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COLONY OF SNAKES

He was a bit of a slippery customer as Colony Sarff, and later returned to try to strangle the Doctor! We un-Veil the real Jami Reid-Quarrell...

What do David Tennant, Steven Moffat and Jami Reid-Quarrell have in common? Besides working on Doctor Who, obviously. The answer is, they all grew up in Paisley, Renfrewshire, in the west central Lowlands of Scotland.

“Actually, it was just outside of Paisley, in Linwood, which is a little car factory town, mentioned in The Proclaimers song Letter from America,” Jami clarifies in his gentle Scots accent. “Linwood was an overspill town on the outskirts – about ten miles outside Glasgow. So when I was 16, I just hotfooted it to Glasgow, and started training in acting at the Strathclyde Arts Centre, which was where Robert Carlyle trained. He had left by then, but he came back to teach us a little bit. Then I was kind of on my path from there.

“So in terms of watching Doctor Who, my era was the Tom Baker era. Tom Baker was my Doctor. K9, I thought, was just the most amazing thing ever. In fact,” he whispers, “I kind of still do. Mind you, I’m afraid I haven’t seen any of the modern K9 appearances.”

He’s still much the same, we reassure him. Like the Daleks. You don’t mess with the design classics. “Yeah! I love that. You can’t really screw with that design, can you? There’s something about that kind of faceless, robotic voice. And just that mantra – ‘Exterminate!’ – that’s just threatening. Even though, back in the 1980s, we were like, ‘That Dalek can’t go up the stairs!’ Everyone knew that and spotted it. But somehow the power of the imagination is so strong. Fear works best when it’s stimulating the imagination, rather than when it’s just handed to you on a plate. That’s where, for me, a lot of modern television and film goes wrong. When it does work, it’s left to your imagination.

“What I like about Doctor Who is that you never see massive scenes of violence unfolding,” Jami continues. “That’s not really a hallmark of Doctor Who. You get explosions, but there’s not too much blood. It’s

suspenseful. I remember that from the 80s as well. There was always that sense of heightened fear. If they were hiding in a little alcove in a corridor when a Dalek was going by, you shrunk into the alcove with them! You’d hide behind the sofa – all of that business.”

The scene Jami has just described sounds suspiciously like 1985’s Revelation of the Daleks, which would have been broadcast when Jami was a young lad. So does he remember Davros?

“Yeah! Terrifying! I found Davros terrifying. There was something about this strange wizened creature, who was half Dalek and half human. And the make-up, even then... it hasn’t changed all that much, has it? It’s become a bit more refined, perhaps.”

“Come and get it, Maggot Face!”
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About Doctor Who Magazine

This issue, DWM celebrates 50 years of the one of the Doctor's greatest enemies: the Cybermen! Contents include: an interview with the woman who designed the original Cybermen, Alexandra Tynan; a look at every single Cyber-plan through the ages, as told by the Cybermen themselves; a new Cyberman comic strip by Alan Barnes with art by Adrian Salmon; a detailed look at how the Cybermen have evolved from their first appearance; Steven Moffat answers readers' questions; The Fact of Fiction puts the 1988 25th anniversary story Silver Nemesis under the spotlight; the Time Team watch 2010's Vincent and the Doctor; actor Jami Reid-Quarrell is interviewed about his monstrous roles (including Colony Sarff) in Doctor Who's 2015 series; a new comic strip adventure for the Twelfth Doctor – 'Moving In' by Mark Wright with art by John Ross; the Watcher praises Galaxy 4; plus reviews, previews, official news, competitions and much more!
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