The eleventh series of BBC Studios Doctor Who starts on October 8th, and we were fortunate enough to be able to put some questions to actor Tosin Cole, who will be starring as Ryan Sinclair – one of the Doctor’s latest companions…
FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE: It’s a new season, there’s a new Doctor, a new cast, and a new showrunner. With so much change happening, is that a theme that runs throughout the stories of Series 11 too?
TOSIN COLE: It’s more of a journey, a new journey you could say in a sense. But it’s a theme that always happens with the show every time there’s a new Doctor regenerating. A new Doctor, new companions… it’s the nature of the show, so it’s nothing that the fans haven’t seen or thought before.
FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE: Doctor Who has such a long history and it’s one of the most popular TV shows of all time. Given the enormous fan base, was there ever any pressure knowing how high those fan expectations are?
TOSIN COLE: You’re always going to find some kind of pressure being involved in something with this longevity, but you also know that you’re going to be embraced by fans and the culture of the show. So it’s like a bit of both, but I never really felt the pressure as much because, obviously, the show is going through a lot of changes – the first female Doctor, even changing the date when it’s viewed. You’ve just got to roll with the punches and go with the flow, so no, I’m not really nervous at all.
FoS: Without going into spoiler territory, can you give us a vague idea of what to expect?
TC: Epic, cinematic, funny, energetic, visually pleasing, dramatic and crazy adventures!
FoS: With all of the attention of the media and fans on Doctor Who, it seems like a whirlwind of press interviews and conventions. How have you been finding the whole experience so far?
TC: I don’t know! Even though all these things are happening, I don’t think it’s still hit me yet! It’s like you do these things, these things are coming up, and… Comic Con San Diego was like a big deal for me and, obviously, you know it’s coming, but after you do that it’s like things just went back to normal and it hasn’t hit me yet. Even though today, at the UK premiere here in Sheffield, I’m bumping into people, signing autographs, taking pictures and people are waiting for me. It’s just a thing that happens, but I’m going with the flow, enjoying the support and appreciating it, and trying to stay me!
FoS: For fans, a job like this would be a dream come true and most of us are big kids at heart. Was there ever an urge to just play around, like flicking all the dials and switches on the TARDIS console for instance?
TC: Well, with the cast we’ve got we’re all big kids, especially Bradley Walsh! So we’re always having a laugh, playing jokes on each other on and offset, and there’s loads of fun going around the set!
FoS: You spent some time working on an episode in South Africa, and it’s becoming a popular filming location for sci-fi, fantasy and superhero movies. How did you find the experience, and why do you think it’s becoming such a favourable place to film?
TC: I love South Africa! I love the culture, the music… it’s a really beautiful country. The views are amazing, just the nature and the scenes around you, it’s amazing. I think people are going there for the locations, they’re so beautiful. You can be in a city and see a mountain of clouds, and I don’t know where else you could see that. For me I just loved it, but it’s really, really hot! The food is amazing as well, and we had a braai at Mzoli’s in Cape Town. And the music… it’s kind of like house, like Black Coffee and people like that. It’s the home of it, and it was amazing hearing new artists, being involved in that culture and figuring out new things and new artists.
FoS: In recent years, many actors from Doctor Who have achieved even further success in mainstream films and other TV shows. You’ve already got a Star Wars credit to your name, but is there any particular film franchise you’d hope to be a part of? What’s coming up next for you?
TC: I know what kind of filmmakers I’d like to work with, rather than franchises. I’d like to work with the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee… even the Nolan brothers. In terms of TV, Westworld or something like that. I find Westworld thought-provoking. But right now I’m working on a play at the moment in London at the Royal Court Theatre, called Ear for Eye, written and directed by Debbie Tucker Green. But I’m open to everything. Hopefully, I get to work with people and make stuff, and fans appreciate the work.
FoS: Do you have any last words for the fans out there?
TC: We put our hearts and souls into this, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it! Please stay tuned for what’s to come!
The first episode of BBC Studios’ Doctor Who Series 11 – The Woman Who Fell To Earth – airs October 7th in the UK, then comes to express to Showmax in South Africa the next day, October 8th, with new episodes out weekly.
A special thanks to Tosin Cole and Amy Dawson for making this interview possible.