Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Doctor Who’s Assistant Laughs Off Snub Row

freema agyeman david tennant tardis 1b

Feb 17 2008 By Steve Hendry

Freema Agyeman was in last nights Torchwood as Martha Jones. However Agyeman is being replaced in Doctor Who by Catherine Tate. Agyeman insists she is not bovvered about being replaced in the Tardis by Catherine Tate. Its all getting confusing for us Aussies who have missed half of Doctor Who (but are obsessed with John Barrowman in Torchwood)

The stunning 28-year-old borrowed her successor’s comic catchphrase as she joked about losing her role as the Timelord’s assistant.

Freema was plucked from obscurity to play Martha Jones alongside Scots star David Tennant but has been written out after just one series.

She will now appear in the spin-off show Torchwood - and insists the move is not just to make room for funny girl Tate.

Freema said: “I’ve got all the time in the world for Catherine and wasn’t ‘bovvered’

“I was always aware Martha was going into Torchwood. It was a character decision and one I was in total agreement with.

“I knew what was happening in January last year.

“I was surprised when it was portrayed as scandalous and negative but we made a group decision that it wasn’t worth answering, so we ignored them.

“At the end of the last series, Martha and the Doctor saved the world and she told him she loved him - but he didn’t love her. There’s no way she could just step back on to the Tardis and pretend that hadn’t happened.

“I was more than happy I was going into Torchwood. I feel part of the Doctor Who family and get to broaden and expand the character. It was really exciting.”

Freema was working in DVD rental store Blockbuster when she won the coveted role of Martha.

She had appeared in minor roles on shows such as The Bill, Silent Witness and the revamped Crossroads but the sci-fi series was her big break.

It was a high-pressure task as she was filling the shoes of fans’ favourite Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler.

Freema said: “I never for a second thought I was going to be working on Doctor Who and make history by being the first black assistant.

“Before the role came up I was looking at a Plan B.

“I was thinking, ‘If this doesn’t go where I want it to, where am I going to be in 20 or 30 years?’

“Then it all became so big, so quickly.

I’m glad it happened when it did.

“If it happened at an earlier point in my life, I think it would have been over-whelming. Things like the stories I was being axed would have been harder to deal with. But I’ve worked through it and managed to handle it.”

In Torchwood, Martha is called in by Captain Jack Harness - played by Scots born star John Barrowman - to help investigate mysterious deaths at a sinister medical centre.

Freema said: “I had an absolute ball on Torchwood.

“There’s so many of us and you get more time to socialise, which equals a very supportive and tight bunch.

“They welcomed me into the fold immediately.”

Freema is also close to her co-star Tennant, who helped her get the role by making her relax at her screen test.

It is rumoured Tennant will take a break from the Tardis to pursue other roles at the end of the current series.

Freema refuses to reveal what the Doctor’s fate will be but did admit she, Tate, Piper and Elisabeth Sladen - the Doctor’s assistant Sarah Jane Smith in 1973 - will feature in the finale of the forthcoming series.

She said: “I quickly learned that ignorance is bliss on Doctor Who.

“I’ve become quite good at keeping secrets. I never ask more than I need to know so I have plausible deniability. I do know we are all going to be together but I don’t know how.

“I have the episode script but I haven’t read it yet so I don’t know how it all falls into place, thank God.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the climax because it is going to be huge.

“But I hope Martha goes on. I feel like I haven’t completely exhausted her yet and life after Doctor Who is quite a scary prospect so I’m not looking beyond it right now. I’m happy where I am.”

Whatever happens, Freema can rely on the support of her family.

Landing the role of Martha is the source of much pride to them and she admits they are her biggest fans.

Freema grew up in a tough housing estate in Hackney, London, with her younger brother Domenic and older sister Leila.

Her Iranian mum, Azar, is divorced from her Ghanian dad Osei but her family remain close-knit and she is grateful for their support over the years.

She said: “My mum and dad are absolutely beside themselves.

“If ever for a split second I get complacent and think it’s just another job, they start waving Doctor Who dolls in my face.

“It’s their level of excitement which keeps it in perspective for me.”

Torchwood is on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday. Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in the spring.

I loved him but he didn’t love me.. I couldn’t just go back in the Tardis Freema Agyeman
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