Sarah Sutton (1992)

Here’s part of a DWM interview with Sarah Sutton, talking about her time as Nyssa, including being freezing cold at Heathrow airport while filming ‘Time Flight’.

“I didn’t really think too much about Nyssa as a character because she wasn’t terribly complicated. I did like the fact that she was an alien, so there was no set way of doing her. She could react to any situation quite unconventionally if she wanted to, which was nice. I got on well with all my co-stars. Peter Davison and I shared a similar sense of humour and this made things go smoothly in rehearsals.

“In any show with an established star, the rest of the cast tends to look to them for a general tone. If Tom Baker was in a bad mood, everyone felt depressed. If he was buoyant, then we all felt good. Peter was just relaed, but serious about the job. This created good teamwork which extended beyond the actors to the technical crew.

“I developed a good rapport with Janet Fielding, and that added to the feeling that I was going to work every day with friends rather than colleagues. This was a definite advantage on location – you suffered together. Doing ‘Time Flight’ in the snow at Heathrow airport was probably my least favourite experience ever. We were so unbelievably cold and just huddled together between shots to keep halfway warm. It was also quite chilly in Amsterdam, where we did ‘Arc of Infinity’, but it was more pleasant. Amsterdam was fascinating – a bit sleazy, but colourful and full of life.

“When I came to leave the series, it was done really well. Over the two years we’d seen Nyssa change from this rather sheltered aristocratic young lady into a mature and well-balanced young woman. She was a scientist with a strong sense of justice, who’d lived through the awful things life had thrown at her. The only downer was that she had to say goodbye to the Doctor and Tegan – her best friend. It’s always hardest to say goodbye toa friend, especially when you know it’s for good – which in Nyssa’s case it certainly was. Anyway, she was probably in for some interesting times, stranded on a space station full of men.”

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