Maureen O’Brien (2009)

Here’s Maureen O’Brien, during a rare convention appearance, discussing her time as Vicki in the 60’s. It’s long been noted that she didn’t have a particularly good time on the show, but she seems enthusiastic here, and it’s interesting to hear that apparently they’d play the theme music before recording an episode, in order to get in the mood!

I’d never seen ‘Doctor Who’. I didn’t know anything about it. It was a job, I didn’t know… I just went in, said hello to my fellow actors and there we were. I was very happy with them, and I think they were quite happy with me. But in the first week, I thought ‘I’ll never learn this, I have one week!’, and in those days of luxury, if you were working in the theatre, you had six weeks’ rehearsal, nowadays you’re lucky if you have two, but in those days it was good. So I thought ‘How can anybody learn this in a week? It’s not possible!’. With Jacqui and William, and Bill as far as I recall, the script was gone by the afternoon of the first day and I thought ‘Oh dear God, how am I going to cope?’, and I tried and I did actually learn it. By the second week, I suppose you were more relaxed, down went the script, you knew it. Of course you did tend to say more or less the same thing in every episode, if you were playing Vicki

The others were absolutely wonderful to me. I do remember that Carole Ann Ford came on my first day of rehearsal, to say hello and good luck and ‘I had a lovely time, I hope you do’. I was terribly surprised, it hadn’t really occurred to me that… I mean, I wasn’t really into all that, I thought it was very nice. And having been in series after that, you realise how important it is for the regulars in a series to be nice to the people who come in, because it’s nerve-wracking to go in for one or two or three episodes of a series, and if the family, the regulars, ignore you or are horrid to you in some way, it’s even more nerve-wracking

I always thought we did it Monday to Friday in the rehearsal room, and recorded it on Saturday, but Russell (William Russell)… I did a commentary thing the other day with him on one of these newly-released DVD’s, for ‘The Space Museum’, and he said no, we did it on Friday, we had four days’ rehearsal! And we actually went to Riverside Studios and rehearsed with those enormous video cameras trundling around on Friday, and recorded it on Friday evening at seven o’clock. The music would start up, the theme tune, it gave you a… it’s that music, it’s so amazing, it did kind of give you a lift, it made it feel special and you were off.

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2 Responses to “Maureen O’Brien (2009)”

  1. mennenennen Says:

    Just adding that the theme tune was always played straight off the tape as the first thing during the recording of any episode in the ’60s – so the actors were bound to hear it whether they wanted to or not. 🙂

  2. Jo Outlaw Says:


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