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Daphne Ashbrook reminisces about first killing, and then kissing the Doctor – and how the TV Movie made her fall in love with Doctor Who...

‘‘I was unaware of what was going on around me,” admits Daphne Ashbrook, when DWM asks her how she came to be cast as pseudo-companion Dr Grace Holloway in the Doctor Who TV Movie. “I try to pay very little attention to what else is going on around me when I’m at auditions, but I’m sure they went through a lot of people for something as important as that.”

Following in the fine tradition of schoolteachers Ian and Barbara, streetwise teenager Ace – and everyone in between – Grace Holloway would prove to a strong identification figure for a brand-new 90s (not to mention American) audience. Did she realise the significance of the role going in?

“I had no idea,” she admits. “I was completely unaware of the legacy and fandom in the rest of the world. So I really walked in blind.

“However, I had read the script, and I thought it was an incredible idea. I loved that whole regeneration thing, I thought that was awesome… and it was also a great part! It was a really strong, funny role. There was a lot of room to find some levity and really go into places I hadn’t had the chance to on film much, so I was really looking forward to that!

“I have to confess, the more flawed the character, the better I am as an actor. I don’t know why that is. I guess because I’m such a flawed human being,

I relate to flaws. That makes me feel safe. It helps me submit to those circumstances and conditions set up by the writer.

“Grace is one of the more healthy roles I’ve played. However, there were so many circumstances surrounding the character. Matthew did write some really beautiful human things for her to carry – baggage, basically – so I’m absolutely positive that that’s what made me fall in love with her!”

To this day, Grace remains one of the Doctor’s most grounded, level-headed and sophisticated companions: a successful cardiologist, happily settled into her life in San Francisco. We might even go as far as to suggest that, for much of the film, the Doctor is actually her companion…

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About Doctor Who Magazine

A special issue celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1996 TV Movie! Contents include: interviews with actors Paul McGann, Eric Roberts, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso and Gordon Tipple, and Executive Producer Jo Wright; a feature examining the legacy of the TV Movie; Steven Moffat answers readers' questions; Fact of Fiction – The Power of Kroll; Part One of a new comic strip, Witch Hunt by Jacqueline Rayner, illustrated by Martin Geraghty; The Time Team watch Victory of the Daleks; plus news, reviews, previews, prize-winning competitions and much more.