Alexander Armstrong, Doctor WhoNovember 30, 2011
Comic and game-show host Alexander Armstrong stars as a doomed pilot in this year’s wartime-era Doctor Who Christmas special
Who are you playing in the Doctor Who special?
He’s called Reg, husband to Madge [played by Claire Skinner]. He’s a brave airman. Why did they cast me as that I wonder? It’s bit of a stretch! But he’s one of the brave few fighter pilots to whom we owe our liberty.
So does Reg talk in a proper wartime fashion?
I’m quite keen that he shouldn’t be a carbon copy of The Armstrong & Miller Show pilots. He speaks a lot more normally and, in fact, we decided to make the family lower middle class.
Apparently, your character is dead in the story!
I die, that’s true. But there are quite a lot of flashbacks, and the instance of his dying turns out to be very important. As will be revealed. I can’t give too much away.
Do we see you in war action?
Do you ever! We’re filming in a Lancaster Bomber in Lincolnshire — Lancaster and Lincolnshire! So, yes, there are a lot of interior airplane scenes with actual flames and stuff. It’s going to be amazing.
Who was your favourite Doctor as a kid?
Tom Baker, I’m afraid. Oh, he was hilarious! Hilarious, impatient and irritable. He hasn’t really changed.
You’re already part of the Doctor Who world, aren’t you, through The Sarah Jane Adventures?
I am, and this is very exciting because I’ve become part of the family as the voice of computer Mr Smith in that show. But, really, all I’ve ever done is record my lines in a studio in Soho afterwards. So it’s felt a bit of a sham. They were going to bring Mr Smith to life a couple of series back, and asked me if I’d be available to actually appear. But I couldn’t do it.
Was it nice to actually meet the other cast for a change?
Exactly. It’s lovely to meet them.
Do you get Doctor Who fans asking you for signed pictures of Mr Smith?
A lot actually. They’re nothing if not meticulous. They research their material very hard. In my limited experience they tend to come with files of stuff all very neatly arranged with little tabs that they’ll open up and hand something to you. ‘Sign here,’ and then they go, ‘Oh no, no we’re not finished,’ open the next tab and produce something else from another series.
No disrespect to Richard Osman, your co-host on quiz show Pointless, but he sort of has the stature to be a Doctor Who baddie doesn’t he? [Richard is impossibly tall]
Oh my God, he’d be brilliant! He’s always sat behind that desk on Pointless, no one realizes he’s got tentacles underneath.