TV Critic Ben House looks at the funny yet surprisingly realistic comedy This Country as it returns to BBC iPlayerWritten by Redbrick on 1st January 2018
Dan Starkey Interview
TV Critic Lucy McCann interviewed Dan Starkey at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con, where the Doctor Who actor talked about Strax, Sontarans and special effects
Your character, Strax, is such a comical character, what’s that like?
The thing is, although it’s sort of funny, you still play the reality of it. Strax doesn’t think he’s funny, he’s just a complete fish out of water. So, when I got the script, I go "Oh, that’s a really interesting character." But then you work out how to land each line perfectly, the fact that he is disgusted by humanity, but at the same time he’s weirdly polite. He’s actually trying to be as good as possible, he’s like [impersonating Strax] "I look forward to meeting you on the field of battle, where I shall crush the life from your useless human form." You know, it’s a threat but he’s also showing due diligence, and not finding it weird. It’s normal to him, but it’s everyone else’s problem. It’s alien.
You’ve also been a part of a Christmas Special, is that any different to filming a normal episode?
Schedule wise, it’s slightly different, it’s a few more weeks. A typical episode of Doctor Who is probably about 3 weeks, not much more, maybe 3 and a bit. But, yeah, other than that, it’s a similar process. Getting the script, working out what to do with it.
Working with so many prosthetics, do you think that helped or hindered getting into character?
“Just having a new face in front of the mirror is very strange
If you had the choice to portray the character by CGI, instead of physical effects, would you?
Well, I could do, but it wouldn’t be as much fun though. I’ve never done motion caption before. It’s another option now, I suppose.
Your character is very much a fish out of water, as you said earlier, compared to the rest of his kind, who are militaristic. He seems peace-loving in comparison. If he were to go back to the Sontarans, how would he blend in?
“Although he doesn’t admit it, he likes being with Jenny and Vastra
He’s obviously fits in with Jenny and Vastra, but do you think he is deep down a Sontaran at heart?
Well, he’s acutely uncomfortable. Despite battling all the aliens, he’s still an exile. Sontrans are very much team players, and the fact that he can’t be with the Sontarans, is a very lonely existence for him. So the fact he’s actually a part of a household and part of a team… He likes that along with being a nurse. He wouldn’t admit it, but he does like it.