Freema Agyeman

Meet Doctor Who's New Side Kick
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Doctor Who

DAVID Tennant visibly softens as a young child asks him why he wanted to be Doctor Who.

"Would anyone not want to be the Doctor? Don't you fancy a go? It's the best part in the world," he tells her.

"I get to be 900 years old, I get to have two hearts, I get to fly around the universe, I get to be in a small box with beautiful ladies. I've always wanted to be Doctor Who."

Now he's about to show another lady the wonders of time, space and small wooden boxes.

It's a tale of two doctors as medical student Martha Jones meets the man with two hearts in a new series of Doctor Who (BBC1, 7pm, Saturday, March 31).

She's played by newcomer Freema Agyeman, whose previous claim to fame was the role of chambermaid Lola in the ill-fated revamp of ITV1 soap Crossroads.

Freema also played a character called Adeola, killed by the Cybermen in one of last year's episodes. But nothing could have prepared her for the attention she got at the new series' launch in London earlier this week.

"I've been pinching myself all the way through filming and even today, a year after I found out I got the part, I'm still buzzing on adrenalin," she beamed.

London-born Ms Agyeman knows her life is about to change. "Fans have been really warm and welcoming. It's made it all so much easier. So if fame just means more of that, I'm ready for it. I will embrace it."

Some are still mourning the loss of Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, who is back with her family in a parallel universe and can never see the Doctor again. They may find some comfort in several references to Rose in the third series. Gone, but not forgotten.


"Billie did an amazing job and Rose is a phenomenal character. She got taken into the nation's hearts, and rightfully so," says Freema. "I think it's lovely that she's mentioned throughout the whole series and we see the Doctor was affected by their relationship. The audience are not going to forget her overnight."

Many fans wondered how David himself would fare after the impact made by Salford's Christopher Eccleston in the first series of the sci-fi revival. But he soon swept those fears aside.

And on the evidence of her first two episodes, Freema may not have to worry about the shadow of Rose for too long. We first see her walking to work, bumping into the Doctor on the way. He later appears as a patient at her hospital, just before it is spectacularly transported to the surface of the moon.

Manchester-based writer and executive producer Russell T Davies revels in the opportunities opened up by the arrival of the Doctor's new assistant.

The first episode also features former Coronation Street actress Anne Reid as Florence Finnegan, an alien in human form, plus intergalactic cops The Judoon - rhinos in space suits.

Episode two includes ex-Shameless favourite Dean Lennox Kelly as William Shakespeare, with a script referring to both Harry Potter and Back To The Future, along with yet more impressive special effects.

Lady Thaw

Later episodes feature guest appearances by former Corrie star Thelma Barlow as baddie Lady Thaw and Life On Mars star John Simm as the Doctor's nemesis - The Master.

Torchwood's John Barrowman makes a return to the main Doctor Who series as Captain Jack Harkness and the Daleks invade 1930s New York. It promises to be bigger and better than ever.

David has been filming alongside his new co-star since last August. On screen the partnership works well. Martha may not be a fully trained medic but she certainly knows how to get pulses racing.

Although the Doctor kisses her in the hospital, it's simply an unromantic `genetic transfer'. They also share a bed in the London of 1599, but again it's a purely practical arrangement.

Martha has more problems fending off the advances of the bad boy Bard, who pinches a few of the Doctor's best lines for his plays.

"The Doctor thinks he's moved on," explains David, "that he's in a different place and he's terribly strong. I think Martha knows that he needs her, maybe more than he realises. But their story will develop and twist and turn as we go through 13 episodes. So stay tuned."
Source: The Manchester Evening News