For my first interview of the year, I managed to snag myself a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. I was lucky enough to be able to ask Rufus Hound, known best in the Whoniverse for playing Sam Swift in The Girl Who Died alongside the Twelfth Doctor, and also as playing the Monk for Big Finish against the Second, Third, Fourth, and Eighth Doctors. Let’s see what he had to say, shall we?
In this part, we talk about watching Doctor Who, who Rufus’ Doctor is, and where he’d go in the TARDIS…
What was the first episode of Doctor Who you remember watching?
Well that would be Rose, I think. It’s the first one I could tell you anything about. As a boy, I remember Sylvester McCoy being Doctor Who, but I didn’t really watch it. There wasn’t a kind of culture, when I was a kid, of watching Doctor Who, it was viewed as being a bit naff I think, and it wasn’t something my mum and dad ever put on, and at the time it was on telly, it was either my bedtime or not something my mum had any interest in watching, and my dad was normally at work until quite late at night, so yeah Rose would have been the first one.
I really only watched it as I was a massive fan of Russell T Davis; I watched Bob and Rose and it, kind of blew my mind, and subsequently watched The First Coming, which if anybody hasn’t seen it, which seems unlikely, but it they haven’t, my gosh, watch that. It’s as fine a piece of TV as I’ve ever seen. So yeah, that was it, I thought “This will be interesting; I like sci-fi, I like Russell T Davis, it will be interesting to see” and from that point on, I was hooked.
Who is your Doctor?
Well look, this might be a bit of a naff answer, but the truth is, my Doctor is the Doctor. I think what’s interesting is that the show was conceived as being a way of getting kids interested in history, and then when Hartnell was too ill to continue, and Troughton took over it repositioned the show as something that was a bit more of an adventure in space and time, rather than a straightforward show saying “This is what happened in the olden days.” Therefore, it begins to become, as all good sci-fi is, an opportunity to examine what it is to be alive now, with the limitations of being human, through the prism of someone who’s been alive for a great deal longer in many different environments and had to make moral choices outside of our own mundane day to day. So, my Doctor is the Doctor, principally because I’m more interested in what those stories have to tell us, than I am with any one actor inhabiting the role.
Certainly, Tennant and Capaldi are the two that I guess I’ve enjoyed most, in a way. I think that they both bought things to it that I really enjoyed. With Tennant, the joy of it, and Capaldi, I dunno… There was a seriousness and a study-ness, I know that’s not a word, and a studious nature, of what Capaldi did with it, that I just adored. So certainly, they’re the two actors that I enjoyed how they were the Doctor the most, but that’s because I didn’t really spend a lot of time watching the Classics. Undoubtedly, I can see maniacal twinkle in Tom Baker’s eye, and find that rather enthralling, but I’d be lying if I said I watched a huge amount of episodes or seen a huge amount of what he did with the part. I certainly don’t want to dismiss any of the Classic Who actors, but they aren’t fellas that I am as familiar with as I am post reboot.
Who is your favourite companion?
Just for the sake of it, I’m going to say Bill. I think it’s easy to say Billie Piper, and who doesn’t love Billie Piper, who doesn’t love Rose? But I think there’s a spunkiness to Bill, and a modernity that, with the clutches of sci-fi being wielded by patriarchal voices, it’s nice to have somebody who does stand on their own two feet and doesn’t stand for any BS, and I know that’s been true of other companions over the years, but I was so delighted with who Bill was. I think Pearl Mackie really just came in for a season and absolutely rinsed it.
If you could have one trip in the TARDIS, where and when would you go, and why?
I’d definitely like to go to the far flung future, I think I feel quite cynically about humankind’s ability to survive through the next century, so it would be nice to go forward and see whether we pull that off or not. I think if I knew that human beings were going to be around, and we worked out a way to be more decent to each other and thrive, and operate in a way whereby we’re all considered of equal value, that would be very pleasing. So, that reassurance would be nice.
But equally, it would be nice to go back and find Jesus I think, I’d be quite interested. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jesus. I don’t think he was the son of God, but I think in terms of what he was trying to inspire in people, and the fact that his message has survived and been so influential over the last two millennia, would be nice. It’d be nice to meet that bloke and find out what he’s really about.
Join us in Part 2 where Rufus talks about playing Sam Swift, having to prove himself as an actor, and the word “do”!