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24 September 2014
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Anthony Head in Doctor Who
Anthony Head as Mr Finch

Who's Head of the class

Anthony Head, who lives near Bath, isn't the Master but tops a survey among Doctor Who fans. And he's not the only link Somerset has to the extraterrestrial explorer.

Anthony Head
Anthony Head on his farm

Readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Anthony Head (star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the best villain of the recent series of Doctor Who.

He played Mr Finch in episode three of the second season of the BBC sci-fi series.

bbc.co.uk/somerset's Helen Otter travelled through space and time (well, actually just through Somerset!) to visit Tony on his farm in April 2006.

Over a cup of tea, he said of his role: "It felt on the page very subdued, but there were other scenes where I just let rip to see what would happen - some stuff came out that surprised both me and the crew!"

Tony just missed out on also being crowned best supporting actor.

Will Thorp in Doctor Who
Will Thorp as Toby

Since playing Mr Finch, the former Buffy star has read a Doctor Who audio book at studios in Bath.

Sneaking up behind Anthony Head for the best-villain title is another Somerset actor - Will Thorp, who grew up in Frome.

The former Casualty actor played scientist Toby who transformed in the Beast in a two-parter: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.

The Somerset connections with David Tennant's Doctor don't end there.

Parts of episode six of the third series, starring the League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss, have been filmed in Wells Cathedral.

The Wells Journal reported in October 2006 that David Tennant was spotted by fans in the city's branch of Starbucks enjoying a cup of strong coffee before filming - his alter-ego prefers tea.

Scary Sarah

Yeovil-born Sarah Parish stars as the evil Empress of Racnoss in the 2006 Christmas special.

There is a web of intrigue over what The Runaway Bride (also starring Catherine Tate) will be like, but we do know Sarah's character is a human-spider hybrid who aims to: "Harvest the humans!"

Sarah Parish in Doctor Who
Sarah Parish as the Empress of Racnoss

Sarah told BBC Breakfast: "I think it's the biggest real monster that Doctor Who has ever done. They've done big CGI monsters but this was actually made."

She had to endure punishing 14-hour days to become the awesome arachnid. These included a full two hours in the prosthetics department each morning of the three-day shoot, where she was fitted with a prosthetic head, contact lenses and dentures.

Wearing a body suit, she then took her place within the complex set, having to contort her body into a kneeling position and arch her back for the entire 11 hours of shooting, before spending a further hour at the end of the day having everything removed.

See if Sarah's efforts were worth it - and if Catherine Tate's character, Donna, will make it to the church on time - on Christmas Day!

Doctor Who: The Runaway Bride was shown on BBC ONE at 7pm (1900 GMT) on Christmas Day 2006

last updated: 27/12/06
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