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Claire Skinner interviewed: Dr Who Xmas 2011

13/12/2011. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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An interview with actress Claire Skinner (of Outnumbered fame), who plays Madge Arwell in the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special. This is the seventh Christmas special since the shows revival in 2005.

Who do you play in the Christmas Special?

I play a character called Madge Arwell who, first and foremost, is a mother. It just informs everything about her character. What I found attractive about the role is that shes warm and a thoroughly decent woman, as well as being quite straight down the line. In the episode she gets tested and challenged and its interesting to see how she handles different things and adapts to various situations for the sake of her children.

What was it like working with Matt Smith?

Lovely! A really nice experience. Hes thoroughly charming, good fun and has loads of energy.

What about the other guest stars?

Ive worked with Alexander Armstrong before, so it was great to see him again. Weve actually been fishing together! Bill Bailey is just completely brilliant; a really nice, natural and funny bloke. And the children as well. Maurice and Holly were just delightful, completely lovely.

Are you a fan of Doctor Who?

Yes for several reasons actually. My son watches it, my husband has directed it before and my father in-law was in an episode. Its a nice connection to have.

How did it feel being cast in such an iconic show?

I was very excited to be in it, both because its Doctor Who and also a great script. When I got the call I was like Yay, at last Im going to be in Doctor Who.

How did you find filming on location?

We shot some scenes outside in a public space and it was an unusual experience acting in front of huge crowds of people who had come to watch. I had to drive a car down the road, which took about 500 takes, and they applauded my driving each time. It was lovely, but I hadnt been quite ready for that.

What do you think is the scariest Doctor Who monster of all time?

Its not exactly a monster, but the creepy people in the gas masks in series one were pretty scary. They definitely freaked both my children out at the time.

What will you be doing on Christmas day?

I will be with my family and my husbands family; a traditional Christmas. Well of course be watching Doctor Who.

What other Christmas TV do you like?

I like traditional comedy; Im such a fan of Morecambe and Wise. Weve got the box set, so we always get that out at Christmas.

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