'PLEASE LEAVE CORONATION STREET!' DOCTOR WHO BOSS DESPERATE TO 'SNAP UP' STARS

Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies has said he’s keen to cast more Coronation Street stars in the sci-fi serial following the success of Millie Gibson’s role.

Last year, Millie was introduced as The Doctor’s (Ncuti Gatwa) newest companion Ruby Sunday during Christmas special ‘The Church on Ruby Road’, but prior to that she was better known to viewers of the long-running ITV soap as Kelly Neelan.

During her three years on the cobbles she was one of the show’s most central characters – moving in with Gary Windass (Mikey North) after he killed her dad Rick (Greg Wood), and during her exit storyline, being trapped in a horrific rooftop hostage situation.

Just months after Kelly’s departure, Millie found herself joining a long line of soap stars who have also been on adventures in the TARDIS.

The drama has continued in her new role as Ruby, with the questions surrounding her birth mother set to be explored as she takes on terrifying Sutekh, God of Death in tonight’s (22nd June) series finale.

During a recent chat with Metro.co.uk, Russell, who was instrumental in the show’s return to television screens in 2005 after 16 years off air, spoke of what he saw in Millie’s Corrie performance that was perfect for the Whoniverse.

‘There is a very long history in Coronation Street of the unpopular girl turning out to be the popular girl’ he explained.

‘That’s Katherine Kelly’s story as Becky McDonald, you can see the same with Claire Sweeney now.

‘Give me three years, Claire Sweeney will have full make-up and be standing at the bar in the Rovers with everyone conveniently having forgotten that she was a heroin addict to begin with.’

He continued: ‘That’s why I keyed into Millie’s performance because I’ve worked on soap operas and you can tell when writers like someone.’

In 1997, he penned Viva Las Vegas!, a Corrie direct-to-VHS spin-off following the Duckworths in Nevada, and had worked as a a storyliner on the main show the previous year.

‘I’ve got friends who worked on the writers’ room of that show, and I went to them. One writer said, “She can’t even pick up the phone to say hello without making it interesting.” I thought, wow, that’s what we want to get. I was so impressed by that.’

The latest series has also seen EastEnders actress Bonnie Langford return to her role as Mel Bush, a companion of the 6th and 7th Doctors, alongside the iconic Anita Dobson – best known as Queen Vic landlady Angie Watts – as the mysterious Mrs Flood.

Calling them ‘Dobs’ and ‘Bonita’, Russell agreed that soap actors are often undervalued: ‘The wealth of experience and talent that they bring is phenomenal. When they are all in the studio, they are the kind of days where you relax,’

‘Because they’ve seen it all. They’ve done the soaps, they’ve done the West End, independent theatre, independent film, big movies.’

The Doctor often has to count on his colleagues at UNIT, a fictional military operation that defends earth from extra-terrestrial activity, which is headed up by Kate Stewart (former Holby City star Jemma Redgrave).

‘It’s a very female base. UNIT in the past with Jon Pertwee was very male. So, I’m very happily swinging it to be very female now, not entirely, Alexander Devrient plays Christopher Ibrahim who is a great part of the team and Lennie Rush [plays] a scientific advisor.’

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On whether we could see more familiar faces from soapland pop up throughout time and space, Russell chirped: ‘Oh yeah, I won’t name any names but there is always a couple I’ve got my eye on,’

‘There are some on Coronation Street now that I think, “Gosh, please leave and I will snap you up!”‘

Doctor Who’s series finale, Empire of Death, is available to view in the UK on BBC iPlayer now, or you can tune in tonight at 6:40pm on BBC One.

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2024-06-22T12:25:34Z dg43tfdfdgfd