Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley
Papa Lazarou IS the Doctor!
Those of you with an interest in British comedy will of course know that Gatiss himself was a member of the Gentlemen, so this also marks an interesting reunion for the actors.
It also indicates that the drama will cover the handover between the First Doctor (David Bradley) and his successor, that crucial moment that led to the series’ immense longevity and made it the envy of drama serials around the world ever since.
I first asked Reece about 12 years ago when I started thinking about this project. We were in the midst of League of Gentlemen and I just remember thinking, if anyone plays Patrick Troughton, it should be Reece. Like the second Doctor, he’s small, saturnine and a comic genius. The complete package. He thought it was a fantastic idea and I’ve kind of nurtured it all this time. “Reece has a funny relationship with Doctor Who – mostly to do with impressions of the Borad from Timelash! He and a friend were obsessed with season 22 [Colin Baker’s Doctor, 1985]. One of my earliest memories of Reece is him going, ‘I am the Borad!’ He’ll do the whole of Timelash at the drop of a hat. Which is a strange qualification.
With Shearsmith’s casting, the full list of players looks something like this:
The cast so far:
David Bradley as William Hartnell (the first Doctor)
Brian Cox as Sydney Newman (BBC head of drama)
Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert (Doctor Who’s first producer)
Sacha Dhawan as Waris Hussein (Doctor Who’s first director)
Lesley Manville as Heather Hartnell (William’s wife)
Reece Shearsmith as Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor)
Jeff Rawle as Mervyn Pinfield (Doctor Who’s associate producer)
Andrew Woodall as Rex Tucker (BBC producer)
Ian Hallard as Richard Martin (Doctor Who director)
Jamie Glover as William Russell (companion Ian)
Jemma Powell as Jacqueline Hill (companion Barbara)
Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford (the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan)
Sarah Winter as Delia Derbyshire (musician at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop)
William Russell (the original Ian Chesterton) as Harry
Reece Pockney as Alan
And finally, for those of you unfamiliar with the fearsome Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen: