INTERVIEW: ‘Doctor Who’ star Carole Ann Ford at L.I. Who

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The original TARDIS crew: Ian (William Russell), the Doctor (William Hartnell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Susan (Carole Anne Ford). [BBC photo]

Twice last fall – at RoberCon and L.I. Who – I found myself on fan panels discussing the many companions that Doctor Who has featured since it began in 1963. Both times, I made the argument that the best TARDIS crew may have been the original four: the Doctor (played by William Hartnell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill).

As schoolteachers, Ian and Barbara were capable adults and equal to the Doctor in many ways, a situation that arguably has not repeated itself since, and Susan blended human and alien qualities (although not as much as Carole Ann Ford would have liked). The humans softened up the Doctor’s approach to other people and to the universe, and together they were an unstoppable team – even against the dreaded Daleks. Because Doctor Who was still finding its footing in the early years, those stories remain fascinating to watch now.

So it was quite a thrill to get to meet Ms. Ford at L.I. Who last year and interview her about her time on the show. She’s had mixed feelings about how the role of Susan affected the rest of her acting career but she’s always seemed kind and considerate to Doctor Who fans.

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Carole Ann Ford vs. the fanboy. [Photo by Adrienne Wise]

In my interview with her, we discussed the chemistry of the original cast, her meeting with current Doctor Peter Capaldi (who has insisted she return to the show at some point) as well as reviving the role of Susan for various Big Finish audio adventures.

[This is the last of my L.I. Who interviews, but look for more from the Signal archive coming up soon.]

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