The Daleks Are Scary - but Cybermen Are as Well and Don't Bump into Each Other; Exclusive Freema Agyeman Gives Us the Lowdown on Her First Meeting with Doctor Who's Deadliest Enemies

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), April 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Daleks Are Scary - but Cybermen Are as Well and Don't Bump into Each Other; Exclusive Freema Agyeman Gives Us the Lowdown on Her First Meeting with Doctor Who's Deadliest Enemies


Byline: By Rick Fulton

NEW Doctor Who companion Freema Agyeman meets the Daleks tonight ... but admits she's far more scared by another breed of murderous metallic villain.

As Martha Jones, Freema and the Doctor, who's played by Scot David Tennant, discover the Daleks weren't wiped out during the finale of last year's series, which saw Rose being lost in another dimension.

But Freema has already appeared as a small character called Adeola in the last series, who was killed by a Cyberman.

Perhaps that explains her fear and she laughed: "I find the Cybermen scarier than Daleks."

However, the gorgeous actress was still bowled over when she first came face to face with the evil metal monsters.

She said: "It was amazing. I'd never seen the Daleks for real until we did the scenes.

"When I walked into the studio and there was half a Dalek in the corner, I looked away.

"I thought 'I don't want my first experience of a Dalek to not be in its entirety', but I was so excited when I knew it was going to be a Dalek day.

"So of course they came rolling on and it was incredible. It was like holding a sonic screwdriver for the first time, or standing outside the blue box, or walking into theTardis.

"All those moments, it's like goosebumps, heart racing.

"You think 'I'm actually part of this and I can't believe it'.

"So the Daleks were a big moment. And it was quite funny because moments later two of them turned around at the same time and bumped into each other!

"Then you heard the voices of the men inside who were operating them go 'Oh, sorry' and I laughed. That just killed any menace they had."

So is Martha related to her old character?

Freema giggles: "No, the writers have found a clever way around it. You'll see."

Her new-found star status in one of the UK's biggest shows - ratings of the new series top eight million - is a far cry from Freema's tough upbringing on the Woodberry Down estate in London where problems with guns, gangs and crime are rife.

Born to an Iranian mother and Ghanaian father, who split when she was young, the actress dismisses suggestions she didn't have the best of starts.

She said: "We weren't eating gravy every night for dinner, but we might not have been going out for five-star meals.

"I'm not saying it was all perfect for everybody but in my personal experience it was just fine."

After going to the local Catholic comprehensive, she attended the Anna Scher Theatre School before studying arts and drama at Middlesex University.

Since 2001 Freema's been a jobbing actress who's had minor roles in The Bill, Casualty, Silent Witness and Crossroads, and made ends meet by working in Blockbuster.

She admits she's honoured to be a black actress in a high-profile programme with such a long and illustrious television history.

Freema said: "I'm so chuffed. It's a real telling sign of the times that Doctor Who was voted a British icon not so long ago and you've now got a black assistant, a black companion, in there.

"It's massive - and a huge milestone for me and for non-white actors in this country.

"It's a highly coveted lead female part, but the flipside is the kind of labelling that comes with it. Of course I am the first black companion, I know people are going to pick up on that, but it's that label of 'black companion', when it should just be 'companion' or 'actor' after a while.

"I appreciate that's going to be there, but that's why the part is so special. It's not stereotypical in any way, there are no limitations on colour or sex. It's just liberating.

"When you're fighting extra terrestrials, the differences between mankind become quite insignificant.

"I'm proud to be black and proud to be an actor, but the two aren't necessarily synonymous in this part. …

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