ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview With Doctor Who Legend Katy Manning - Part 2
By James W, Tuesday 2nd June 2015

Katy ManningMulti-talented Katy Manning has been acting and directing for over 40 years but to Doctor Who fans across the globe she will always be associated with the character of Jo Grant. Companion to the Third Doctor, Jo was brought vividly to life by Katy and so became a fan favourite.

We were lucky enough to chat with Katy and here in the second part of an exclusive interview Katy talks more about Jo, her return to the character and her plans for the future.

HC: Was Jon Pertwee very different in private then he was in public?

KM: No, on some levels no. But on other levels there was an adventurous child lived inside Jon.  Of course I still have child in me and never grew up. He had a very silly sense of humour which you didn’t see much in public. He took the job very seriously which was wonderful he’s that kind of actor, a bit like (Peter) Capaldi.  We worked really hard if we thought there was something illogical in script we’d stop and work on it. Some people would say he was difficult, I don’t think that’s difficult I think that is caring. If you really care about what you’re doing, you’re going to want to make sure that every little bit along with everyone else if you see something you’ve got to put your hand up and say so. This was technically Jon’s first straight role and this was very, very important to him. But for me he was a joy to work with and if he did get a bit difficult I was the one sent in to make it fine again.

HC: We’re showing a couple of your adventures on the Horror Channel; Terror Of The Autons and Carnival Of Monsters, do you have a favourite one between the two?

KM: Well obviously Terror Of The Autons as it was my first one, that was the one I did my leg in and had to go to hospital and some naughty boy said that they’ll recast as I’d only did a minute on film and I was in tears, Jon nearly killed him! He said, “How dare you wind her up!” (begins to laugh), anyway when we got into the studio and I can’t see and I didn’t have my glasses with me I went to shake hands with Jon and they had put up all this laboratory stuff and all I could see was a blur of tubing so I put my hand through the machinery (laughs) which set jo up straight away. It as a lovely moment to the start of this couple who got on very well.

HC: I have to ask, what’s your favourite moment from working on the series itself?

KM: Oh, that’s an impossible question to answer for anybody who has been it. You can’t have a favourite memory, you can have so many, the stories just go on and on and on, I’m not very good at picking favourites in anything such as what’s your favourite piece of music, I have 92 pieces! Because every moment tells a different kind of story. I suppose, for me really, meeting Jon for the first time, the nerves and the excitement is something I’ll never really forget and I’ll forget being rushed to hospital with all those torn ligaments! Going right through to the very end, all those emotions and most emotional endings you know, no dialogue was necessary.

HC: Yes, The Green Death is a brilliant story, a cracking sucker punch ending, as you do think she’ll come back. This is really where the series matured.

KM: It was lovely when Russell T Davis wrote that one for me to come back, (Jo Grant appeared in Death Of The Doctor, an episode of of The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2010) he couldn’t have gotten her story better , it really was a wonderful return and the storyline as that is exactly how one could see would have happened with Jo.

HC: Did you have any reservations about bringing her back to the screen?

KM: Oh yes, I thought who wants to see Granny Grant? (laughs) It never crossed my mind for a second. Its nothing something that goes through your mind through your career wondering if you’ll ever come back again, it just would have never gone through my mind. When I was offered it it was just completely out of the blue. That’s the wonderful thing about life isn’t it? You don’t plan it it just happens. And when I read the script I just couldn’t have imagined it a better way of putting Jo’s life down. The Doctor to her, she married Stuart’s character, the Professor he was the closest anyone could be to the Doctor plus the fact she decided that she wanted to look after this planet and that’s exactly what she did and continued her work on this planet and everything she had learned she’s learned from the Doctor. I thought that was lovely.

HC: So what was it like working with Matt?

KM: Ah! What a treat. Now there’s an example of a wonderful, fascinating actor. Just his physicality is brilliant and made him slightly of another world where as Capaldi’s head and thought processes make him of another world, its very exciting to see all these actors playing the same character so uniquely and to work with Matt, what a darling boy and wonderful actor and to be with Liz which was divine because the two characters work so well together.

HC: Sarah Jane Smith was a wonderful character, and Liz played her perfectly

KM: We had such a joyous time working together as she took over from me working with Jon and she said boy you don’t know how difficult it was because everything she did he’d say, “Well Katy would…”

HC: Does it feel like over 40 years since you first played Jo?

KM: No, I don’t do time at all. It’s when I see the dreadful fashions that I realise how long ago it was. I have no concept of time at all. I really don’t. It just is. My memory is very strange, I don’t remember in years I remember in stories. People ask me about things in years and I tell them I don’t remember.

HC: You’re a very talented person, Katy. You’re a writer, actress, director do you have a favourite role or job?

KM: I love doing it all. Being able to play using 26 voices in a play. It’s scary but I can slip in and out of voices and interrupts myself in a different voice and emotion frighteningly easily. I love multi-voicing and its kind of one of my strengths. I love the process of writing. There are things I wouldn’t be interested in writing things that are not logical to me, there has to be random as that’s the way I think. I love directing, absolutely love directing and I find it deeply satisfying. People said would you like to direct and I’d say no but I did and I loved it. Actually acting is where my heart, my whole soul lies. Its what I get up every day for. I said to my children, “When I talk we’ll eat”. What an extraordinary thing to happen in your life to land a job like that and suddenly find when you’re 103 like I am now(!), there’s little plastic figurines, and you’ve been on postage stamps its so exciting and its still going and I have like now four generations of fans and thanks to Sarah Jane Mysteries I have picked up all these young ones and these young kids are watching the old Doctor Who.

HC: Do you find it surreal when someone makes another figurine of you or when you appear on a t-shirt?

KM: Its gobsmacking, as I say to my kids, “This is all I’ve got to leave you darlings, plastic figures and a few postage stamps!” (laughs) It is lovely and what’s heart-warming too is the fan mail that comes in from 5 to 95. How many shows have that size following in terms of age group?

HC: You must be very proud of the character of Jo?

KM: I loved her, I thought she was wonderful. I thought she was feisty, she was naughty, she was friendly and yet how many times did she say, “No, take me not him!”? That was very cool I think a lot of what Jo was like got lost in the way of miniskirts. I got associated with screaming a lot but you know I think I screamed less than some of the other girls.

HC: Yes, because she was very different.

KM: Yes! And people will say, “Yes, Jo. Wore miniskirts. Screamed a lot!”, well no! I screamed when necessary! Very rarely. But you had to be able to that was one of the pre requisite of being a Doctor Who girl! I thought she was lovely because she was modern and she appealed to the teenagers, she appealed to the fathers and the kids as she would ask what things meant and as soon as she was told not to do something she would do it.

HC: She was a good role model.

KM: I think she was absolutely lovely and she was a joy to play, and although she was associated with UNIT she was always with the Doctor.  She could hang out on any planet!

HC: Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

KM: It sounds awful doesn’t it, as people have huge ambitions I live very much in the moment, I literally enjoy life by the moment and that way I’m always surprised, always excited and always on an adventure. If you have plans and hopes you can always be let down and disappointed and I don’t see the point in that. When I got Casualty it was a lovely surprise. I never have a plan, if I can just keep on working I’m a happy person.

HC: So what are you up to at the moment?

KM: As I’ve just mentioned, I’ve done a Casualty (laughs) my character loves animals (hello!) and appears in hospital with a dog and is a lady who runs a therapeutic farm so there’s little bit of Jo in there.

HC: And does she wear miniskirts?!

KM: (laughs) No, that’s not something I’ll inflict on anyone again! I did a wonderful play with Susan Penhalligan who I did a Doctor Who with which we did at the Edinburgh Festival. 2014 was a really busy year, recently I’ve been to America twice, back to Australia and I’m going back! So I’m keeping going, darling, keep going and fortunately the work just pops up and says, “Hello”.

HC: Katy Manning, thank you so much.


Related show tags: TERROR OF THE AUTONS
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano

FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.

Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?

Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...

SHARE: READ MORE
Exclusive interview with Adam Green, director of Hatchet.
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018
Adam Green director of Hatchet

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV Premiere of Hatchet on Friday 14th Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley...

Hatchet is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We're excited, are you?

I couldn't be more excited! I've always said that even though Hatchet may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where "Victor Crowley" was truly born. FrightFest was "the screening heard around the world" and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over Hatchet that every genre festival on t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Tom de Ville director of Corvidae

HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?

TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?

SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
Ferdinando D'Urbano - Director of Photography Producer COL

A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.

HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?

FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
Wolfman's Got Nards

HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?

AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.

HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?

AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018

HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?

JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.

AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
Joanne Mitchel Image 4

One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.

We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.

HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?

JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Mort creator and director of Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
mike Mort Director of Chuck Steel

HC: Where did the character of Chuck Steel come from?

MM: I came up with the character of Chuck Steel in 1985 when still at school. I used to doodle this square jawed action hero in my English book when I should have been concentrating on the lesson. Over the years he developed a bit as I drew him in various adventure scenarios, usually involving monsters of some kind. I made a Super8 short film with the character when I was experimenting with animation and I also made a college film featuring Chuck a few years later. These were basically just Chuck fighting monsters for 10 minutes or so but I was learning about how to construct scenes and action as I went. Later in my animati...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sam Ashurst director of Frankenstein's Creature
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018

HC: Why did you choose to film James Swanton's acclaimed play, Frankenstein's Creature?

SA: I made a music video for Channel 4, and they gave me a small budget to shoot it in a day. The budget was small enough to raise independently, and I looked around me and realised I had all the crew I needed to shoot an actual feature film, not just a music video - if only I could shoot a film in a day! Then my friend Dan Martin, who did the effects for films like Human Centipede II and Freefire, said that he'd been given advice that if you want to shoot a film in a short space of time, you should option a play. I'd worked with James on another, much smaller thing, and was blown away by his talent....

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Collier, director of FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
Chris Collier director of FrightFest doc

FrightFest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. The team of Alan Jones, Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day ensure that everyone who attends, from guests to punters get the best experience they can from it.

But what do they really think of each other and what really goes on behind the scenes? A new documentary from Chris Collier has given the team the chance to talk candidly about the festival and each other. Here he tells us how FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema came together.

HC: Can you recall what it was like at your first FrightFest and what attracted you to attend in the first place?

CC: Back in 2009 I recorded a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jon Knautz director of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Friday 24th August 2018
Jon Knautz director of The Cleaning Lady

HC: What made you decide that your short film The Cleaning Lady would work as a feature?

JK: Actually we had already written the feature before we made the short. We wanted to make a proof of concept to see how people reacted and to try and raise some awareness of our feature script. It was also a great way to experiment with the tone of the film, so we would be ready to tackle the feature.

HC: How did you and co-writer Alexis Kendra work on the script?

JK: Alexis and I had written several scripts together already so we had our system down pretty good at that point. We start by smoking cigars and just brainstorming for a while... then even...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Plague Of The Zombies
THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES
Sunday 30th September
10.55 PM
When A Stranger Calls (2006)
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006)
Tuesday 2nd October
9.00 PM
Demonic
DEMONIC
Saturday 29th September
9.00 PM