Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Ainley’

Anthony Ainley (1982)

September 19, 2009

Anthony Ainley, who died just a few years ago, had quite a hard task taking over the role of the Master, as he acknowledges in this early interview. I met him once, back in the 1990’s when I used to go to conventions. I forget where we were, but a friend and I were in the queue for breakfast on the last morning, and somehow got talking to Ainley, who was in the queue ahead of us. He was very friendly, and as he walked off, he said we should join him to eat. A few minutes later, we noticed him sitting alone in the corner, at quite a large table. We thought he wanted to be alone, but we also worried that he might think we were ignoring him, so we went and joined him. It was fun, although he did seem to excuse himself pretty quickly after he was finished eating. Still not sure if we got the social niceties right on that one, but anyway, here’s the interview:

“I was lucky enough to be in ‘The Pallisers’, which was a big production BBC series. John Nathan-Turner was working on that. He remembered me and later asked me if I’d like to play the part of the Master. It’s an added hazard doing parts somebody else has done. The obvious risk is that you may be compared; thought not to be as good as, that sort of thing… Nevertheless, I don’t think I was ever in real trepidation, because the Masters is such a good part and such a joy to do. At the back of my mind, there is always the thought that everyone enjoyed Roger Delgado’s portrayal, but that just means I’ve got to be pretty darned good in return.

“I believe that if you are tackling an acting job, a lot of it has to come from you, from your gut reaction to the script. You have to feel for your instincts in tackling any dramatic role, really. It mean, if it all came externally, none of it from you but from what people are trying to impose upon you, then I think it is nowhere near as interesting to do. I don’t really like to talk about acting, but I do feel that if it comes from you, then it will be real, it will be exciting and it will be believable.

“What’s interesting is the kind of letters one gets from ‘Doctor Who’ fans. On the whole, they are very intelligent… and they tend to know more about the part than I do. As an age group they all tend to be under thirty. What surprises me is that they tend to be over twenty and a fifty-fifty mixture of male and female. I’m not playing a heart-throb figure so I don’t get a large female outpouring in terms of the content. Roger was charming, I’m not – you can’t help that. You’ve either got charm or you haven’t and I haven’t got much!”

Isla Blair (2008)

August 8, 2009

Isla Blair was only in one ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The King’s Demons’, but I’m adding this interview partly because she talks about so many other interesting ‘Who’-related things, such as Julian Glover getting cast in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ on the basis of ‘City of Death’. You can read the full version of this here, as usual I’ve only taken the ‘Doctor Who’ related part.

Q: I understand from Julian (Glover) that you were supposed to play his wife in the Doctor Who story “City of Death”?

A: I was, and that was a great shame. I can’t remember what happened now. I think something overlapped, and I couldn’t do it, and it was all really sad. I did want to do it because it was a terrific part, and it would have been nice to have been with Julian in that, and it was one of the Doctor Whos I quite enjoyed. Did he tell you that he got the part of the villain in the James Bond film [For Your Eyes Only] from that?

Q: No, he didn’t tell me that.

A: Yes, I think he was filming a film about Alexander the Great and going out to Greece, and he got this call because Cubby Broccoli and his wife Dana had been in– Birmingham I think– and they were in their hotel and they happened to turn the television on, and it was “City of Death,” and they were watching it, and Dana Broccoli turned to Cubby and said, “that guy, I think he’d be perfect for Kristatos.” And he said yes, so Julian was flown back from Greece to test for this Bond film, and to our astonishment and delight he got it and that was all through doing “City of Death.” So you don’t know, anybody could be watching you at any time, anywhere in the world.

Q: There you go. Carrying on with Doctor Who, you were in “The Kings’ Demons.”

A: Yes, I was. We filmed most of that near Bodiam Castle in Sussex, and it was terribly cold, and there weren’t a lot of wraps, and we were sitting outside– you know what it’s like, filming– for hours not moving, and again there was a lot of ice-cube-sucking going on to show that we weren’t that cold. Who was in that actually? Gerald Flood? And of course there was Anthony Ainley…

Q: Another tragic loss.

A: Yes, that was very┬ásad. Such a shame. Very sudden. But he was very good, he was the Master, and what was good about that story was that it was very different, being set in medieval times, and all that jousting, and tournaments and things like that. I don’t know if that’s been seen before, but it wasn’t a very usual story for Doctor Who. That was nice.

Q: But of course your husband was in a medieval-set Doctor Who story, “The Crusade.”

A: Oh yes, of course, he played King Richard the Lionheart, didn’t he? What a coincidence, he played King Richard, and I met King John.