To say that Frances Barber has led fantastically varied life would be a massive understatement.
When she’s not constructing a weapon with which to destroy our beloved Doctor she’s given memorable performances in the likes Sammy and the BBC’s recent remake of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, she’s been a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, recovered from a horrifying bike accident and now, on the eve of her appearance in the second series of Silk, she’s been reminiscing with The Scotsman about the events that have paved the way to Madame Kovarian.
Since signing up for that initial one episode appearance Frances has been stunned by the reaction of Doctor Who fans who have showered her Clerkenwell Loft with letters, homemade dolls and, of course, eye patches:
“I’ve never had so many letters. I have been sent eye patches, little dolls. How sweet that they spent their time.”
Unsurprisingly given the spoilerific nature of anything that comes out of Doctor Who’s Cardiff base, Frances shot two finales to The Wedding of River Song, and thanks to the ‘wibbly’ nature of time travel, it might not be the last thing she’ll be shooting for Doctor Who:
“In the one they showed they kill me, and I thought, ‘Oh well,’ but Steven said, ‘No, it’s another timeline.’ I don’t know anything about timelines. Can I come back then? Who knows? But if [Steven] just says, I’ll come back with two eye patches, I don’t mind.”
It may come as a surprise that a woman who has worked for the renowned RSC but Frances loves spending her downtime absorbing and writing snarky tweets on all manner of reality TV:
“I do love reality television. When I first started acting I was at the RSC playing Ophelia to Roger Rees’s Hamlet. It was 1984 and I was 25. In those days we had three television channels, maybe four. I remember this distinctly: Roger would come in the day after giving a massive performance of Hamlet and say, ‘Did you see Blankety Blank last night?’
For more on her fantastic career, her struggles with depression and physical recuperation after an horrific bike accident in 2007 and her thoughts on the recent influence of quality American television head over to The Scotsman.