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“All my differentness was cut out." - Carol Ann Ford

The Telegraph recently ran an interview with Carol Ann Ford, prompted by the forthcoming 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, entitled "Doctor Who? It destroyed my acting career."

In the event the article eventually goes missing at their site, I'll excerpt the segment most relevant to the topic of Susan:

[Carol relates] “I was a very good dancer and had been an acrobat. They told me Susan was going to be an Avengers-type girl – with all the kapow of that – plus she would have telepathetic powers. She was going to be able to fly the Tardis as well as her grandfather and have the most extraordinary wardrobe. None of that happened.”

Ford was told to make Susan more like an ordinary teenager. “All my differentness was cut out. They made me wear horrible little trousers, not even funky jeans. Horrible little flat shoes. I don’t know why they did this to me."

Still, she managed a mesmerising strangeness. It’s also striking how much of the modern Doctor Who can be traced to those first shows – from the theme tune to enduring ideas about who the Doctor is and why he is travelling. Remarkably, many were made up on the spot by herself and William Hartnell, who played the lead. “Bill and I put together a back story because we had to. You can’t act something unless you know what is behind it. We created the fact that he had done something to annoy the other Time Lords and they decided he had to go.”

The gist of the article of course references the unfortunate impacts the job had for Carol.

While I could write an article or at least a rant of my own on the subject of the treatment of Susan, I'll restrict myself to one relevant observation: one thing most who like Susan seem to have in common is the ability to glean some of the intended character from the treatment it received, whereas Susan critics sometimes don't separate this aspect of behind-the-scenes reality from the show and end up transferring blame for whatever shortcomings they perceive to the character or even, in a terrible twist of irony, to Carol's acting. There is a lot more to Susan than is often credited.

Fic may be the central intent of this comm, but I hope the comm won't mind me posting this article as it is of relevance to Susan. Besides, we are rather overdue for an article and I think we would be remiss in not availing ourselves of some of the publicity surrounding the 50th Anniversary milestone for Doctor Who. I hope we haven't heard the last of the enigmatic Foreman in Who and that we'll be enjoying more Susan in stories in the years ahead.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC)
That's really interesting - thanks for linking to it. I think I had heard something of the sort concerning her time in Who and how she was treated, but possibly not from her own P.O.V. If you don't mind, I'm going to link to this post on the who_at_50 comm, as some of the people over there will probably be interested in reading it too.
Jun. 13th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
You're welcome and thank you, it could well be of interest.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )