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First Impressions

He’s only 20, but he’s playing the Doctor – two of them! – in audio adventures for Big Finish. Wunderkind actor-impressionist Jacob Dudman talks heartbreak, aspirations, and meeting Matt Smith…
“People say they fancy me for sounding like Doctor Who,” says a bemused Jake Dudman.

Of you don’t know Jacob Dudman as the multitalented, boomerang-jawed, 20-year-old YouTuber, impressionist and actor, then you’re definitely about to. He’s Big Finish’s hottest new phenom. Before the year is out, you’ll have heard him as the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, and a score of other characters, in audio Doctor Who. “It’s barely sunk in that this is my job now,” says Jacob.

Since 2014, Jake’s YouTube videos have showcased his talent for mimicry and garnered over 3.7 million views. His most celebrated impersonations are of David Tennant and Matt Smith. “Even before Big Finish, people would email me and say, ‘I’ll give you a hundred quid to go, “Hi Ellie, you’re the Doctor,” or something down the phone,’” he explains, as we chat over dinner in a Camden Town burger joint. “I even did someone’s wedding proposal as Matt Smith. How could I not?

“But I’m absolutely adamant that my best impression, of all the Doctors, is the Ninth,” he insists. He’s still working on his Capaldi. “That one’s difficult, because he’s an almost-60-year-old man. But your voice does mature as you get older. The more voice work I’ve done, the quicker mine’s matured. Hopefully I’ll have the voice of Tom Baker by the time I’m 25.”

Most of Jake’s 77,000 YouTube subscribers are, he admits, 18-to-24-year-old women. “The strangest part is when people say they fancy me for sounding like Doctor Who. If someone comments a love heart emoji on your selfie, you feel elevated – ‘Aw, that’s nice’ – but when they go, ‘I love you so much, cos you sound like David Tennant,’ then it’s… well, it’s a bit odd, isn’t it?” He’s also weirded out when he gets recognised in public. “Last year, during the London heatwave, I went swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds. As I emerged half-naked, drenched in muddy water, I spotted a pretty girl. Finally, I plucked up the courage to talk to her – I’m still half-naked, covered in mud – and she turned and went, ‘Oh my god, I love your Doctor Who impressions.’” He pauses, chuckles and says, “So that was scarring.” He has some famous fans too, such as impressionist – and recent collaborator – Jon Culshaw (“in my eyes, he’s the best impressionist in the UK,” says Jake), former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies (“I made a joke on Instagram about the general election,” Jake recalls, “and Russell DM’d me saying, ‘Everyone should vote for you!’ He’s a sweetheart”), and writer-actor Mark Gatiss, who was “really excited, having watched my and Jon’s The Great Curator video []. He messaged me saying, ‘Can you do all the Doctors?????’ – with multiple question marks. The answer is no, Mark, sorry.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • An exclusive interview with new executive producer Matt Strevens • Showrunner Chris Chibnall's Production Notes • An interview with Michelle Gomez, who is returning to voice Missy for a new Doctor Who game • Out of the TARDIS returns, with Strax actor Dan Starkey answers random questions • A tribute to the late David Fisher, who wrote four stories for Tom Baker's Doctor • New insights from the designers responsible for creating Doctor Who's 2005-10 logo • Performance artist Richard De Domenici tells DWM about his recreation of a scene from Frontier in Space at London's South Bank • Actor-impressionist Jacob Dudman is interviewed about playing the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors • DWM finds out what happened at a Dalek world record attempt in Milwaukee last year • Christel Dee’s guide to cosplaying a Time Lord • Part five of The Phantom Piper, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story The Doctor's Wife • Previews, book and audio reviews, news, DWM's Season Survey results, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and crossword and much, much more!