DWO Contributor, Ian Savage, interviews Peter Kay regarding his role
in 2.10: Love & Monsters.|
Peter Kay is the first to admit that he has done some pretty amazing
things since he became a "big name" singing on stage with Elton John,
hanging out with Eric Clapton, fronting Live 8 in Scotland,
corresponding in character by letter to his comedy hero Ronnie Barker,
to name but a few of them.
But even he admits that running flat out through the streets of Cardiff
in a disgusting looking rubber monster suit again and again and again
for this week's episode of Doctor Who is probably at the top of the list
Rewind to six months earlier and the Bolton comedian was just another
fan of the reinvigorated sci-fi series, which had been dropped like a
hot brick by the BBC in 1988 as ratings (and budgets) dwindled for the
once great series.
So he wrote a letter to writer Russell T Davies, executive producer of
the new series and architect of Doctor Who's astonishing revival.
In the note Peter said how much he had enjoyed the first series, which
starred Little Hulton-born Christopher Eccleston as the Time Lord and
Billie Piper as his companion Rose Tyler.
He said: "I thought it was very good. Well written, well acted and the
BBC had actually put some money behind it, so it lived up to the hype. I
did watch Doctor Who as a kid, though I wasn't a massive fan, but I
thought the new series last year was really impressive."
So Peter, who celebrates his 33rd birthday in a couple of weeks, was
taken aback when he got a phone call from Davies not long after,
exploring whether he would be interested in a part in series two.
"I said yes, of course I would I mean how can you not be interested in
the chance to have a part in Doctor Who?" said Peter.
"But Russell didn't initially have me in mind as the baddie; I was
originally going to be the part of Elton, played by Marc Warren (who
stars in BBC's Hustle). And I read the script and felt that it was too
obvious to have me in a part that I thought was essentially a nerdy UFO
I felt it would be much more effective and better for me as a complete
change if I played the nasty part and when I said this to Russell he
As it is Marc plays Elton's character not as a typical nerd, in fact he
is very cool and looking at it now I think it works so well well I hope
it does," said Peter.
So it transpired that the man most famous for playing lovable
wheelchair-bound rogue Brian Potter in the hit comedy series Phoenix
Nights, would be appearing in Doctor Who as baddie Victor Kennedy/The
Abzorbaloff in the story Love and Monsters, the tenth episode of series
2, which stars David Tennant as the newly-regenerated Doctor Number 10.
The Abzorbaloff was the creation of nine-year-old William Grantham. He
sent in his drawing of the nasty looking monster as part of a
competition run by children's programme Blue Peter, which gave
youngsters the chance to design their own creature, which would appear
in a story at some point in this second series.
Davies had been working since season one on a storyline about a man who
is obsessed with the Doctor.
Speaking to this month's edition of Doctor Who Magazine, he said: "I
knew that I could make it (the Abzorbaloff) fit sort of instantly to be
honest. That's my job. I mean, it's a creature that absorbs people;
that's pure Doctor Who. Honestly, you should try living in Manchester he
(Peter) is royalty up here. Well, better than royalty, because he works
for it. He was dead keen that Victor Kennedy wasn't just a laugh; he did
it with absolute serious intent."
The monster itself looks something like a cross between the Slitheen
(from the last series of Doctor Who) and Jabba the Hut from Star Wars,
with the added unpleasantness of having its victims' faces "melded" into
its skin after having "absorbed" them.
For Peter it meant a long time in the make-up chair; it took six hours
to put on the costume and the extensive facial prosthetics, not to
mention the long Mohican-like strip of black hair that goes from the top
of the creature's scaly head right down its back.
"It just looks totally disgusting," said Peter. "Really revolting."
The story for Love & Monsters is certainly unconventional for Doctor
Who; the Doctor hardly appears in it!
Our hero is Elton, played by Marc Warren, a young man who has become
fixated about finding out all he can about the mysterious stranger known
as the Doctor who has randomly appeared throughout his life.
He forms a group with other people who have all, in one way or another,
been touched by the Doctor in their lives and are desperate to know
exactly who he is. But the group's fun is shattered when a sinister
grey-haired, eczema-suffering stranger, Victor Kennedy (Peter's main
part in the story) joins them. He too wants to find the Doctor, but for
completely different reasons. And as he begins to control the friends,
their lives are changed forever.
As for the Doctor and Rose, in this story they have a tiny amount of
screen time, which makes for a completely different type of episode.
"When I first read the script and saw what small parts David Tennant and
Billie Piper had in this episode I told them they should rename this
story Doctor Where?' said Peter.
He spent four days in Cardiff where the series is filmed for nine months
of the year shooting in a non-descript warehouse basement and, as
mentioned earlier, stomping through the city streets in the strangest
looking costume imaginable.
"That was a weird day," he said. "I had to chase people again and again
until the director was happy; it is one of the funniest things I have
ever had to do. I hope people enjoy it; I certainly did when I was
making it it was just the best time.
On the last few things I have filmed I have had so much more
responsibility, having to direct as well as act. On Doctor Who it was
lovely just to be able to turn up, go into make-up, learn some lines, do
some acting, then go back home.
I really enjoyed it, the cast and crew were lovely and Russell T Davies
and the other producer Phil Collinson were so supportive. They were
texting me during filming to see if everything was going OK, then in
touch again when they had seen some of what I had done with very kind
words of support.
I had an absolute ball. In years to come I'll be able to tell my
grandkids that I was a monster in Doctor Who. It just doesn't get any
better than that, does it?"
Copyright Ian Savage & Doctor Who Online, 2006.