Nicola Bryant On.....

Nicola On...Peri.

"I feel that Peri didn't develop as I hoped, because I saw her as a very naive innocent kid. So, it would have been nice to have taken her from square one, and developed her but I suppose that doesn't happen, because there isn't one writer, and it's impossible for Eric (Saward) and John to completely oversee character development." (DWM, Dec 1986)

"When I first saw the script, I thought that Peri could have been an accurate reflection of young students in the late '80's. But I soon found out that this wasn't going to be the case, when on location, one of the make-up artists asked what nail polish I wanted, and I replied that I didn't think Peri would wear any, only to have then insist she would." (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

"Peri's constant complaining was quite normal really when you consider the stupid things that the Doctor ends up doing. I think anyone would end up saying, 'I just don't believe we are doing this again.' I think that it's easy to criticise characters for doing things that are normal. But it is often impossible to actually play the real situation, so you play as much of it as you can " (DWM, Dec 1986)

"A key quality of Peri was her spunkiness, because even if she didn't necessarily resolve all the situations - she was the companion after all, and that's the way things are set up - at least she wasn't a coward....She was just out there doing it." (DWM, March 1996)

"I never warmed to the name Perpugilliam, but I like Peri as a name. John Nathan Turner found it in a book. Apparently, in the Sixties, mothers in America were naming their children with particularly long ostentatious names. Obviously, John was using this to typify the kind of background that Peri had had, and the kind of mother she had." (DWM, Dec 1986)

"It's difficult to say how much of me is in Peri - the moment I started to read for the part, I said 'I know this girl - I know her, she's me'. So, I started to think that there was a lot of me in the part as it was written. That's why I felt sure, I could play her. But in the event I couldn't say really that there's more than half of me in Peri." (DWM, Jan 1985)

Nicola On...Peter Davison.

"When I joined I had no idea that Peter would be leaving. I had this whole background worked out for my character, which only worked with his Doctor. I was even briefed that Peter's Doctor would become a father figure for Peri." (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

"I didn't know Peter was leaving when I joined, and I saw no reason why Peri would stay if the new Doctor became a less amicable character, which is what happened." (DWM, Oct 1990)

Nicola On...Colin Baker.

"Peter [Davison] successfully managed to wind me up completely about the new Doctor, he said, 'Do you know who the next Doctor Who is going to be?', and I said 'Yes, I understand it's Colin Baker.' And he went... [puts on a sour look] 'Yeah... good luck...'... And so, every day, he was putting in a little dig, there'd be a little mention about how difficult Colin Baker was. By the time Peter left , and Colin came in, I was really nervous. And we were filming, or re hearsing this sequence where, as the Doctor, he's going through this cowardly period, and he's cowering behind Peri, and he's holding onto the back of Peri saying 'Don't shoot! Don't shoot!'... And he sinks his teeth into my bum! And this is like day two or three of rehearsal ! And I'm thinking 'I know exactly what Peter was talking about!' So that night, as I was settling in, I thought 'Do I call Peter? No , no, I can manage, I can handle this...' So I'm standing in a queue for lunch the next day, and I turn to Colin and I say: 'I'll buy you lunch... it's part of a truce.' And he says, 'I didn't realize we were at war.', and I said 'Oh yes we are!' He went, 'Oh. I thought you were enjoying it. I thought that was all a sort of act.' And I said, 'No. I was really upset.' And we sort of, from that day on, we're bosom buddies. But it took a whole week of really what felt like hell " (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"I love working with Colin, and we get on really well, so practically any project that Colin is involved in or vice versa... and in fact he tried to do the show that I've just done, he tried to arrange that. If we ever think there's any possibility of either one of us being right for the other part, we always contact each other and say 'Do you want to do this?' " (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

Nicola On...Working with Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines.

"I think of myself as very lucky when I consider how many Doctors I've gotten to work with. And especially lucky to be doing that special, in that wonderful setting in Spain, working with Patrick... and the idea of actually swapping companions made it even more exciting, because... I don't actually recall any of Frazer's episodes, they were before the time when I would have been old enough to watch Doctor Who. Patrick and I became bosom buddies in the rehearsal room, because... Colin sort of went through a metamorphosis when Frazer joined; he suddenly turned into this prankster! And he had been, you know, reasonably well behaved after the first week, when I met him. But suddenly, because Frazer was joking around and playing silly pranks, Colin decided he was going to join in... And Patrick and I were of course always the victims of whatever the pranks were, 'cause they just thought, you know, we were good for a few jokes. But I felt really proud to be able to work with Patrick. It was tremendous watching him work and working with him. He was a terrific man, really great." (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

Nicola On...Costume.

"Displaying cleavage was not an in-character move for Peri, but it was a very in-JNT (John Nathan-Turner) thing to do." (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

"I mean, basically, the problem as far as I was concerned with the wardrobe was that my character got started in a bikini and never got dressed, it seemed! What a good start! And I think that's alright if you're, you know, playing Leela, because you're from another planet and you're a kind of primitive. But when you're supposed to be representing, you know, a student of the '80s, I just thought, 'Where are these high heels and the shorts from?' You know..." (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"I think everybody kind of knows that I was no friends with my costumes!....I was given this stipulation when I got the job, that to come to the press release, I needed to wear something short and something very feminine. I went through my wardrobe and I couldn't find anything that fitted that description, so I rang him up and I said 'I don't have anything like that!' I mean, I couldn't think of anything that really fitted that. So he said well, 'Do you work out?', and I said yes. He said, 'Well, do you have any leotards? ', and I said yes. He said, 'Do those fit?', and I said yes. He said, 'Well, bring those!' So I did. He said, 'Do you have any shorts?'. I said 'Well, yes.' He said, 'Well, are they short?'. I said, 'Well, they're shorts!' And so I brought those. So I ended up wearing shorts and a leotard, not the kind of thing I normally walk around town in. Although I must admit, when you consider that, I suppose, Peri was wearing them in 1983, and it kind of became a bit of a fashion! " (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"I have about 0.1 percent choice regarding my costume. I might get a favourite colour if I'm lucky. In 'Attack of the Cybermen', I start in a shocking pink leotard, then get into a sort of red jumpsuit. That wasn't my choice at all - we were aiming for a completely different colour, but the one supplied by the costume department was big enough for two Peris ! So, we had to rush and grab something off the peg." (DWM, Jan 1985)

"In my second story, I had to wear the same skimpy costume from 'Planet of Fire', for location recording in Poole, and it was sub-zero temperatures. I remember at one point, a rather annoyed cameraman saying 'Will you slap that girl, she's gone a bit blue' " (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

"My costume in 'The Two Doctors' was sort of like coloured tin foil. Aluminum foil. I felt that should have been referred to as 'the roast chicken'. And the first few times I wore it, I felt like my chest was on fire, 'cause I was like burning up underneath, 'cause it was really pulling in all the rays. Then they decided, very kindly, they put a lining in it, so it didn't, sort of, scratch and burn me to death. But I think probably I was more comfortable than most people, because Colin couldn't keep any makeup on, Patrick was really very very hot, 'cause he had those woolly trousers on, and Frazer had boots and a warm kilt, so he wasn't enjoying the heat very much at all, and at least I had a pair of cotton shorts on, so I was like 'Ha ha!'. I was fully better off for the first time, or the only time in all of the show, than anyone else! " (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"Costume-wise, I was really happy with the last season. It's a relief, especially in this climate...I get to be clothed, which is all I can say. I think the things I'm wearing reflect Peri's character slightly more, as I originally saw her" (DWM, Dec 1986)

"I enjoyed doing the publicity shot after I had left the most. There was a whole group of BBC personalities, but I enjoyed it because no one could tell me what to wear, as I had already left the series. So , I attended the shoot in a trouser-suit, and the press were livid, and asked if I would be changing, I had great delight in saying, 'No'. " (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

Nicola On...Joining "Dr Who".

"It was the first job I got, although I did have 2 dancing jobs when I left college, but Equity wouldn't accept those in order to allow me to get my Equity Card. So I had to turn those down, and I was only out of college ten days when I was put up for 'Doctor Who' An agent had seen me in college and so he put me up for it, and after about a month I started to realise that I was in with a chance, whereas I had just thought 'well, this will be a fun thing, and you never know they might give me a little part.' The minute I realised I was in with a chance, I took out a cabaret to get an Equity Card (the BBC couldn't give me one); pubs, clubs, hotels, private parties, anywhere I could get contracts, singing and playing the piano. So that's what got me my Equity Card, and the minute I let John (Nathan-Turner) know, I got the job the next day." (DWM, Dec 1986)

" My first day was my most embrassing. We were filming the drowning sequence. We'd built this sort of armour-plated bikini top with the most incredibly thick elastic. We thought it would be terribly safe, and Mark (Strickson) and I were doing the drowning bit, and Mark was saying "okay", and we knew that the next time I was going to surrender as I got to the surface, because we were swallowing a lot of water doing that. And as I came to the surface, I realised I'd fallen out of my bikini top, and on the beach was The Daily Star, and so I went "Uhuh!!", clobbered Mark, and dived back down into the water." (DWM, Dec 1986)

Nicola On...Leaving "Dr Who".

"I didn't really decide to leave the show, in the sense that I had a contract when I joined, which was for three seasons, which I fulfilled. There was a possibility that I, you know, could have stayed another season, they were interested in that. But I fulfilled my contract, and as someone who had just left drama school, to spend that amount of time involved in a series is actually a long time. I was kind of itching to play something else." (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"I loved the way I was written out. I know a lot of people didn't, but I enjoyed it. I had lunch with John Nathan Turner before we were starting the next series and they were in the process of writing it. And he told me the idea of the trial, and everything they wanted to do. And he said: How did I want to leave the series? And I said 'Well, with a bang!'. Which of course got misquoted in the press. But I wanted something a bit more dramatic than, sort of, shaking hands and wiping a tear away, and going 'Goodbye, Doctor. I'll send you a postcard.', you know. I felt that their relationship demanded something a bit more than that. And when they came up with the idea of the mind transplant, and getting my head shaved and all that, I was like, 'Yes! Great! Drama!' And I really enjoyed it. I mean, I enjoyed having the bald cap and having a chance to change the voice and do something a bit interesting. " (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"..It was also terribly sad filming the last stories, because although I knew I was going, and everything was agreed and finalised, I couldn't help but feeling sad to be leaving such a team....Because I had come straight out of drama school, which was like a unit, then straight into another group for three years on 'Doctor Who'..suddenly to be out there in the big wide world was scary." (DWM, April 1996)

Nicola On..."Blackadder's Christmas Carol".

"Rowan (Atkinson), actually, is not at all a sort of prankster or a joking person, which is what I'd expected working with him. He's very serious and very quiet..Tony Robinson was sort of, in a way, like the team cheerleader, he sort of gets everybody together and gets everything going. And Ben Elton is really, very much, with Richard Curtis, the driving force behind that team. And we were constantly changing things, in rehearsal. What was in the script was being constantly changed, because little ideas would come up. But working with Rowan was great fun." (Panel Interview, WishCon IV, Nov 1994 )

"Working with Ben Elton was very interesting. I was instructed by the director to go to the loo for two minutes, and come back with the most obnoxious laugh I could find - akin to a machine gun !" (TV Zone Eighties Special, 1993)

Return to Cavern of Nicola Bryant.