If I was about to cast the role of companion in “Doctor Who”, the first person I would have in my office would be children’s television presenter Anna Williamson. She currently co-hosts “Toonattik”, in the GMTV weekend slot, which I presume is aimed at pre-teens, mainly running imported cartoon fare. Quite probably, the main reason I’d consider her for a major part in “Doctor Who” is that she looks like a younger version of Caroline Harker, whom I’ve always thought would’ve been terrific in the programme. Anna is lively and spirited in a job which isn’t exactly awe-inspiring, but maybe she enjoys it, although, unfortunately, she has been absent rather a lot just recently!
Of course, it doesn’t follow that being good looking means Anna can necessarily act. In the past, this hasn’t stopped casting directors on “Doctor Who”, or indeed many other series, when choosing a new, usually female, face to play alongside the leading man. I wouldn’t have chosen Billie Piper to play Rose but then I wouldn’t have cast Sophie Aldred as a companion in the classic series either, and, like Anna, her talents lay mainly in presenting shows for a younger audience. Back in the late 80s, they had a choice between Sara Griffiths, as Welsh tomboy Ray in “Delta and the Bannermen”, and Sophie, as teen tearaway Ace in “Dragonfire”. They went with the latter while, based on the evidence of those two stories, I’d have gone with the former.
Quite why Freema Agyeman has been cast as Martha is beyond me. Yes, again she is good looking but, on the evidence of “Crossroads”, as well as her very brief appearance as Adeola in the penultimate episode of last year’s season of “Doctor Who”, I wouldn’t have chosen her. As I’ve said before, had I been choosing from the actresses appearing in year two, I’d have gone with MyAnna Buring (Scooti) simply on the level of commitment she showed, getting in the water tank for such a short scene, in recording “The Impossible Planet”. I’m no doubt considered old fashioned in my choice but I see Ms Williamson playing a character along the lines of Polly, Anneke Wills’ mid 60s companion who saw Hartnell regenerate into Troughton. The above picture shows Anna in pantomime “Jack and the Beanstalk”!