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article imageDiana Rigg hints at Doctor Who return

By Mathew Wace Peck     May 5, 2013 in Entertainment
Dame Diana Rigg has suggested that she and her daughter, Rachel Stirling, could return to Doctor Who, following their debut in this weekend’s episode of the fifty-year-old BBC science-fiction television drama.
Rigg – well known for her roles as Emma Peel in The Avengers, the wife of 007 in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, currently, as Lady Olenna Redwyne, the Queen of Thorns, in Game of Thrones – was speaking to Andrew Duncan, who interviewed her for Radio Times ahead of her appearance as Mrs Gillyflower, in the Mark Gatiss-scripted story, The Crimson Horror.
During their chat, Dame Diana speaks fondly of her time on Doctor Who, and confides, “We’re only doing the one – so far. Of course, there could be more.”
The Crimson Horror was written by Gatiss specifically for mother and daughter, following a conversation he had with Stirling – Rigg’s daughter by her second marriage, and a well-known actor in her own right – some time last year.
Gatiss has known Stirling for a number of years, while he and Rigg have been friends ever since they appeared together in the 2007 London Old Vic production of All About My Mother, based on the 1999 Pedro Almodovar movie of the same name.
Early in 2012, Rigg went to see a theatre preview in London’s West End – an adaptation of a 1706 play, The Recruiting Officer, by George Farquar – in which Gatiss and Stirling were appearing. “[We] went out to dinner afterwards and had a riotous time, as I always do with Diana,” he tells Benjamin Cook of Doctor Who Magazine. “The next day, I was talking to Rachel, and she said that she and her mother had never actually acted together on screen.”
Although they’d had plenty of offers to appear together, Stirling confided to Gatiss that they’d never found the right project. This set Gatiss thinking so, he tells Cook, said to her, “Do you think your mum would do a Doctor Who, if I wrote it for her? For you both?” Her response was a definite yes, and that’s how The Crimson Horror came about – the first time a Doctor Who story has been specifically written for an actor (or actors) who haven’t appeared in the show before.
The Crimson Horror – which was directed by Saul Metzstein – is Gatiss’s second Doctor Who story this year, and number six in the current eight-episode run. It stars Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald, and features the returning characters of Madam Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey), who make up the Silurian–human–Sontaran trio, the Paternoster Gang, last seen in the 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen, and also in A Good Man Goes to War (2011) and The Great Detective (2012).
As well as being a regular writer for Doctor Who since 2005, Gatiss has, to date, himself appeared in the series on three separate occasions: The Lazarus Experiment (2007); The Wedding of River Song (2011) and The Great Detective (2012). His other 2013 script was April’s Ice Warrior tale, Cold War.
The final two episodes are Neil Gaiman’s Cybermen re-invention story, Nightmare in Silver, and Steven Moffat’s season finale, The Name of the Doctor, which will once again feature the Paternoster Gang and promises an ending that will lead directly into the series’ 50th anniversary in November.
That, as-yet-unnamed, story sees David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor return alongside Smith’s Eleventh – Tennant having previously played the Doctor from 2005 to 2010 – and will herald the return of the Zygons, a Who monster not seen since the 1975 story by Robert Banks Stewart, Terror of the Zygons, when Tom Baker inhabited the Doctor’s time machine, the TARDIS, as the Fourth Doctor. The special also stars Billy Piper (Confessions of a Gall Girl) – reprising her role as Rose Tyler – Joanna Paige (Gavin & Stacey), Jemma Redgrave (Power of Three) and John Hurt (Alien).
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