Series 7 Episode 9: Anneke Wills Interview


1. What was the auditioning process like for Doctor Who?

Same as usual really – up in an office at T.V. Centre with Innes Lloyd, Michael Ferguson, very nervously bright eyed, chatting away, trying to please – reading the script – the part of Polly – although there were many girls up for the part – by the time I got home they had already rung to say they wanted me!!!

2. Do you have a favourite story that you acted in?

Mike and I loved the “Smugglers” – we enjoyed filming down in Cornwall, the 18th century clothes – the story was GOOD and the other actors fun to work with.

3. Do you have a favourite story that you watched as a viewer?

“Journey’s End” Series 4 directed by Graeme Harper – David Tennant and everyone! When we see the Tardis towing planet earth back to its proper place in the universe to the sound of a welsh choir. Sublime Dr Who!

4. Was it very different working on set with Patrick as opposed to William?

With Bill it was mainly tense – he was so ill and grumpy – luckily Mike and I were supportive buddies – but with Patrick it was an honour and a joy to be with this IMMENSE talent as he created his take on the role – he was funny, sweet and wicked!!!

5. Was there any discussion of stopping the show once William left?

Mike and I were never privy to any of the discussions in the offices of the producers so we never knew what was going on until they said they were going to continue with another actor. We were relieved because we thought we’d be out of a job! How could we know we would be celebrating 50 years!!!

6. How has it been like playing Polly again for Big Finish?

Like slipping into a favourite pair of jeans that still fit!

7. Do you have a favourite Big Finish story?

The Selachian Gambit

8. If offered to return to the new series would you reprise Polly?

Absolutely! Although once again I wouldn’t want to see the wrinkles in H.D! (You know we never saw an episode of ours - at the time).

9. Any plans on visiting Australia during the 50th year?

Sadly I no longer fly anywhere (can’t bear the planes!) But I have VERY fond memories of my last trip – so warm the weather, the friends (the wine!). Climbing Sydney Harbour bridge with Colin Baker. BRILLIANT

10. What lost story would you most like to see returned?

Well the “Smugglers”! But also of course the last episode of “Tenth Planet and the Power of the Daleks” being such a turning point in the history of the show.

11. Did you always have an interest in acting? If not what inspired you to become an actress?

O yes I was writing plays and starring in them (?) from the age of 6!

12. What was it like working for BBC in the 1960s?

Well I’d been on telly since 1953 so it was all I knew really – doing those early stories twice a week out of Lime Grove – so many memories of the rehearsal rooms and the talented people involved – the BBC in those days was run by talented gentlemen in tweeds!

13. Do you have a favourite memory working on the show?

Not just one! Many. Mostly the companionship Mike and I had with Partrick. Repairing to my favourite pub after work – the laughter – oh all of it!

14. Was the regeneration a difficult time for the cast and crew?

Yes. I would describe it as ‘heightened awareness’ – being tactful with Bill (he was so attached to being the Dr) – excitement about Patrick taking over the fear that it may not work. That the public wouldn’t accept that the Dr could have a new body. Yet we could see that P.T. was potentially going to be brilliant – as long as he dropped the curly Harpo wig!!!

15. Why did you decide to leave the show?

Partly because I wanted to support my friend Mike Craze partly because I didn’t want to become type cast, partly because I had 2 tiny children I hadn’t seen much of for a year!

16. Did you ever think it would have become as big as it did?

No way. When they eventually caught up with me for the 30th anniversary I was living on a tiny island in B.C. Canada. I thought they were having me on! Dr Who fans? Still interested in the show? NO WAY!!!

17. What advice do you have for anyone looking to become involved in the performing arts?

Derek Jacobi’s reply to this was –

if you want to become an actor – don’t! because it’s a very insecure profession with a lot of rejection but if you NEED to be an actor then absolutely go ahead and get your training and know that ultimately it can be the MOST rewarding and wonderful life.

Thanks Ben. Love to all!