Jemma Redgrave just started on Doctor Who this year, playing the Brig’s daughter Kate Stewart, and filling his shoes as the head of U.N.I.T. She likens the security level of the set to MI6, an organization similar to the CIA.
Jemma Redgrave might play the head of the super-secret U.N.I.T., but that didn’t prepare her for the extra level of security surrounding the filming of the 50th anniversary special of the show. Things were so top secret on the show, she wasn’t even allowed to say anything to her children about her work for 4-5 weeks, including the fact that she was thrilled to be working with former Time Lord David Tennant!
Redgrave tells What’s on TV, “Once we filmed in Trafalgar Square I knew it would be impossible to keep that under wraps! But what do you do? I was going to work and not being able to tell anyone what I was doing! It was like joining bloody MI6!”
The secrecy was all part of the master plan of showrunner Steven Moffat, who was very particular about what information was released. Instead of letting the tabloids and set watchers break the news about who was in the cast and what aliens would be involved, Moffat decided to let it all out via a press release the day before they filmed in the open and at historic landmarks like The Tower of London and Trafalgar Square. In an interview on the BAFTA red carpet he stated:
“All I’ve ever revealed about what we’re doing on Doctor Who is anything we’ve filmed outside. I’m rather reticent about what’s out there. I actually noticed people are making up stuff about what and who and what is and what is not in the special. You’re just going to have to wait until November to find out the truth.”
As you would imagine, Redgrave refused to divulge any meaningful details about the 50th anniversary special’s plot or her role in the show. On the other hand, she did let slip that the 50th was going to be an emotional ride full of comedy and heartbreaking emotion. She went on to tell What’s on TV:
“What I can tell you is that it’s absolutely bloody brilliant!…it’s philosophical, it’s deep, it’s an adventure story and if you’re a kid, you’re going to be taken on an extraordinary ride. It raises all sorts of interesting questions for anyone who wants to go deeper with it.”
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The anticipation is only going to build from here until November 23rd. Guest stars like Redgrave, David Tennant, John Hurt, and Billie Piper are likely to be peppered with questions for the next half year. Seasoned veterans like Tennant and Piper are particularly adept at double talk and staying mum. No information is likely to leak there. On the other hand, newcomers like John Hurt aren’t used to the scrutiny. He spilled the beans about forming a Trinity with Tennant and Smith’s Doctors roughly two weeks before the finale aired.
Do you want more information about the 50th anniversary, or are you content with the level of secrecy?