As much as I have a slobbering, foam-at-the-mouth hatred for a “female Doctor” I do love Missy. It’s part writing, but mostly its the actor (actress) in the role and how they play it.
As I have said before nI am big fan of Roger Delgado’s Master, the sauve, gentleman killer.
And Anthony Ainley’s scene chewing, mesmerizing, megalomaniac.
Now we have Missy, Scary Poppins herself.
When the baddest woman in the universe says she likes your handbag, you’re better off not saying anything other than “thank you”. Or else.
I’m not saying that Michelle Gomez, the amazing actress who plays Doctor Who’s arch-nemesis in everybody’s favourite sci-fi series, isn’t very nice and chatty – she is – but she can give you a steely look which even the Weeping Angels can’t rival.
Before the 49 year-old Scottish actress took on the form of the Master in the BBC behemoth that is Doctor Who, she was perhaps best known for her comedy performances in Green Wing and The Book Group.
But it’s as the formidably tricksy Missy that she’s found her real calling on the small screen.
With that position, though, comes great responsibility, and one she’s relishing.
“I’m so happy to be back,” she says, speaking to a small audience of journalists who have gathered at BBC Wales’ Porth Teigr Studios in Cardiff to quiz her and fellow actors Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara) and Ingrid Oliver (Osgood) before series nine starts.
“Missy has been received so well. I didn’t even have to think twice about coming back.
“As a woman of a certain age I fall between two types of roles, but with Missy I’m not playing a mum or someone in the background of a shot.
“I’ve got to have a lot of fun with her. She’s the type of villain that everyone wants to be.
“Missy is a force of nature. She is a fearless, slightly psychotic killer whom you can’t help but like just a little bit.
“She’s very honest in her role as the Master. This is how she sees it – they both kill. The Doctor feels bad about it, she doesn’t. To her, the Doctor hides behind his remorse whilst she thrives in the power to destroy.
“She has many tools to do this, but so far we have seen but a few. Reading minds, hypnosis and moving obstacles just by thinking about it are to name but a few.
“She doesn’t bake much. Well, not in the conventional sense.
No souffle’s then, eh?
“There’s definitely a bit of me in Missy and a bit of Missy in me. And it works.”
The first episode of the new series finds Missy and Clara forced to buddy up a bit, pushed together thanks to cosmic circumstances so to speak.
Gomez explains: “The dynamic between Missy and Clara takes on a whole new shape and not one I had imagined.
“There is something not quite right about it that makes for slightly unnerving viewing.
“Missy gets bored very easily. You can imagine her and the Doctor in the classroom, Missy using her intellect even then to cause mischief and disrupt.
“Our relationship shifts greatly from where we left off in the last series.
“Dare I say there might be a hint of respect there? Perhaps not quite respect. More a healthy dose of circumspect, from both I guess.”
As for taking on the role of the Master, which had traditionally been played by a man, Gomez is respectful of her predecessors, especially as she’s a huge Doctor Who fan anyway.
“I did go back and look at past Masters, particularly Roger Delgado, and I hope there are a few similarities there. He had the brilliant eyebrow arch, and was also quite comedic and quite fun.
“I don’t know about a female Doctor, though, because I think Peter is perfect.
“When I heard he was doing the role, it made complete sense.”
As part of the new series, shooting took place outside of Cardiff in a large cinematic location in Tenerife. Gomez believes this gives series nine a “sense of opera”.
“It’s grand and loud in its infinite vastness, which provided us with a perfect backdrop for our needs.
“It had a harsh but strange beauty, almost lunar. Which was kind of the point.”
As for her character’s relationship with the Doctor, this is how she puts it: “They are still opposite magnets, repelling mostly, but at times they also attract.
“There is an undeniable shorthand that comes with a lifelong friendship. A friendship that at some point went very wrong. They are both from the same place aeons ago, so the weight of that history they share is the bedrock of their relationship.
“I’m a Doctor Who fan first and foremost,” she adds, “so I know that to change a Master to a Mistress was quite a big deal.
“It’s a product that reaches across the seas and touches people across the world. It ignites their imaginations with brilliant storytelling that all the family can enjoy. There aren’t too many of those shows around anymore which makes it all the more special.
“It felt so good to be back, especially as I thought it was all over for Missy at the end of series nine. But then, of course, she is the Master after all, so anything can happen, even dodging death.
“I’m still in a state of shock at actually being in a show I watched avidly as a child.”
Posted on September 13, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Anthony Ainley, BBC, BBC America, Cardiff, Change, Jenna Coleman, Magician's Apprentice, Michelle Gomez, Missy, Mistress, Peter Capaldi, Roger Delgado, Season Premiere, Series 9. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.