Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013
Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 "The Time of the Doctor" - Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) ©2013 BBC/BBC Worldwide

This is the official Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013 interview with actress Orla Brady who has a major role as a galactic nun in this episode. She tells of working with Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.

She tells how this role was a change for her as most of her acting life she has played ordinary women. We hear about dealing with Doctor’s most famous enemies including Cybermen, The Silence, Weeping Angels and Daleks. She also tells of the costume and make-up for the part.

What drew you to the role of Tasha Lem?

Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013
Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 “The Time of the Doctor” – Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) ©2013 BBC/BBC Worldwide

So you’re sitting in your dressing room on an ordinary day (well ordinary for an actress) playing a normal person who makes breakfast and loses her purse sometimes. Then along comes a call to play a galactic nun and whizz around the universe with Matt Smith. Now what girl wouldn’t be drawn to that?

Can you tell us anything about how we first meet your character?

The Doctor goes to see Tasha as they are old friends. He needs her help and knows he will find it with her as although she is fearsomely powerful, she is loyal to her friend.

What can you tell us about your costume and make-up? Did you work closely with the costume designer?

The designer Howard Burden knows the Doctor Who world inside-out and had an image of Tasha that I loved from the start, so there was very little need for me to suggest anything.

I just climbed into it really. Emma Cowen created a look that was a little spooky, referencing Blade Runner a little. We both wanted her to look as she is described in the writing, imposing, human, but with a touch of alien.

In this special a whole host of the Doctor’s most famous enemies come together, including Cybermen, The Silence, Weeping Angels and Daleks – how did you find filming opposite these monsters? Have you had to do anything similar for previous roles?

Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 - Orla Brady
Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 “The Time of the Doctor” – Tasha Lem (Orla Brady ) ©2013 BBC/BBC Worldwide

Most of my acting life I have played ordinary women so obviously monsters haven’t factored much. However, I did love getting to face off with one of this lot in ‘The Time Of The Doctor’.

How did you find working with departing Doctor, Matt Smith?

Joyous. I had heard through friends that he was a nice guy (and he is) but what struck me most is how enthusiastic and engaged he was in his role, in every single scene we played.

It so often happens that someone playing a character for years sits back a bit. He didn’t. He was as full of energy and inventiveness as someone on their first day and it was truly good to be around.

Did you meet the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi?

Yes. Peter came to set for the first time and it was good to see him again as we had briefly played boyfriend and girlfriend years ago and he was hilarious. He has an air about him that man… can’t wait to see what he will do with his Doctor.

How was it filming in Cardiff?

Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013
Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 “The Time of the Doctor” – Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) with an interesting eye piece… ©2013 BBC/BBC Worldwide

Would it be obvious to say rainy? It was a place I had never been to, I didn’t know anyone and was staying in a hotel which can be a bit glum. However, the thing I discovered about Cardiff is that it is the friendliest place I have ever been. Ever. The Capital of Friendly.

I could live there now I think… but I would buy a new raincoat.

And finally, where will you be watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013?

My mum and brothers are insisting on watching it on Christmas Day, but I find it excruciating to watch things I’m in with other people, so I will go for a pint with a friend.

British Broadcasting Corporation

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcasting statutory corporation. In the States it runs the BBC America channel.