Published on July 2nd, 2014 | by James Lomond
Quality Of Guest Casting Improved In Doctor Who Series 8?
Following the recent confirmation from the BBC, Gomez has this week featured in a Twitter pic alongside fellow Scot, Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor with some familiar silvery chaps in the backround. Largely known for her role as the unhinged staff liaison officer, Sue White, in hospital comedy, Green Wing, she has also performed with the RSC and none other than Big Finish – Gomez starred alongside Sylvester McCoy in the audio drama Valhalla. Most crucially of all – I LOVE this actress. If understated comic genius was a woman, and a wee bit mental, she would be Michelle Gomez. And we are SO lucky to have her…. (here’s a nugget of Sue White as proof):
Gomez is playing a character named the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere – sporting period costume, an anachronistic tech-accessory in her hands and looking like Mary Poppins mid-lightening strike. Holographic interface? Another Timelord? Or could she even be an alternate version of Victorian Clara all grown up? What we know for sure is that Moffat’s very pleased to have her on board,
“I’ve known Michelle for years, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to Doctor Who. She’s everything we need – brilliant, Scottish, and a tiny bit satanic.”
The Scottish Mafia swells its ranks! We’re certainly getting a combination of wonderful talent and big names on the show this season. Alongside Gomez, Ben Miller and Frank Skinner both have sound comedy credentials. In fact Miller is apparently both Doctor of Physics and an ex-Footlight and Skinner is one of very few (surely?) Doctor Who guest stars to have had a number one in the UK singles chart, twice (not counting the Beatles!) Ashes to Ashes star, Keeley Hawes is another well known face in the UK as is Hermione Norris from her work on Spooks. And Tom Riley is something of an international star in his own right thanks to the title role in Davinci’s Deamons.
Do you think Series 8 has turned a corner in casting quality? It’s a strange question to ask in a way – what do we mean by quality? It can’t be what I’m talking about above. Kylie’s had a lot more number ones than Frank Skinner (thank goodness) and Series 2 showed off top comedian Peter Kay’s acting talents. Looking back we probably had some of the “biggest” names in Series 1 with Simon Callow as Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead and Zoe Wanamaker as Cassandra in The End of the World (both of whom, interestingly, were asked back later).
But there does * feel * like there’s something a bit special brewing with Series 8 and not just an exciting new lead man. Perhaps it’s the tone and feel that has changed? It’s been remarked that the Moffat era has used increasingly more blue light and shadowy mists than the more day-glow sunny RTD era. Might Series 8 cranking up its eerie Gothic side even more? And do you think the casting reflects that? (Of course I’ll eat my words if Frank Skinner is running around in a green fat-suit, imbuing paving stones with life).
So are we seeing a more “mature” or “darkly comic” line up of stars for a more sinister era or am I letting my hopes for the series affect how I read the cast list? Are you looking forward to a slightly more angsty Series or do you long for the farting in Downing Street? Tell us below!..