she's great. There is so much to learn from her.
Tommy: She's so funny.
Anjli: Yeah, she's from Classic Doctor Who, so what you meant before, it's nice to see different sides like working with Nick Courtney and stuff. So yeah. (Nick was a legend!)

Tommy, would you agree that Series Four was a turning point for Luke's character, especially in The Nightmare Man?
Tommy: Yeah! It's sort of made Luke a bit more... 'humanoid' if you know what I mean. It's not so alien, because he's having dreams and things like that and he's becoming way more social.

Anjli, you starred in the production of East Is East and Tommy, you did The Bill. Are there any more plans for you in terms of TV and films and theatre etc?
Anjli: Just to keep going really. It's hard to say that you've got stuff lined up, but some people are fortunate sometimes to know that you could be doing something in a few months. But we're very much in a sort of 'nomadic' lifestyle of just going along and seeing what happens. 
Tommy: I dunno what I'm going to do. I don't think I'm going to keep on acting forever and ever. 

Yeah I heard you wanted to be a paediatrician.
Tommy: I did want to be a paediatrician, I changed my mind (laughs) I'm so thick, I shouldn't be allowed to pick things for myself. It's really not a good idea for me. I honestly don't know what I'm going to be doing with my life. I'll do a bit of travelling next year. 

Finally, Tommy you were doing your A Levels during filming this year. What is your advice to people juggling stuff like that?
Tommy: (laughs) I am not the best person to be asked that! I always try to make sure that my education is Number One. Acting is such a flippity-flippity world (Anjli laughs) you don't know what's round the corner, but if you have good grades at school or anything then it doesn't matter if my career goes to pot 'cause I'm secure in my life.

And the lovely duo recorded this special message for all ye dedicated supporters!

Friday, November 19

'A Christmas Carol' trailer


Thursday, November 18

'Meanwhile in the TARDIS...' DVD Extras

Here are the specially written 'Meanwhile in the TARDIS...' clips, made exclusively for the Series 5 DVD boxset.

News Roundup

Monday, November 15

Anjli and Tommy for Memorabilia Birmingham

Great news to all you SJA fans in Birmingham, Anjli and Tommy a.k.a. Rani and Luke are attending Memorabilia at the NEC on Saturday 20th November!

As well as those amazing A-listers in the world of Who, Memorabilia is also being visited by Kai Owen, Katy Manning, Ian McNiece! To check out the rest of the star-studded line-up, visit the Memorabilia site here.

Saturday, November 13

Next Time... Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith!

EEK! The explosive series finale starts this Monday on BBC One!

Wednesday, November 10

Review: Deadly Download

A computer virus! Destroying everything?

It is bizzare to begin with, because you don't normally get stories centred around computer "viruses" running amok. Jason Arnopp, however, masterfully weaves in the seemingly undisturbed and suburban Bannerman Road with horror and danger so effortlessly... it's a shame that he hasn't written more stuff for the show!

Starting off slowly, the story progresses but perhaps too slowly. Most of the action at the beginning is set in the Attic which is quite static. However, when the pace quickens, it begins to get more interesting.

Elisabeth's voice is lovely and warm as always, especially at points throughout the story where there is danger and excitement present, because she starts speaking really-really-fast and your ears somehow manage to keep up whilst taking in everything. However, her attempt at doing Clyde will never be completely perfect. Everyone has faults, I suppose.

In terms of characterisation, the main four are mostly faithful to their televisual counterparts. Unfortunately, we don't get as much interaction between Rani, Clyde or Luke as in previous audiobooks, because it seems to be a very Mr Smith heavy story. That's not to say that it's bad; it's certainly refreshing to hear a supporting 'character' have a major role for once.

Deadly Download is one of the stronger Sarah Jane Adventures audiobooks in the series, but it is not the best. It has a lot of clever, dramatic moments and on the whole, it's definitely a worthy addition to the collection.

Planet Gallifrey rates
Deadly Download by Jason Arnopp


Monday, November 1

The Empty Planet - Part 2 trailer

Amazing episode!