PETER CUSHING: ' DR WHO AND THE DALEKS: CRITICS AND THE SUCCESS'
“I had played Winston Smith in ’1984′ on television, and the next thing I played ‘Doctor Who’. I was doing it in the cinema while Bill Hartnell was doing it on TV! That’s the way it goes. It was no surprise to me to learn that the first ‘Doctor Who’ film was in the top twenty box office hits of 1965, despite the panning the critics gave us. That’s why they made the sequel and why they spent twice as much money on it. Those films are among my favourites because they brought me popularity with younger children. They’d say their parents didn’t want to meet me in a dark alley but ‘Doctor Who’ changed that. After all, he is one of the most heroic and successful parts an actor can play. That’s one of the main reasons the series had such a long run on TV. I am very grateful for having been part of such a success story.”
PETER CUSHING: 'TELEVISION SERIES OPPORTUNITY'
In an interview from the late 1970's, Peter Cushing comes up with a novel idea for finding a place for the two 60′s movies in the ‘canon’.
What do you remember of the two ‘Dr. Who’ movies you made?
They were very enjoyable. A little frustrating, though, because they were not quite what we planned.
What do you mean by that?
I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that we intended to make them a little darker. But they turned out well, very good entertainments and a hit with the children.
How close did you come to making a third?
Very close. I thought we would, and possibly a fourth. Sadly it didn’t come to pass.
Were you a fan of the TV series?
I thought it was very good. Very well made. But I didn’t watch TV then, and I don’t much now.
The character you played in those two films was very different from the character on the TV show. Were those films a complete remake?
Well I’ll tell you something I thought once. I just said I didn’t watch TV, but one of the few episodes of the ‘Dr. Who’ series that I saw was one that involved a kind of mystical clown (‘The Celestial Toymaker’? ), and I realised that perhaps he kidnapped Dr Who and wiped his memory and made him relive some of his earlier adventures. When Bill Hartnell turned into Patrick Troughton, and changed his appearance, that idea seemed more likely. I think that’s what happened, so I think those films we did fit perfectly well into the TV series. That would not have been the case had I taken the role in the TV series.
Were you ever asked?
Twice, as it happens. When Bill Hartnell was forced to quit, I was asked if I would be interested in taking the lead in the new series. I turned it down, which I now regret a little. It would have been fun. But at the time, you know, I considered myself a serious film actor and stepping into a television series seemed like a step backwards. I don’t know how serious the producers were about hiring me. But perhaps if I’d said yes, they would have been pleased and you would have had me fighting Daleks and Cybermen week in, week out. But I’m glad I didn’t in some ways, because Patrick was so wonderful.
You said you were asked back twice.
Yes, another time was quite recently, with Tom Baker’s Dr. Who. I don’t know the part, but they wanted me and I was interested by scheduling conflicts scuppered it. But perhaps in the future I’ll be able to take a part. I’d be very keen on that.
IMAGES: Marcus Brooks