SO, WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING TOGETHER?
DT: It's a nightmare. It's very, very difficult. Her flatulence is a big problem. [Laughs].
BP: [Laughs] It really is!
DT: We've had a laugh.
BP: Yeah, we have.
DT: We've had a really good laugh.
BP: Fortunately we get along. We all get along, and we need to, really, because it's long months and it's quite intense and we're shooting 13-hour days. You're thrown together all the time. I feel like I've made a friend for life.
DT: I hope so, yeah. It is weird, because we're the only two constants. Usually on a drama there's a bunch of you who go through the whole thing together, but... Noel and Camille come in and out.
BP: It's always nice to see them.
DT: It's always good to see them. But Billie's the only person I know I'm going to see every day.
BP: I see you more than I see my family, my boyfriend.
DT: That's all right.
BP: [Mockingly] And that's fine by me. I like it. I like it.
DT: That's fine. Just go with it. And luckily we get on and we've had a really good time.
THIS QUESTION'S FOR BILLIE. DID YOU LIKE PLAYING A POSH BAD GIRL IN NEW EARTH?
BP: Love it. Love the posh bad girl.
DT: You're going into Bad Girls to play a posh girl, aren't you?
DT: Actually that's not true.
BP: Do you think they'd want me? It was really fun. Actually, I was quite nervous because it was quite a departure from Rose and it was the first time in Doctor Who I'd played quite a lot of comedy, so I was quite scared. But also very excited. And I think it works OK. I like it. I think it's fun. I'd like to play many more... posh... bad girls.
DAVID, MY MUM AND MY BROTHER'S GIRLFRIEND, THINK YOU'RE REALLY SEXY...
DT: Oh, bless them.
BP: Women love you.
DT: It's all new to me, this.
BP: Women and men... remember the Pink Paper!
DT: Number one in the Pink Paper! Thank you very much. Brad Pitt, number two! David Beckham, number three!
HOW ARE YOU PLAYING TO THESE RADICALLY DIFFERENT DEMOGRAPHICS?
DT: With my knob out?
BP: [uncontrollable laughter]
DT: I don't know how to answer that. I'm just doing my job really. It's not something that even if you were aware of there was anything you could do about it.
BP: I think they were there with Casanova. That's when their obsession started.
BP: I know that, actually, because my mum's on the phone all the time and that definitely started when she saw you in Casanova. Now she's just like, 'Are you sat next to him?' [Laughs].
DT: Ahh, lovely Mandy.
BP: You don't think about it.
DT: How can you think about it? If you started playing to something like that, you'd immediately become unattractive to all these people who apparently find you attractive. It's a mystery to me, but I'm very, very proud of it.
DO YOU GET ANY ODD THINGS SENT TO YOU IN THE POST?
DT: Do you know, just the other day someone sent me a Tom Baker scarf. Full-length, knitted to perfection.
DT: The colours looked right to me as well.
BP: Well, you would know.
DT: I would know. Yeah, that was quite weird.
BP: But nice.
DT: Lovely! That someone sat down and did that!
BP: Yeah I know, it's special.
DT: Every stitch.
BP: We were filming in Cardiff recently, and we got these little Dalek cakes from one of the residents in the street we were filming in. That was nice. Not full size, although I wish they had been because, frankly, they were amazing.
DT: Yeah. Mine was minty. Everyone was a slightly different flavour.
HAVE YOU HAD LADIES' KNICKERS?
BP: I've had some ladies' knickers in the post.
DT: Have you?
DT: I dream of ladies' knickers in the post.
MY MUM'S GOT SOME FOR YOU.
DT: Has she? Send them round. [Laughs]
BP: Mandy'll be knock-knock-knocking at that door to give them to you. It's fine… we love lowering the tone.
BILLIE, HOW HAS THE CHANGE IN DOCTOR AFFECTED YOU?
BP: Well, they're different people; Chris and David are very different. Both equally as nice and a lot of fun. So, it's fine. You just get on with it.
HAS THE CHANGE IN DOCTOR BROUGHT OUT DIFFERENT THINGS IN ROSE?
BP: Yeah, I think I am different as Rose when I'm playing opposite David. It's a different kind of energy.
DT: But then Rose is growing-up as well, isn't she?
BP: Rose is growing-up. She's 20 this year and she's come on in leaps and bounds, I think, since the first series. She's a lot more proactive and she saves the day quite a few times. It's just a natural progression, really. And it's worked out really nicely.
DT: Rose's family are a big theme for the whole of the second season, actually.
BP: It's quite domestic. Maybe as domestic, if not more this year. I know she's going to get to travel with Mickey as well, which again throws the dynamic into a different place. You know, it's fun. It's great.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST SCENE TOGETHER?
BP: Oh God, what was our first scene together?
DT: It was at the end of the Christmas special. We were both in it together, but we didn't have a lot to do together. It's when I tell Harriet Jones to go and stuff herself. That was the first scene we ever shot.
BP: Oh yeah. We were just off the M4 weren't we? I remember that, because we were in London.
DT: In a wasteland in London.
BP: You know as you come in – if you want the details – as you come in off the M4 and you see the Lucozade sign on the left. It was just on the right [laughs]. I know, because I like that sign.
YOU SNOG WITH DAVID.
BP: I'm telling you, she's a little minx.
WHAT WAS HE LIKE IN COMPARISON TO CHRIS?
BP: How do they compare? Oh, I don't know.
DT: I'm sitting right here.
BP: Different, just different. They're different men. I don't know how to answer that, really. Both great. I had a longer kiss with you, which I really enjoyed.
DT: But you were more proactive in this kiss.
DT: You were making it happen.
BP: Yeah. It was quite sexy. Quite nice lips.
DT: Thanks very much. Yours aren't too bad either.
BP: It was fun.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CHARACTER?
DT: I'm 950 years old, that's the biggest similarity.
BP: And he's got two hearts.
DT: And I've got two hearts, yeah.
BP: Because there's a lot of love there.
DT: Ahh, too much.
BP: I think I'm quite ballsy like Rose. I like a bit of a gamble and that's something that I tapped into when I read the script and that's what made me want to go to the audition. I like people like that... Would I ever wear her clothes? No!
DT: She's got some nice gear!
BP: Yes, she has some good clothes. It's not my style, that's Rose's style.
DT: Sure, sure.
WOULD YOU LIKE ROSE AND DOCTOR TO GET MORE ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED?
DT: I think...
BP: I like it that you can't put your finger on it.
DT: Yeah. I... [realises the double entendre, much laughter]
DT: I think it's like all these relationships, like Mulder and Scully and Moonlighting, you know. Moonlighting jumped the shark when they got together, didn't it? I think you have to be very careful. Which doesn't mean to say that we don't see the relationship developing and becoming something that it maybe hasn't before. But I think you have to be very careful with those things.
BP: You want it to happen, but at the same time you don't want it to happen. It's one of those weird things. It's like Ross and Rachel...
BP: You want them to get it back on, but then you don't have the anticipation.
DT: Your expectation is actually more exciting.
BP: Yeah, exactly.
YOU'RE CURRENTLY FILMING WITH PETER KAY...
DT: We are, yeah.
WHAT'S IT LIKE?
BP: Hard work.
DT: Hard work, yeah, just because you can't stop laughing, unfortunately. He just channels funny.
BP: You just look at him and you laugh. That's not going to sound very nice. But no. You see him on the telly, his shows and his stand- ups and you think, 'I can't believe I'm working with you!'
DT: Yeah, yeah.
BP: It's so exciting.
DT: And when you see him done up as he is done up…
BP: And he does his gags as well.
ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE INTEREST YOU'VE HAD? YOU WERE BEING DISCUSSED ON NEWSNIGHT BY GERMAINE GREER, MENTIONED IN VOGUE...
DT: What did Germaine Greer say about you?
BP: I don't know.
DT: What did Germaine Greer say?
SHE SAID YOUR WERE ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ACTORS RIGHT NOW.
DT: Quite right too.
BUT DID YOU EXPECT TO BECOME THE BIGGEST STAR OF THE SHOW?
BP: Erm, well...
[DT looked pained]
DT: Who is that?! Get rid of him! Please leave!
BP: Yeah, that's all about to change!
DT: Not at all.
BP: No, erm. It's very cool being in Vogue. I like that. It's an exciting time for me to be alive and then to do something that I've wanted to do since I've been a kid. That means so much to me. And being here tonight and watching it. I just can't quite believe that it's all really happened and I'm really liking it and loving it and want to continue to do it for years. All of those things are just a bonus, really. The fact that I'm working everyday as an actress makes me really happy.
SO YOU'RE STICKING WITH DOCTOR WHO?
BP: Yes, I'm sticking with the Who.
ARE THERE OTHER ROLES YOU'D REALLY LIKE TO DO?
DT: I don't think you know until it's written.
BP: No. You're right. And also, it's hard to think further than...
BP: Yeah in the midst of everything that's going on at the moment, it's quite hard to consider our future, I think. But, you know. Scripts are welcome [laughs]. I don't know. I don't have any big projects; I don't really have a plan. Maybe I should have, but I don't. [To David] Do you?
DT: No I don't. I've never done that. I've never done that, 'In three years time I have to be starring in X'.
BP: No. And life changes so much all the time…
DT: You can't know, and you're only going to frustrate yourself thinking like that.
BP: If you haven't got those things, yeah.
DT: I think we've both been very lucky. We've had some fantastic scripts that come our way...
BP: So far it's been brilliant.
DT: ... and you just hope that'll continue to happen. But you can't predict what flavour they're going to taste of.
BP: We were just saying downstairs that some of the telly in the UK at the moment is so brilliant and there's so much going on that it's a really exciting time to be working as a TV actor. So that's great.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PLAY THE DOCTOR WITH AN ENGLISH ACCENT?
DT: It was what Russell had schemed, really, and there was an idea that the Doctor would imprint on Rose, like a sort of newly hatched chick. He would adopt Rose's way of speaking. And this was all explained in the Christmas special...
BP: But we never filmed it.
DT: The scene never got made because we ran out of time. So we're just sort of left with it now. I don't know. It's how Russell wanted to take the show and it's how he wanted the Doctor to be.
BP: It would be too much of a gag if he got everyone speaking in their accents.
DT: I think that was the other danger. Because Chris so brilliantly reinvented it by being Northern and being unashamed about that, it could have got a bit 'touring the regions', you know. But you're going to have to ask Russell what the thinking was behind that.
DID I HEAR A SCOTTISH ACCENT IN THE PREVIEW OF ONE OF THOSE UPCOMING EPISODES?
DT: Well observed, yes.
BP: That's because we're in Scotland.
DT: We do end up in Scotland.
BP: We have to blag our way...
DT: The Doctor being an incorrigible show-off, of course, shows off that he can do the accent, which luckily...
BP: He can, [Laughs]. Rose has a go, God bless her.
DT: Yeah. Not good.
BP: Not great.
WHEN DID YOU STOP FEELING LIKE THE NEW BOY?
BP: Day one.
DT: Well, do you know, it sort of is day one. You feel like the new boy until you start, because there was months of build up, months of waiting for it to start, months of people speculating about it and asking you about it and asking what you're going to be like and what you're going to be wearing – you didn't know. That was when it felt... it was most difficult.
WAS IT FRUSTRATING?
DT: I suppose it was. It was daunting as well. It just felt like that this huge big thing that you were never going to be able to come to terms with.
BP: It happened to you, but it's still so distant. That's always quite a weird feeling.
DT: Exactly. But then from day one, because ... Partly because day one starts and you've got to learn your lines and get on and do the scene. You've just got to do your job. And partly because Bill and everyone else being so welcoming and so open and generous that they never made me feel like the new boy. And just, once you get cracking at it you just have to...
BP: Just get on with it.
DT: ... catch up and get on with it. So I suppose that's when it stopped.
YOU'RE A HARDCORE FAN OF THE SHOW, IS THAT FAIR COMMENT?
DT: It's a relative term, that, isn't it?
BP: Ask him anything. Go on! I love this game [laughs]. You're so good at it.
DT: [Sheepishly] Kasterborous.
YOU'RE PRETTY DEDICATED, AREN'T YOU?
DT: I've got a couple of DVDs at home, yeah.
DO YOU EVER NIT-PICK THE CONTINUITY IN THE SCRIPTS?
DT: Russell's much better than I am. Russell's on a whole level deeper than I am. And then there's Phil Collinson [producer] who keeps it a bit quiet, but he's right down in there. He knows it backwards.
DIDN'T HE RUN A FAN GROUP?
DT: He is hardcore, he's well hardcore.
BP: Did he really? Run a Doctor Who fan group?
DT: I didn't know that, but I can believe it.
CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON LEFT BECAUSE HE SAID HE WAS SCARED OF BEING TYPECAST. WAS HE RIGHT TO THINK THAT?
BP: I don't know if he did say that.
DT: I don't think he did.
BP: I think he was misquoted as usual. I don't think he did say that. I think that was taken out of turn.
DT: You can worry about things like that and you can never take a job. Either, you get offered something wonderful like this and you can worry yourself into turning it down, or you can think, 'Well, I'm going to take it and I'm going to see what happens'. I wouldn't have missed this for the world. So, what happens, happens.
SO YOU'RE GOING TO STICK AROUND.
DT: Well, if I survive the end of episode 13.
COULD YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE WORKING WITH LIS SLADEN?
DT: It's interesting how the episode works, I think. If you know about Sarah Jane Smith, you kind of watch the episode from the point of view of the Doctor. And if you are younger or don't know that Lis Sladen was in the show before, you kind of watch it through Rose. And funnily enough, that was reflected in our own experience, because I grew up watching Lis in the show.
BP: I didn't know who she was.
DT: Billie's a little bit younger than me, so she didn't.
BP: Well, I knew who she was. Her hair gave her away. She's got great hair.
DT: She's got amazing hair.
BP: Amazing legs!
DT: Yeah, amazing legs.
BP: She's hot.
DT: She is quite hot. So, I think, again, what's clever about the way the writers approach this show is they make nods to the past, but they don't exclude anyone who wasn't there. And I think that episode is a real testament to the way that's been handled.
BP: Yeah, it's funny. We have a great bitch-fight. And, it starts off... I mean, we're just waiting to go at each other. And we're both quite jealous, I think, which we find it quite hard to cope with... but we're straight in there. And it's good. And in the end Rose actually asks her questions about what it was like being with the Doctor and should she stay on as a companion. Is she going to be burnt? Is she going to be left behind? All of these things. She confides in her. So it was nice, nice to play.
DT: Again, what's clever about the way this show works is it exists on several levels. It's an adventure story but it does go to some quite interesting emotional places as well.
BP: That's really cool, yeah.
DT: And Russell doesn't shy away from that and I think that's what gives it that extra texture.
BILLIE, HAVE YOU BEEN EDUCATED IN DOCTOR WHO NOW?
BP: I'm still a bit crap, let's be honest. Please don't ask me anything, because I'll just panic and start sweating. I can't cope with it. No, go on.
HAVE YOU SAT DOWN AND WATCHED SOME OF THE OLD DVDS?
BP: We haven't had time! We haven't had time!
DT: No, no.
BP: We often do... we do... we sit and laugh at it sometimes. No, the thing is we're dealing with what's going on at the moment, and we have to because every day is full on and every day you have to concentrate and commit. So, that's enough to cope with, for me, at the moment.
DT: Rose doesn't know what's gone before.
BP: Rose doesn't know it, so that works quite nicely [laughs].
DT: How convenient.
BP: Talk about convenience. But, yeah, I have learnt bits and bobs. The fans have taught me quite a lot. And some of the old books. What's funny is that I didn't really understand sci-fi before I started Doctor Who and I just didn't really get it. Now I have this whole... I don't know, I'm loving it more and more. That's a good place to be. Then I'll start exploring the past and what's gone before.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO LET OFF STEAM AND RELAX?
DT: You just kind of collapse, really, at the weekend.
BP: You pad around your flat a lot, going to Tesco all the time, buying pasta.
DT: Tesco is good. Not Tesco per se. I support all supermarkets!
BP: You live near a Tesco.
DT: I live near it, yeah.
BP: I just sit on the sofa for two days and don't really do that much.
DT: They're such long days. We're both up tomorrow at 6am, and we'll both be there until 8pm, or whatever it is. You go home and you learn lines for the next day. So come the weekend you don't have the energy for...
BP: I don't even want to talk to anyone. I like to sit in my flat and be completely selfish. Watch TV, eat far too much food, drink some beers. Sounds good actually.
DT: Yeah, shall we come around?
WHAT GADGET OR TOOL WOULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER?
DT: Ending on an easy one, then!
BP: I know! A Swiss army knife.
BP: Yeah! Those things are good!
DT: What would you use it for?
BP: Everything! Have you seen those things?
DT: Well, you know. You'd use the bottle-opener once in a while.
BP: No but, these new ones that are out are great.
DT: They've got iPods in them.
BP: iPods, everything. I could do with one of those, actually. I asked for one last year and didn't get one.
DT: I need a new top for my table, does that count?
BP: That's not a gadget.
DT: No? I broke my kitchen table.
BILLIE, AREN'T YOU WORRIED YOU'LL NOW GET KNIVES IN THE POST?
BP: That would be a bit scary.
ARE YOU GOING TO REGRET YOU SAID THAT?
BP: No, I love 'em!
You can read an exclusive interview with David Tennant in issue 143 of SFX (on sale from Wednesday 12 April) and discover more about classic and modern Doctor Who episodes in SFX Collection 24: Doctor Who 2006. Have fun!
Thanks to sfx.co.uk