Waterloo Road adds Tommy Lawrence Knight to its regular cast in this week’s episode as he takes on the role of a newcomer at the school.
The Sarah Jane Adventures star has been cast as pupil Kevin Skelton, who initially seems to be a troublemaker thanks to some mischievous behaviour in lessons. However, Chalky soon suspects that the new boy could be more intelligent than he’s letting on…
Digital Spy recently caught up with Tommy to hear what fans can expect from Kevin’s arrival and the character’s future.
How well have you settled into Waterloo Road?
“Settling in was quite easy, actually, as everyone was very welcoming. It sounds like a cliché, but it is a nice little family here – all of us are really good mates and everyone gets on well. I was welcomed very nicely!”
Were you nervous at first, though?
“I was definitely nervous on my first day, which was a few months ago now as it was mid-May when I started. I hadn’t been on a set for quite a while so I had to get back into the swing of things, but after day one I knew that I was going to enjoy this. It was good fun from then on.”
How did the part come about?
“Well, I actually auditioned for the part of Drew, who was in episode one of the current series. That was the script that I read in my audition, but after that I was offered the part of Kevin, which I guess is a bit of an upgrade because he’s a regular.
“So in my audition scenes I was doing a lot of shouting and screaming asking, ‘Where’s my girlfriend?’, and then I got offered this part of a nerdy kid, which is just as good – even better, I think!”
How would you describe the character of Kevin?
“Kevin is a foster child, who’s been through many families and been to many different schools. He’s constantly moving about all over the place, and it seems that he’s been let down a bit in his past, so his expectations when it comes to things are incredibly low. He doesn’t really expect much out of life.
“At the same time, Kevin is incredibly intelligent, but he’s almost shy or ashamed of it, as if he’s been bullied in the past. So he hides that away to start off with – it’s not something that he’s proud of, so he doesn’t answer any of the questions in lessons. He also winds up the teachers and stuff like that. But later on, you find out he’s a bit of an intelligent chap.”
Does he show his true self to any of the other characters as the episodes progress?
“Yeah, he does eventually come out of his shell. He forms a nice little relationship with Chalky, because they’ve both got this mutual fondness for maths and science. That’s when he shows how brilliant he is academically.”
Some of your first scenes are with a troubled student named Morag, aren’t they?
“They are, and these are some of the scenes that I really enjoyed doing, because it kind of shows the nice, gentle side to Kevin. You see in some scenes that he’s winding up the teachers, but then he’s walking along the corridor and poor little Morag’s standing there verging on tears after a really difficult day.
“But Kevin advises Morag not to let other people get to her and cheers her up. At that point, the viewers will see that although he has a certain attitude in lessons, it’s not the person he really is because you see him having this real gentle side to a girl who needs his help.”
How have you found working with Mark Benton, who plays Chalky?
“Oh, the guy is phenomenal. Some of the scenes that we did literally blew me away. He’s the funniest guy I’ve ever met and it’s never a dull scene if he’s in it. I’m just a bit gutted he’s not here anymore.”
Do we find out much about Kevin’s background and why he’s in foster care?
“It’s something that we haven’t really touched upon yet. I think most of that is up to my interpretation, I guess. It’s slightly spoken about, but we’ve never really gone into much detail. Maybe we will in the future.”
Is it true that Kevin becomes good friends with Connor?
“Yeah, those two form quite a nice little friendship together. To start off with, Kevin is showing off in front of Connor quite a bit, because he wants to prove himself. But in the end there’s a great, genuine friendship that those two have together. They become best mates, which is nice.”
Will Kevin become involved in Connor’s dramas with his alcoholic mum Christine?
“Not early on in the series – he’s more of a social mate at school. But later on down the line, he does become quite involved in Connor’s personal life. He becomes like a pillar for him and he helps Connor out as quite a strong sidekick.”
Does Kevin become a popular figure at the school?
“Yeah, he doesn’t really have any enemies as far as I’m aware. Obviously there are a few bullies in the school who lay into everybody, but he doesn’t seem to have any bad blood with anybody. He’s a likeable character and hopefully people will see that.”
Which cast members have you made friends with in real life?
“Literally every single one of these people is incredible. We all live on the same road in Greenock, so we’re constantly going round to each other’s houses and playing Xbox and things like that.
“Shane O’Meara, who plays Connor, was one of the first people to properly take me under his wing. He showed me about the place and really welcomed me. I appreciated that – he’s a nice guy, so we’ve become good friends.”
Are you looking forward to being known for a completely different role now?
“Well, the attention side of acting isn’t really my favourite thing, I’ll be honest! I was out in Glasgow high street a few weeks ago and I was with Kaya Moore who plays Phoenix, and with the amount of attention he was getting, it must have taken us a couple of hours to get down the high street!
“I was standing there thinking, ‘Oh my word’, and I was a little bit worried about it. It’s a bit intimidating as being on Waterloo Road will probably mean the most attention I’ve ever had. I think I’ll be alright, I suppose I’ll just have to see how I feel about it when it happens.”
Do you get recognised much already?
“It’s toned down a lot recently. When Sarah Jane was first out, I was recognised an awful lot. I used to pick up my little brother from his primary school every day and I remember when the show first aired, it got really hectic around the primary school. I was trying to find my little brother among all these kids going, ‘Sign my contacts book!’ and ‘Sign my face!’”
How does Waterloo Road compare to the work you’ve done in the past?
“There’s a lot more cast members, which means the amount of time I work is slightly less. I’ll have maybe a day off every week which is quite nice – it makes it a lot easier because I’m not in as heavily as I have been before.
“I also think the set is incredible – how the whole production, the behind-the-scenes stuff and the school is all in the one building. On my first day, I was just roaming about the place, going in every door and getting to know my way around!”
Will you watch your first episode when it goes out?
“No, I won’t! I don’t really like watching myself – I can’t enjoy the programme when I’m in it. I’ve watched all of the episodes leading up to this next one, but I think now I’m going to call it quits!”
Arthur Darvill may have left Rory Williams back in Manhattan, but that won’t spell the end for his partnership with Doctor Who co-stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. The three are known to be firm buddies and Arthur has confirmed he intends to work with them again.
“We’ve all said to each other we’ve got to give it five years, but I think they’re two absolutely brilliant actors and I love working with them”, Darvill told RadioTimes.com when asked about the chances of a reunion for future projects.
He added: “Matt and I did a play together called Swimming with Sharks before we worked on Doctor Who and we really get each other. I think we manage to surprise one another quite a bit, and we’ll definitely work together again at some point in the future.”
Well, thank goodness for that… And you’ll be pleased to know the merry trio have stayed in touch since filming in Cardiff wrapped earlier this year. “Karen’s in America doing a bloody movie but we’ve been speaking on the phone when the time difference will allow,” reveals Arthur.
“She’s doing really well out there. And it was really nice to see Matt at the press night for my play Our Boys (co-starring Lawrence Fox and Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis). We hadn’t properly seen each other since Doctor Who started going out, but it’s so weird to think he’s still filming at the moment. I sometimes phone him in the evening to see what he’s doing and he’s just sitting in his flat learning lines. Nothing changes…”
Doctor Who‘s Alex Kingston has been cast on NCIS, TVLine reports.
Kingston, who has also starred on ER, will play Miranda Pennebaker, a shady business woman who gets tangled up with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team. The actress, who reprised her Who role as River Song last week, will appear on the CBS procedural during November sweeps.
Executive producer Gary Glasberg tells TVLine that Kingston’s character is a woman who “deals in everything from high end weapons sales to priceless gems. Her connections go all the way up the ladder of D.C. politics, and Gibbs needs her for this very disturbing, emotional case.”
Actress Billie Piper revealed that her husband Laurence Fox’s performance in new West End play Our Boys moved her to tears.
Fox, 34, is starring in the production at the Duchess Theatre which follows young soldiers recovering after being injured in action.
“I thought Laurence did amazingly well,” said Piper after the official opening night. “I was particularly thrilled with his ending speech because it really wrapped up his character — I was moved to tears.
“It was a perfect mix of wonderful comedy and low-key humour, but with this really heavy undertone that’s unpredictable.”
The play also stars Arthur Darvill, 30 — Rory Williams, companion to Matt Smith as Doctor Who — and Matthew Lewis, 23, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films. The three male leads are so popular that since the play opened last week they have been regularly mobbed by women as they leave the theatre, forcing producers to draft in a security guard.
Last night’s crowds were swelled by those who realised that current Doctor Who Matt Smith and his predecessor in the role, David Tennant, were in the audience.
Piper, 30, who has two young sons with Fox, watched as screaming female fans clamoured for her husband’s autograph. The actress, who played the Doctor’s companion, Rose, alongside Christopher Eccleston and then Tennant, laughed it all off, saying she had “been there” too.
Fox, who plays Joe in Our Boys, joked it had to be “a set-up”, but added: “It’s nice to have a positive response to the play. We hope we have done our job well.” The play’s author, Jonathan Lewis, said: “There was a standing ovation. I feel a whole range of emotions — relief, excitement and pride. The boys did themselves justice.”
Fan Quincy Pham, 21, a piano student from Hammersmith, “in love” with Lewis since the first Harry Potter film, said: “I thought he was the most adorable thing ever.”
Psychology student Carol Haver, 20, from Bloomsbury, did not see the show, but “ran” to the theatre after finding out on Facebook that Smith and Tennant were going to be in the audience.
Former Doctor Who David Tennant has been elected to the board of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Scots actor, who is noted for his sell-out stage performances of Hamlet, was elected at the company’s annual meeting on Friday.
Tennant will serve in the post for three years.
The board is made up of 15 non-salaried people chosen for their skills and experience.
The RSC’s box office takings doubled last year to more than £50million.
Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill are squealing like happy toddlers, eagerly rummaging through big carrier bags of CDs on the floor of the Guardian Guide’s office. “Hey, The Hit World Of Marthas And Arthurs!” says Arthur, waving a sleeve.
“Definitely have that one,” laughs Karen. They both chew gum as they pore over piles of discs, Arthur next picking out a Richard Hawley single. “Who is Richard Hawley?” Karen asks, blowing at her new fringe. Arthur gawps incredulously. When I mention that these CDs are going spare, the noise levels go through the roof. With their time as Amy and Rory coming to an end, the soon-to-be-ex Doctor’s assistants have been this hyper since they arrived. They burst into our photographer’s studio half-an-hour late, emitting a first-coffee-of-the-morning buzz. She is all eyes wide and long limbs crossing and un-crossing. He is polite, low-key and more guarded, with occasional bursts of noise. It’s impossible not to stare at Karen. She is taller than Big Ben. She dabs on extra powder before the shoot and Arthur joins her at the mirror to give his quiff a final waxing. She nobly ditches her platform brogues to even out the height difference between them. As the shoot goes on, his velvet jacket gets gradually covered in the fuzz from her fluffy jumper. She, meanwhile, is the kind of woman who can wear mohair with a leather skirt and opaque tights on a thick summer’s day and not sweat at all. As soon as the photographer starts clicking, the pair swing into action. Arthur tells Karen he just did a photoshoot for a prominent gay magazine and ended up wearing a skirt. “I can’t wait to see the photos!” Karen yelps, clapping her hands.
It was April 2010 when the Doctor first crash-landed his Tardis in Amelia Pond’s back garden but it seems like longer ago, probably because so much has been packed into the two-and-a-half years since (and also because time has no meaning in Steven Moffat’s infuriatingly fluid universe). Amy (her grown-up name) is mysteriously without parents, utterly self-sufficient and ready for adventure. She is also impossibly foxy and totally unafraid. Rory, meanwhile, has his work cut out to prove himself more than a timid fiance who lives in the shadow of her obsession with the Doctor. They will soon be leaving in “heartbreaking circumstances” after one final encounter with evil, time-sucking effigies the Weeping Angels. When they finally go, both say they’ll be gone for good.
Since the show’s reboot in 2005, the Doctor has had three other permanent companions, played by Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman and Catherine Tate. But none have quite caught the public attention like Amy and Rory. Amy’s not in love with the Doctor, unlike Rose (Piper) or Martha (Agyeman), which means she can get on with the important business of running down spaceship corridors in Doc Martens, casting glib one-liners over her shoulder. Rory’s not just along for the ride, either.
Amy did make one attempt at seducing the Doctor, but Karen insists their relationship was “more a deep connection with someone from childhood. Someone that you look up to so much and have obsessed about, so it’s more than just fancying him.”
Arthur says this actually made it harder for Rory, because the other man wasn’t just a bit of a looker. “How do you compete with that?” he asks. “But I think Rory did compete. And he won.”
“Won?” Karen gasps. “It’s not a competition.”
There’s smirking: “Yeah, just for the sake of argument, he did.”
In 2010 it was Karen’s casting as Amy that made the headlines. She was to be the feisty new assistant with all the attendant drooling over her model’s looks. Rory was initially just the fiance she couldn’t commit to, especially not when the Doctor came calling to whisk Amy into space. It was only later that he blossomed into a bumbling action hero with his own fair share of one-liners. Arthur’s favourite episode is, he says, The Pandorica Opens because he gets to play a Roman centurion robot with a gun in his finger. “I felt like I was filming Indiana Jones,” he enthuses. “Playing a soldier in space!”
But weren’t you just a big space gooseberry, I ask him. “Space gooseberry!” they shout in unison. This happens a lot when they’re talking. At one point in the interview they’re just meowing at each other. Two years doing the time-warp does funny things to a person. When we first caught up with this trans-dimensional Mr & Mrs in the current series they were on the brink of divorce. In real life, however, Karen and Arthur are a hooting, karate-chopping double act who are clearly going to miss each other. I ask how any Doctor Who assistant could be happy going back to reality after living it up in the Tardis. “Yeah, how do you carry on with your life?” ponders Arthur. When I remind him he’s about to find out, he lights up. “This will always be the biggest thing that ever happened to us.”
“It’s like being in a band,” says Karen. “You go through so much stuff and you go to amazing places and you do it all together. I’d hate to do it on my own. It’d feel really lonely, actually.” But she is leaving the band to go solo. “Oh yeah,” she goofs. “I’m scared.”
They may not have topped the charts, but the pair are treated like the Beatles when they go to conventions or bump into fans on the street. While at ComicCon in San Diego earlier this year, Matt Smith and the Ponds decided to crash a party run by the makers of the Doctor Who Tumblr page (it’s the second-biggest after Beyoncé’s, which delights Karen). “They didn’t know it was going to happen,” she reveals.
“We just turned up. I have never seen a reaction like it,” adds Arthur. “We couldn’t hear anything because they just screamed.”
Karen’s in full flight now, remembering the rush: “Oh my god, it was just like …” She makes a prolonged, high-pitched noise like a trapped horse. She is relentlessly energetic, hollering and whooping to illustrate her points. Arthur is more reserved and often mutters agreement good-naturedly, letting her take the limelight. It’s not unlike their on-screen partnership.
Arthur Darvill did toy with a music career back in the day and formed a band called Edmund with his friends. He named it after his favourite character in The Chronicles Of Narnia and, judging by their presence on YouTube – an ardent Who fan has uploaded some of their songs – they sound like the Arctic Monkeys fronted by a baby James Dean Bradfield. Arthur was, naturally, the lead singer and guitarist. “Edmund’s dead now. We’ve had a funeral,” he says, smiling. It was always going to be acting for him. But music is something he comes back to in his down time.
The US in particular has embraced the weird man and his chums in the blue box with gusto since the arrival of Matt Smith, Karen and Arthur. The last ever scenes they filmed for the show were shot in New York and the locals turned out in force when they heard the Doctor was coming to Central Park. “It’s weird over there,” says Karen. “It’s like this hip, underground thing that they like in Brooklyn and Williamsburg which is funny because it’s not like that here.”
Arthur grins: “We’re cool in New York. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”
“But the last time we went there something had changed,” continues Karen. “People were coming up to us on the street the whole time saying they loved the show. There were paparazzi following us around which never happens over there. When we got to Central Park there were just hundreds and hundreds of people.” Arthur nods, looking off into the distance, gently yeah-ing.
No one was expecting such interest and the Who crew hadn’t bothered to arrange any security to keeps fans from mobbing the show’s stars. “I just remember running to the car, like I was in a band or something,” says Karen. “People were like [American accent] ‘Sign my Tardis!’ We just thought, ‘This is never going to happen again so we should enjoy it.’”
They wrapped filming in New York a couple of months ago and dived straight into the pile of job offers awaiting them. Karen’s already done a film, Not Another Happy Ending, and is about to start shooting the third instalment of Charlie Brooker’s spoof detective show A Touch Of Cloth. Then it’s off to America, to star in new supernatural flick Oculus. Arthur has just finished filming his role as a “geordie pervert” in a forthcoming BBC drama and is about to straddle theatre and TV simultaneously, doing a West End play while filming ITV1′s Broadchurch with ex-Doctor David Tennant. They are striking while the iron is hot.
The role of Doctor’s assistant is unlike any other acting job on British television. In the last year, two actors who’ve done tours of duty as Tardis sidekicks – Mary Tamm and Caroline John – have passed away; they were still called “former Doctor Who assistants” in every obituary and news story. I ask Karen and Arthur if they’ll still be happy to be called “former Doctor Who assistants” when their careers have taken them far away from Cardiff and Steven Moffat. Will they still go to conventions?
“I wouldn’t mind because I quite like conventions,” says Karen. “I don’t understand how people could complain about meeting all the people who enjoy what you do. They’re so much fun. I met Brent Spiner who plays Data from Star Trek …”
Arthur adds: “… and at ComicCon we got to meet Seth MacFarlane.”
Which all sounds like larks, but isn’t it going to be annoying to be referred to as Amy and Rory when you’re trying to break Hollywood or auditioning for the National Theatre? “Oh, yawn-fest,” blurts Karen, taking Arthur by surprise. He erupts into snickers.
Armed with their modest haul of CDs, the pair disappear into the lift, designer shades on, and head out into the sunshine for a smoke before their separate cars arrive. Time to go solo.
It’s hard to imagine any sentient creature turning down the chance of sharing their TARDIS with Karen Gillan – even if they’re not quite sure what a TARDIS is. The vivacious 24-year-old Scottish redhead is the breakout star of the wildly addictive current incarnation of the British sci-fi franchise Doctor Who– which tells the tale of the Doctor, an immortal, shape-shifting alien who travels through space and time via the TARDIS (a time machine that’s bigger on the inside than the outside). But why does he always bring a cute Earth girl along for the ride? “Well, why wouldn’t he?” says Gillan, who plays Amy Pond, the doctor’s current, micro-mini-wearing companion.
Doctor Who has been around since 1963, but its latest version is the best sci-fi show on the planet, thanks to a hot young cast (the current Doctor is played by 29-year-old floppy-haired heartthrob Matt Smith) and mad-genius showrunner Steven Moffat: It’s the kind of show where an ominous crack in the wall in a little girl’s room turns out to be a deadly fracture in the fabric of space and time.
With BBC America pushing the show hard (it airs Saturdays at 9 p.m./8c), it’s finally catching on here, too. When Gillan showed up at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, the place practically combusted: “There were just so many screaming, crying people,” says Gillan. “I feel like I’ve joined the whole sort of nerd-power world. I used to watch The X-Files and Star Trek, so I always had the potential, but I wasn’t a full geek until I joined this show, and now I’ve become a full-on geek.” (She also notes that some of the male attendees “wouldn’t look me directly in the eye, which is quite funny.”)
As Amy, Gillan has faced off with voracious aliens and Adolf Hitler, played a 65-year-old version of herself, and watched the entire universe reboot itself at least twice. “It’s like no other acting job,” she says. But now she’s leaving midway through the current season. “I didn’t want to overstay my welcome,” she says, “or let it fizzle out in any way. I wanted to leave with a bang, so I thought, now’s the time to do it. I just had this gut instinct.”
Now Gillan is headed for Hollywood, beginning with a horror movie she’ll shoot in Alabama: “I just want to eat some hamburgers there,” she says. But she’s already missing the world of the Doctor. “We wrapped about a month ago, so it’s all done, which is a very strange sensation,” she says. “It feels really weird, because the last three years of my life, like, every day, pretty much, have been running away from monsters. To not be doing that anymore is a bit strange. I’m like, ‘What, I have to do acting jobs where I’m just talking to people in a room? What is this? Where’s the alien?’”
‘Doctor Who’ was named Best Family Drama at the TVChoice Awards in London tonight (10.09.12).
The BBC sci-fi series – starring Matt Smith as the leading character – beat musical TV show ‘Glee’, fantasy series ‘Merlin’ and school-based drama ‘Waterloo Road’ to take home the prize.
The show’s creator Steven Moffat was one of the night’s big winners, with his creation ‘Sherlock’ being named Best Drama Series and its leading star Benedict Cumberbatch – who has made the jump into Hollywood, filming ‘War Horse’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ recently – being named Best Actor.
Miranda Hart won the Best Actress trophy, and the series in which she debuted her dramatic talents, ‘Call The Midwife’, was named Best New Drama.
In the soap category ‘EastEnders’ Shane Richie won Best Actor for his portrayal of Queen Vic landlord Alfie Moon, while ‘Coronation Street’s Michelle Keegan was named Best Actress. ‘EastEnders’ was named Best Soap.
Other winners at the event at the Dorchester Hotel included ‘Celebrity Juice’, which beat ‘The Graham Norton Show’ to win Best Entertainment Show and ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation’ which picked up the prize for Best Food Show.
Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill is among the cast of thespians who’ll be bringing a selection of classic plays to the big screen this autumn, when three stage productions filmed at London’s Globe Theatre are screened in cinemas.
Shakespeare’s Globe has teamed up with Arts Alliance Media to release HD recordings of the Bard’s plays All’s Well That Ends Well, Much Ado About Nothing and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus theatrically in Britain, the USA, Australia and New Zealand in a season of films dubbed Globe on Screen.
As well as Darvill, who plays Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus, the films also include the likes of King’s Speech actress Eve Best taking centre stage in Much Ado and small-screen veteran Michael Bertenshaw heading up the cast in All’s Well.
All’s Well will open in British cinemas on Wednesday 26 September, Much Ado on 10 October and Faustus on 24 October, and you can find more information about the season at the Globe on Screen website.
Torchwood star Eve Myles will play the title role in new BBC drama Frankie.
The six-part series, written by Lucy Gannon (The Best of Men), will follow Frankie, a Bristol nurse who cares more for her patients than her own personal life.
Dean Lennox Kelly (Shameless) will play Frankie’s boyfriend Ian, while Derek Riddell (Ugly Betty) will star as her team member and confidant Andy.
“This is an incredible leading part for a female,” said Myles. “It’s tremendous pressure but also tremendously exciting. I can’t wait to step into Frankie’s shoes and get on set. I’m desperate to start.
“Frankie is an infectious character, she’s electric, quirky, wonderful at her job and adapts to every situation. She’s a vibrant woman trying to live life in the fast lane and juggle a job. Lucy Gannon is an incredible writer and writes relationships so beautifully.”
Gannon herself added: “I’m thrilled to be writing about strong modern people, people you and I might know, in our real life communities, a team of lively, varied people who all – whatever their flaws – are determined to make a difference, to make life better.”
Julia Ford (News Tricks), Leila Mimmack (Inside Men) and Carla Henry (New Street Law) will also star in Frankie, which is currently filming in Bristol and will air on BBC One in early 2013.