An interview with Alexander Armstrong who plays Reg Arwel in the Doctor Who Christmas Special.l
What can you reveal about your character?
I play Reg Arwell, who is a bomber pilot in the Second World War. We witness him flying over the channel and all the navigation equipment completely stops working. It doesn’t look good for him! His wife Madge then receives a slip of paper saying that a ‘Reg’ is missing and presumed dead. Their two children hope that their Daddy is going to be back for Christmas and that’s when the Doctor gets involved to return a favour to Madge as she helps him out at the very beginning of the episode.
Did you enjoy working with your co-stars?
Amazing. Lovely to work with Claire Skinner again, I did a drama with her called Life Begins a couple of years ago. But the real treat was working with Matt, who’s just a tremendously fine fellow and an excellent person to hang out on set with. As you can imagine, there’s an awful lot of time between takes and I can think of few nicer people to spend time with than Matt.
Doctor Who will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Are you a fan?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to be in and there really isn’t another show like Doctor Who. The heritage of it is amazing and when the BBC got it going again it suddenly took on a whole new life. It has all the charm and ingenuity of the first incarnation but it also has Russell and now Steven’s really current TV brains behind it, people who are so literate in really good television that gets you thinking. With Christopher, David and now Matt, this Doctor Who has kind of gone nuts. I mean my Doctor Who when I was young was Tom Baker, I loved Tom Baker, everyone did, but the Doctor these days has taken on a sort of rock star status.
Did you enjoy filming in Cardiff?
Brilliant, it was lovely. It was a fantastic journey out of Cardiff down to the studio – a really beautiful part of Wales. We filmed in an amazing Victorian castle looking right out on the Gower peninsular. It was absolutely stunning.
What will you be doing on Christmas day?
Entertaining children, trying to keep a lid on sugary treats and desperately rationing presents because our children got high on them last year. Also, we will of course be watching Doctor Who. I really hope it’s another cold Christmas; I loved the cold winter last year. A bit of snow and a bit of sledging – it’ll be great.