Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural), who will in the near future be better known to us as Canton Everett Delaware III in the Doctor Who Series 6 premiere The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, has had a nice long chat with American newspaper The Baltimore Sun (no relation to the unlinkably evil tabloid of a similarly bright name) about his first experience on Doctor Who… and British television in general, for that matter!
In particular, Sheppard has commented on the many differences between the US and the UK when it comes to television production rituals, from the contrasting means of acquiring something to munch on (American Kraft Service tables vs. British tea trays) to the separate approaches to the amount of work deemed necessary:
“…American television is designed to run into overtime.Â Itâ€™s completed designed on how much overtime can they use, who do you have, who do you give turnaround to for the next day, who do you not do this, who do you do that.Â And itâ€™s chaos, but it gets done brilliantly.Â And in England, thatâ€™s been removed from them.Â So the chaos is, ‘How do you get it done in the allotted amount of time?’Â Itâ€™s just as brilliantly efficient on both sides, but two very, very different systems.”
It’s really quite interesting when you think about it – while actors in British television are typically allowed a normal-length work day ending at 5 o’clock sharp, American actors might occasionally be working for several hours more… or they might not.Â From the way Sheppard described it, the American system sounds much more confusing – perhaps Billie Piper should think twice about trying to find a job in the States and just be glad any work she finds at home will have definitive hours!
Make sure you’re watching Mark Sheppard (not to mention Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, and Alex Kingston) in The Impossible Astronaut next Saturday, April 23rd on BBC One and BBC One HD if you’re in the UK, BBC America if you reside in the US, or SPACE if you’re from Canada and living there.