Neve McIntosh, better known as Madame Vastra, has spoken about her hopes for a long-mooted Paternoster Gang spin-off and suggested a movie or special could be ideal.
Speaking to TMS, McIntosh said: “If it happened, I would love it. Or a one-off special. Or go straight for a movie! I would love to do something with it.”
She adds: “I think ‘The Crimson Horror,’ it was like someone wrote me my own Basil Rathbone adventure, sort of Sherlock Holmes type thing, and I was just like ‘wow. I want more of this.’ I’m being greedy!
“So we’ll see, I don’t know. I think I need to corner Mr. Steven Moffat and plead with him. But we’ll see what happens, you never know.”
The full interview, from The Mary Sue:
The Mary Sue: You were on the Fierce Females of TV panel earlier this afternoon, and you spoke about how great actors can take a kind of flimsily-written female character and make her a fan favorite. How do we make it so that female characters are already three-dimensional before an actor starts to embody them?
Neve McIntosh: I mean, I have to say, sometimes it’s the challenge that’s attractive. You don’t want everything handed to you on a plate. I’ve felt I had to do a lot and think critically recently. But yeah, I mean how do we change? More women writers writing for women I think, because we’re still in an industry where it’s…the guys are writing, the guys are directing, the guys are producing, and obviously, if you’re doing the work, it’s going to be concentrically about you because we’re all egomaniacs.
TMS: We don’t get to see a lot of women like Madame Vastra on TV.
McIntosh: [laughs] Yeah!
TMS: She’s physically strong, she obviously doesn’t look like other women, she’s married to a woman… what was that experience like, to get to play such a unique female character.
McIntosh: Just incredible. I mean we don’t know what’s going to come, and then I get the Christmas script and there’s that wonderful line, “good evening. I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife,” and you think “thank you, Steven moffat, for giving that!” I thought it was brilliant, I just have to say it. I love as well that there are so many references to the way that she looks, and that she’s a freak; especially in Victorian times, there was such a fascination with freak shows, Elephant Man and all the rest of it, and I definitely think that’s something that’s in Vastra’s past and I kind of clung onto that because she’s forgiven for people treating her like that, and now its water off a ducks back.
There are a lot of young girls who think ‘I don’t feel like I fit, where I am I feel like I’m a freak, if I’m a geek as well I’m a girl, that’s not right.’ I was a complete tomboy as a kid, and I still am, and I will not apologize for it because, you know, you’ve got to be yourself. You’re unique. I love that uniqueness about her, so yeah. I think that’s what Vastra’s got for me, having been that gawky teenager. And you know, there’s always the cool kids, the ones who always seem to be able to afford all the fashion stuff–there’s always some reason not to feel part of the general norm, but you grow to realize ‘I don’t want to be like that!’ Or I don’t. You know. And I think that’s what Vastra loves–being almost the last of her type, it makes her unique.
TMS: You had that kiss–not even really a kiss-last season and it caused so much controversy. Did you expect that to be such a big thing?
McIntosh: No. I really, really didn’t. The thing is, it’s a kiss…but. For all intents and purposes it’s a kiss, but of course it’s written, I’m breathing life into her, so it’s the kiss of life, it’s so much more than all of it…you can only hope that people eventually come around and realize that, you know, a wife kisses her wife.
TMS: I saw that you tweeted about the Star Wars trailer–
McIntosh: I was so excited!
TMS: You’re a big Star Wars fan then?
McIntosh: I saw the first Star Wars when I must have been about 8 years old, when it was first in cinemas, and from that point, that was it for me. My brother was Luke and I was Leia. And that’s all we played, and you’d look at all the figurines that we had and they’d be trashed, TIE fighters and everything. And Greedo of course, he was one of my favorites.
TMS: Greedo was one of your favorites? That makes so much sense!
McIntosh: Yeah, doesn’t it actually now? Ah! But yeah, that was my world from the start. And of course we always loved Star Trek, the original series, and Doctor Who, that was rebooted when I was about four years older. My brother was older, and I just thought he was the most wonderful being on the planet, I stole all of his comic books. If I got caught with them I got into trouble. Doctor Who magazines, too, until I started to realize I could just save my pocket money and buy some myself. Having a brother as well, such a strong figure, I was definitely going to be a geek.
TMS: You grew up in a fandom. What is it like now to be a woman in that and see young girls involved in that?
McIntosh: It’s amazing. It’s amazing because I didn’t go to any conventions when I was a kid, I just loved immersing myself in that world, and comic books, that was enough for me, but I wonder what I would have done if I’d known all of this existed, because I find it fantastic now. I mean to get the part in Doctor Who initially and think ‘oh, I’ll only be in those two episodes’ but then to come back as this amazing character, sword-wielding Madame Vastra, and there’s three girls all dressed up as me. And a lot of times as well I get couples, girl couples will come up, one’s Vastra and one’s Jenny, and it’s just…it’s just so incredible to be part of that. And I get to travel to places like Chicago, or Australia last year, and meet everyone! It’s incredible.
TMS: And it seems like she [Madame Vastra] is going to be manifesting outside the show too now that there’s a spinoff novel.
McIntosh: Yeah! I signed a couple! I mean, there’s so much fanfiction too, that’s great. So yeah, we’ll just see. And every single person’s asking about a spinoff TV series.
TMS: I was going to say, but I figured there’s not much you’re allowed to say…
McIntosh: I have no idea! If it happened, I would love it. Or a one-off special. Or go straight for a movie! I would love to do something with it. I think “The Crimson Horror,” it was like someone wrote me my own Basil Rathbone adventure, sort of Sherlock Holmes type thing, and I was just like ‘wow. I want more of this.’ I’m being greedy! So we’ll see, I don’t know. I think I need to corner Mr. Steven Moffat and plead with him. But we’ll see what happens, you never know.
TMS: I have to say, I saw Gormenghast when I was about ten and it was such a huge experience for me and really got me into fantasy, so it’s lovely to meet you.
McIntosh: Ah, Gormenghast was another one! The books are so phenomenal! The attention to detail! There’s so much in the books, we could only do four hours of it. I mean in retrospect, but it’s always 20/20, if we’d been able to do six one-hours, I think that would have just…because it was a bit too cut short sometimes and other characters are kind of amalgamated, if we’d had just a bit more. I mean, when he describes the library and there’s the motes of dust floating in the sun and he goes on for pages…that’s why I would have loved if we’d just had a little more. That’s the thing with adapting such huge books as well, sometimes you don’t want to just skip from one part to the next. But with what we did, we got quite a lot out of it.
TMS: I loved it!
McIntosh: And Fuchsia, she’s such a spoiled brat!
TMS: Oh, she’s so weird and I love her.
TMS: It’s hard not to feel sorry for her
McIntosh: Well that’s the hard thing, because you could play her as some stupid little girl, but she’s not. But yeah, that was an amazing job.