Vworp Vworp The Dr Who Fanzine

The Waif from Space

The Waif from Space

The Waif from Space

Vworp Vworp! had the pleasure of sitting down with actress Carole Ann Ford, to delve into the joys and frustrations of playing the doctor's granddaughter Susan, and the indelible mark those twelve months left on her career. Interview by Reecy Pontiff.

Sixty years after she began her role as the Doctor’s first travelling companion, Carole Ann Ford’s eyes still gleam with vivacity, though the depth of her experience also shines through.

The original cast and crew of Doctor Who all had their own versions of the early days, and with a cheerful smile Carole chuckles that those stories “change every time”.

Her own memory of being cast as the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman begins with Rex Tucker, the interim producer for the show. After Verity Lambert took over, Rex invited Verity and Doctor Who director Waris Hussein to take a look at Carole on a project they were both involved in, an episode of the BBC’s Suspense TV series called The Man on the Bicycle (18 March 1963).

“This particular thing I did involved a lot of screaming – Rex thought obviously my screaming was up to the mark. So they were up in the control room without my knowledge, and they were spying on me. They did see me acting, but they were watching me just wandering around the studio, looking at the odd monitor, etc, completely off guard.”

It wasn’t until over 40 years later that Carole found out why she’d been cast as Susan, when she convinced Verity Lambert to take part in a convention on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

She and Verity were lounging poolside, and Carole finally asked why she’d been chosen for the role. “She said, ‘Well, you were strange!’ And I said, ‘Do you mean unique, original?’ She said ‘No, strange.’ So there you are, strange Susan… But then they didn’t want me to be strange!

I was trying to put in some strangeness, because I thought, after all, I was an alien,” Carole explains.