Planet Gallifrey: Interview: Frances Barber

Saturday, November 19

Interview: Frances Barber

Amongst many other things, many of you probably know Frances Barber for playing the evil/marvellous Madame Kovarian. In a fit of excited nerves, I caught up with the super-actress to chat about her role on the show and more!

Mac: Hi Frances, I'm such a fan!
Frances: Well I'm glad!

Mac: So to start off... to the viewer, Moffat's storylines are sometimes quite complex. When you first got your scripts, did you feel the same way about the stories?
Frances: Well, I personally found them quite complicated to understand, I have to admit! But then I am not the sort of Doctor Who expert, and I thought maybe it was just me who didn't understand and that I was a bit dim, but now I understand that they were complicated for everyone. They end up making sense in the long run, but when you get them episode-by-episode, they get a bit complicated.

Mac: Were you a fan of Doctor Who before you joined?
Frances: A massive fan, yes! And when it started again with Chris Eccleston and Russell T Davies, I was desperate to be in it. And everyone else seemed to be in it except me, so I was so thrilled to be asked. And I have to say, Matt Smith is a sensational Doctor and he's probably my favourite.

Mac: So out of all the episodes you did, which would you say was your favourite?
Frances: Erm... I mean, the one that I suppose was my most favourite to film was the last one because Amy kills me and we think she kills me and we don't know because it was a different time line etcetera etcetera, but that was fun because we were all there together with River Song and I really enjoyed that.

Mac: What was your initial reaction when you read about the strange method in which the Doctor would escape his death?
Frances: Well I was just as surprised as everyone else, to be honest. I presume even Matt was surprised! So like everyone it was like, Wow, look at that! When I saw the first episode with the Astronaut coming from the deep, I just thought it was one of the most exciting episodes I've ever seen. So I knew that it was going to be super clever.

Mac: So I was doing some research on your fantastically eclectic career; you've done theatre, films, TV... out of everything you've done, what would you say was the most enriching or rewarding?
Frances: It's really hard to answer that question because I am in the lucky position to have so many different things with so many actors so I always like to believe that the next job will be just as exciting and as wonderful as the others. I've love doing theatre and film and Doctor Who.

Mac: Did you have fun playing Madame Kovarian?
Frances: Oh yes I loved it! I relished every second of it! (laughs)

Mac: With Doctor Who comes a massive fanbase, (and I have been following your zany tweets!) How would you say you have reacted to this massive fan universe that you've been thrown into?
Frances: Oh I have to say I have absolutely adored it! All the Doctor Who fans are really respectful, they are really knowledgeable. I mean, I think that's the biggest thing that they're respectful and courteous and I am loving the fact that, like at the last convention I did, girls came dressed as Madame Kovarian! And I was so chuffed and blown away by that.
Mac: Yes they do make an effort!
Frances: Yes, by their dedication and the huge effort they made and it's really appreciative. So yes, I am loving it! And I return every fan letter I get as soon as I possibly can!

Mac: Would you ever return to the show?
Frances: Oh I'd leap at it in a heartbeat!

Mac: Thank you so much, Frances!
Frances: It has been my pleasure!