By Owen Quinn Author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues
Sometimes a character comes along that cements itself in ways that you never expected and immortalises the actor to fans’ hearts forever. For the new Doctor Who it is the character of Dorium, the large blue skinned alien first seen in Matt Smith’s debut season when River Song double crossed him. He returned in a Good Man Goes to War and lost his head; literally. But that didn’t stop him from coming back again as a head in a box. Now he is the face and voice behind the first question, the question that must never be answered… Doctor Who? Here he is, the man himself, talking exclusively to the the Time Warriors, Simon Fisher Becker
TW: Hi Simon, thanks for doing this for us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
SFB: Fat, 50 and full of fun….
TW: You run Murderetc.com. Can you tell us about that?
SFB: It’s a themed events company which started out as ‘Just Desserts.’ It’s mainly murder mystery dinner parties but also Jazz Nights, Songs from the Shows and Opera Nights. Private events. Clients buy entertainment.
TW: You also co founded the Tilt Yard Theatre Company, what is the aim of that?
SFB: This was a company formed when doing a one man show ‘Hamlet – Tragedy of a Fat Man’ by Paddy Gormley. It was intended to do other projects but other acting opportunities have come along. Since Doctor Who there has been more interest in HTFM – so there may be another outing – watch this space…
TW: What first attracted you to acting?
SFB: I first ‘trod the boards’ at school playing Mr Bumble in a production of Oliver!, this is when I caught the bug. Originally I wanted to be a music and biology teacher but life had other ideas for me. I fell into the civil service. After a number of years political thinking of the day was to thin the Civil Service out. Nothing really changed eh? A financial inducement was offered – today we call it redundancy. I used this money to do a post graduate drama course.
TW: Is directing another passion for you?
SFB: Directing is a fascinating aspect and I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve taken the plunge but I would not call it a passion.
TW: How did the role of Dorium come about?
SFB: A casting, I was one of seven roly polly actors interviewed. I have to thank casting director Andy Pryor for calling me in and Steven Moffat for choosing me. It was a single scene with Alex Kingston.
On being cast as Dorium: I was one of seven roly polly actors interviewed…
TW: Did you know he would be coming back in such a big way?
SFB: No – as much as I hoped Dorium would come back I had no idea what was in store. I have found out since that the director of The Pandorica Opens, Toby Haynes recommended me to Steven Moffat; so very grateful Toby. The response from Fans has been huge too which I think helped with the decision to bring Dorium back. Thank you Fans.
TW: We know he is a wheeler-dealer and owes the Doctor a debt. Did you make up a background for him to fill in the gaps?
SFB: Yes, I have a back story in my mind but I have been advised not to reveal it in case it becomes closer to the truth!
TW: Did you get to see the Tardis set?
SFB: Yes, Matt Smith (delightful chap) asked me on the set to read lines for him. Being a Doctor Who fan, I was open mouthed like a ten-year-old most of the time. When I saw the Blue Box too, I suddenly became quite emotional and found myself holding out my hand to touch it.
TW: It seems a fun set with Matt, Karen and Arthur. Was it?
SFB: With Dorium appearing in three episodes and a prequel, I definitely feel part of the family now. The entire unit is a delight to work with. Long hours, at times quite tiring but above all an extremely friendly and enjoyable atmosphere.
TW: Was the broadcast version of A Good Man Goes to War as good as you thought it would be? For me, personally, I thought it was the most perfect piece of drama of the year, regardless of the science fiction trappings.
SFB: There was sooooo much going on in the episode. Not seeing the Doctor for 12 minutes or so – very brave. And of course the Revelation – I had no idea, because we had a false ending at the read through.
TW: Did you ever expect he would make a return after his decapitation?
SFB: My friends kept on saying ‘this is Doctor Who, you have no idea what’s going to happen to any character’. There is the question of ‘Dorium’s Debt’ of course. So I did think there may be a back story – I had no idea about what really came along.
TW: Dorium seems to have fore knowledge of what lies in wait for the Doctor. Can we expect to see him return?
SFB: The Fans would love Dorium to return and naturally I do too… but it’s Steven Moffat’s decision.
Will we see Dorium again: The Fans would love Dorium to return – naturally I do too… but it’s Steven Moffat’s decision.
TW: You’ve also done some Big Finish work. As an actor what are the main differences in the various mediums. Do audio plays make it a more focused performance for example?
SFB: Rather surprisingly, I find audio work much more exhausting. You need to get your voice to reveal everything. Communication normally is only 5% verbal, body language and facial expressions are more important. So you find when recording audio you’ve got to get ‘everything’ into your voice. If the recordings were filmed you will see actors physically gyrating around the mic to get the effects they want.
TW: What projects are you currently working on?
SFB: I have just finished filming a webseries – 3some produced by City Entertainment. Another Doctor Who Actor – Annette Badland (Margaret Blaine the Slitheen) – plays my wife. not sure when it will be available yet. In March I’m filming a pilot for BBC called Puppy Love, written by Jo Scanlon and Vikki Pepperdine, who wrote Getting On with Jo Brand. I am playing Jo Scanlon’s character’s husband. I am putting together a panel show called My Dalek Has a Puncture – designed initially for Conventions, it’s an autobiographical panel telling the story of how I became Dorium. It follows the same format as usual panels but has Songs and Monologues as well as screen presentations. I really hope to take it on tour.
TW: Where can our readers find out more about you and your various projects?
SFB: My website: www.fisherbecker.info is always the best way to keep up to date with me.