When Tim Treloar and Katy Manning return as the Third Doctor and Jo Grant in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five, they’ll be joining forces with three other iconic characters from 1970s Doctor Who. Today we chat to Daisy Ashford who plays UNIT scientific adviser, Liz Shaw.
Out for release in May 2019, we’ve two more adventures for the Third Doctor and Jo in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five. Along with Tim Treloar as the Doctor and Katy Manning as Jo Grant, Jon Culshaw takes on the role of UNIT commanding officer Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, plus Daisy Ashford will reprise the role of Liz Shaw, the first companion of the Third Doctor.
Daisy is the real-life daughter of the original Liz Shaw actress, the late Caroline John. Caroline played the role on TV and on audio in several Companion Chronicles for Big Finish.
Big Finish (BF): Welcome to Big Finish! We’re very excited about the next volume of The Third Doctor Adventures, thank you for talking to us today. Apart from your familial connection to the world of Doctor Who, have you done any work similar to Big Finish before?
Daisy Ashford (DA): I’ve done radio before, and some other audios with Big Finish. [Daisy has done many actually! You can hear her in Graceless series 2, Doctor Who – The Early Adventures: Domain of the Voord, Doctor Who Main Range release: The Butcher of Brisbane, Fourth Doctor Adventure: The Renaissance Man and Drama Showcase release, Unintelligent Design].
BF: And with Doctor Who, you have a very special connection…
DA: Yes, you could say I’m the lovechild of an assistant and a Master!
BF: Was it always a big part of your life when you were growing up?
DA: I was always aware of Doctor Who, I knew Mum had starred in the show, but I don’t think I was aware that Dad also played a part (as the Master in The Keeper of Traken). And obviously I watched the show as a kid. It wasn’t until Mum started going to conventions that it came back into my parents’ lives fully and I became much more aware.
I do remember watching an episode when I was young, seeing my Mum disintegrate – and then being really upset, even though she was just in the kitchen next door!
BF: That’s a unique experience – not many people see their family fighting aliens on television and then see them in real life straight afterwards!
DA: I suppose as I’ve grown up with parents who are actors that’s what is normal to me, but when I think of it from an outside perspective, it’s quite odd…!
BF: How has recording been the last two days?
DA: Brilliant. I love working for Big Finish, it’s always good fun. It’s been very special to portray Liz.
BF: Has it been emotionally difficult at all, taking on your mum’s character?
DA: No, I think the role came at just the right time. If the opportunity had happened a couple of years before, it may have been more emotional. But it’s been six years now, enough time has passed.
As I was preparing for the part I was watching her old episodes and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching them. It was nice to reconnect, and to see her again in action… she’s really good, which can also be daunting! It’s been really nice, and to talk about her and refresh memories of her.
BF: Plus, you have one of the most fun casts. Tim and Katy are a barrel of laughs.
DA: Katy’s just brilliant. Apparently she and my mum used to be very giggly and naughty together, which I can absolutely see now that I know Katy. I don’t know how she has so much energy! More than all of us put together.
BF: And also we’ve got Jon Culshaw, who we all know from his amazing impersonations. How has it been working with him?
DA: He’s wonderful, and very talented. And incredibly nice! My overall experience is that everyone is so nice. Every time I remember the studio, it’s always of how lovely people are. There are no egos, everyone is so happy to be working together. It’s a pleasure.
BF: And I must ask, as it’s something that often comes up… how were the lunches?
DA: The lunches are ALWAYS wonderful, but I have say, Toby’s lunches (at the Moat Studios) are something else. He’s a culinary genius.
BF: We have some classic monsters coming back in this box set. The Primords and (spoilers…!)
DA: I love how everyone chips in for the monster noises as well when recording. When the monsters are grouped together we’re all round the mike, slathering and growling.
BF: You could be mistaken in thinking the monsters are sound effects or other voice artists, but quite often they are played by the actors on the day.
DA: All live! We have a brilliant guy playing the Primords, I’ve never known anyone switch the monsters so easily, readily and effectively as him. It’s an incredible talent. It’s such a pleasure to be part of it, in whatever capacity to work for Big Finish.
BF: Would you like to play more of Liz Shaw?
DA: Absolutely! It is something really special to take on the part my mother embodied. When Big Finish originally asked me if I wanted to do the part I said, “Yes!” Didn’t even have to breathe.
BF: And if you could write your own story for Big Finish, what would you write?
DA: The one thing my Mum always said was that she never got to travel in the TARDIS, to go off-Earth. So I think we should get Liz in space. I think she could show some aliens a thing or two, sort out a few planets!
Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will be released in May 2019, and is available for pre-order now at £25 on CD and £20 on download.