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A Georgia hi, David, I know how much you love drinking things with my face on is disgusting. Well, Lo, we got married.
Oh, David does a podcast with has got marriage as a sentence. I never thought I'd say. Yeah.
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Oh Georgia match march.
I can hear you and you can hear me right. Oh sure. Where are you David. You're in London. I'm in London. Yeah. Jerry's rented somewhere in the country. He's out.
Is he off working somewhere.
He was recording in the country doing the music for the show which coincided with lock down. Oh, that's quite nice. He's just so good. In fact, coming back to London has been. A real fucking shock, right? David Tennant does a podcast with Billie Piper. So, Bill, yeah, your new show, I Hate Sushi, that's just been released and you have.
Well, we've just been talking about you've been everywhere, you've been in every paper, interviewed all over the place, your multiple faces staring down from billboards around the country.
And you're the creator and the producer and the star of it. And you've been working on the show for years. So when you get to the end of this big old massive push, when you're so passionately responsible for it and it's it's hanging on your shoulders, what is the ratio as you send out into the world?
What is the ratio of anxiety to excitement? I'm.
Do you know what's actually quite surprising, I was about to say anxiety was leading all the way, but actually when I think about it, that's not true. I was more excited for this show to come out. I feel very anxious now in the aftermath of it, probably the sort of calm down a bit coming out. And I would actually I would actually say I felt more excited than anxious. Right. Isn't that weird? And that feels like a new experience.
This is the first time I've ever felt like that delivers because you are so personally involved in it and take control of all of it. And maybe that's just the more comfortable experience for me. Maybe that's what it is. Yeah. So if it falls apart, you know, you had some part of that, it wasn't completely taken out of your hands by the creatives. Yeah. It's been a big hit, though, of course.
So are you reading what's been written about it?
What happens? This is my process. So Lucy read everything because that's who she is. And she will filter and send through things that she thinks I can mentally handle.
Right. OK. That's Lucy Prebble, local radio creative writer.
Yeah. And that's how I like to do all of my work. Have a buffer.
Yeah. Yeah. I sort of rely on my friends to send me things that they think I'm strong enough for.
Yeah. How comfortable are you with all that promotional?
Who are the promotional stuff I've become less comfortable with? I've actually found doing things on Zoome and not being live in a studio or not being not having to show up and attend in that sort of shiny way. I find that massively relaxing. Oh, that's good. Yeah. So I've, I've actually quite in joyed that experience. Yeah. You know all the stuff that you have to do to go on the shows that actually become quite stressful as a woman.
I don't know if it's the same man look great on, be funny and have good anecdotes. And you know, there's a there's a sort of padding around this experience that I prefer. So that stuff was fine. And then the the things that people say, you know, unfortunately, that's going quite well. So all round. So.
Yeah, yeah. But the experience of making it was something very different. Right. And what do you want. Padded.
Not comfortable or remotely comfortable, even though you were a you had that level of control that you'd never had before in the actual physical making of it.
So the filming of it and then going into post-production in lock down of course. Right. Because we were at home with our kids and we were trying to do the post-production in a house whilst everyone's home schooling. Johnny's doing the music in the back room. And I'm doing watching all the edits and all of that stuff. It was. Yeah, yeah.
Do you have a tactic when you're in the white heat of all that promotional stuff, do you have a tactic for deflecting the questions that come up with withering predictability?
I heavily brief them before we start the session to don'ts. I hit them with a memo about right.
What is and isn't all right to ask? Oh, no, that's not true. There's only a few things I won't go near. And those things are private things, things that I, I do not feel comfortable discussing are now completely off the table. And, you know, everything else is fair game. These are small but very important things to me that mean that I can have some sort of private life and so can my kids. Yeah. Yeah.
Because one of the things you will never escape being asked about ever is is Doctor Who, which is where he met fifty, fifty years ago.
Day long time.
Well it's awful isn't it.
Well, not awful, but when you meet kids that the conventions were like, oh my name's Rose, I was named after you when I was born 50 years ago.
And you're like, oh, my girl growed up person.
Yeah, he's smoking Rose cigarette and walking around with one of those big tankards of beer. They drink, you know, there's big sort of like Asterix vibe.
Yeah, well, it was fifty years ago you'd just done a season as Rose, the nation's sweetheart.
And I was just arriving for season two and we showed a very happy and tense name. Making that, you know, you have spent a great deal of the last 15 years being asked about it, but where were you when you did that, that you were involved in something that you would be carrying with you for the rest of time?
Not at all. I had absolutely no idea. Right. Because you didn't have you didn't grow up with it.
You didn't have that sort of. No, I didn't grow up with it.
So I didn't have that feeling that you had. Yeah. Let's say, which is of complete fandom and. Yeah. And you were obsessed, right. You you have this encyclopedic knowledge of that. Well, I don't.
So yeah. I didn't grow up with it. And then actually when we started making it, everyone said it was going to be. Yeah. So you just didn't imagine it being gone for longer than three months, imagining that 15 years later you it's still probably the biggest job you will have ever done and you'll still be talking about it and going off and meeting people and celebrating it is that was a big reach. Yes.
Because filming on that first, it was a bit untried, wasn't it, though. Yeah. Nobody had made a show like that in the UK for well ever. Really.
Yeah. It was newground and easing technology that Hollywood used or a version of it. Yeah, you're quite right. It's a huge gamble. And, you know, we were all quite aware of that when we were shooting it, which sort of meant that we can enjoy it as much as we did in our second series with you because everyone went mental for it. And that was a really nice feeling going back.
Yes, it wasn't like filming a normal job, certainly wasn't my experience of it, because when we were on vacation, we'd be surrounded by crowds.
There was people buzzing around wherever we were or bundled in in our cars and western to places through the back door and chased by photographers. And it's the closest I've ever felt to imagine what it must be like to be a pop star.
But having actually been a pop star were the two relatable experiences. Yeah, they were.
And sometimes I found that quite hard because I had like three years just living a life that wasn't particularly normal. But it wasn't 17 hours a day selling records and being very, very actively public. And then I really enjoyed those sort of sloppy years. And then going back to starting doctor who just reminded me about that and the sort of pressure and responsibility and responsibility was a big part of it because I was in my early 20s and quite wild. And then you're the sort of face of a family show.
And I really I found that really hard.
Right, because you'd sort of been there before.
You mean because I've been there before and it's an uncomfortable position for me. I've never really liked that you become this thing to people and you don't really have any part in that. And so you have to behave a certain way or at least try to. And, you know, that's quite annoying. Yeah.
I mean, the worst thing in the world. Yeah. But it means that you can't be yourself entirely and it means that you become incredibly guarded and for me, reclusive always. Yes.
I've often said in the intervening 15 years that entering into that madness and the kind of cavalcade that that show was, and particularly that loss of anonymity, which I had not really experienced before.
Oh, my God, there was something and I don't know that I really understood this at the time, but because I had you to go on that journey with I think I survived it much better than I may have done. Not because you actually very good at it.
No, no, no, no, no, no. You practiced at it. You sort of knew what that was to lose that kind of layer of skin.
And it was quite it was very helpful to be on that journey with someone who understood what it was.
Yeah, it's a massive shock, isn't it? Yeah, it really is. It was. I remember it being a massive shock for you, understandably.
Yeah, well, it's very hard to prepare for that, isn't it.
And yeah, I mean, it dominates every dinner party and wedding that you go to for the next 15 years. And it's fine. It's fine. But it's not not a thing. Yes.
I think I really missed you when you'd gone just because I'd really cherish that partnership sort of on screen and off, because I think we were both going through quite different but significant kind of life transitions at the time.
Yeah. You know, that felt we felt like a very significant time. Yeah, I know. I agree.
And one of the things that I hate Suzy is about is that collision of the private world in the public world, isn't it? And it's not autobiographical. But you have given the lead character some biographical details that have parallels with the.
Her own life, is that because you just thought there's a lot of material to mine here? Yeah, because it's it's a fun world to dramatize, it creates a lot of narrative. And that's really helpful when you're trying to come up with a sort of fresh form and way of telling a story. So it opens up the worlds a bit. And as much as that's about a famous person, it really is a metaphor for how we all live our life on some level now.
And I suppose the sort of sci fi convention that we go to. Yes, I have done sci fi conventions, but we're not sort of using it in this autobiographical way. We're just using it as a tool to tell a certain part of a story. You know, people are like, well, of course it's our life. I would be horrified. And actually, I'll say it now, horrified if people thought I was like entirely like Susie Pickles.
I'm sure we share well, you know, face for a start and you know all of that. But it's a it's a performance.
I'm not that person. And the same can be said for Lisa as well as, like, so insulting to just go, oh, it's just Billy's life. And she's just scribbling. And what happened next? And then what happened is like, there she is. She's a very skilled writer. She can come up with things that aren't just real. And this is her imagination working at 100 percent. So, yes, there are similarities, but we use a little bit just to help make it really sort of colourful, I guess, because the world that we live in is working is meant.
Yeah. And it's so fun to dramatize that. Yeah.
But ultimately, it's about having something taken out of your hands as a woman and and completely destroying your life. Yeah.
And yet the act of making it has been an act of you taking more control hasn't it.
And then last year your your feature film Rare Beasts premiered, which you wrote, directed and starred in. Yeah. You're clearly relishing this, taking more control.
Does it does this feel like a journey you've always been on or is it taking you by surprise?
No, I think I've always wanted to write and direct. I probably wasn't ever in a position of I don't know, maybe I just wasn't sort of as confident. And I did just get to a point with the acting where I there were things I really love. But those opportunities or roles are few and far between. And it just I just think it makes sense nowadays that if you have something to say as an artistic person, that you do it yourself, because that seems to be the world in which we're living now.
It's I found it hard in the end to just be an actress for hire who wasn't considered for certain parts because I wasn't in the group of the five actresses that get cast for absolutely everything in this country. So, yeah, that pissed me off.
Right to this is no part of what you do going forward, developing your own stuff, and I hope so.
Yeah, I hope so. I hope I can continue to do it and I hope we can all continue to work. I just don't know how how it is going to work with, you know, bloody covid. Yeah.
Well it will eventually pass maybe.
I think things are starting up now that you know for how long. But you're doing your own stuff now.
Well yeah. Try to bloody grow.
I loved I love that show. I overlooked.
Well things like that present themselves slightly by surprise sometimes. Yeah.
Because it's interesting. You made Susie a teenage pop star, which is a very specific detail that you have very particular knowledge about. Why that exact detail? Well, I'd like to draw attention to the fact that she became a pop star and one of those like early sort of pop stars. Yes.
So it's difficult to your experience is as it's a minor difference, but it's significant. Well, I just think. I think that that moment is about how bright and shiny and wanted you are in your teens and as a girl and then you know the journey that you go on, which is polarizing, I think, as a woman. So it felt like a really, again, a good place to start dramatically. And then the next time you see her, she's getting this really fantastic role.
But as a an old Disney princess and then her life is completely torn apart. So it just felt like a really good place to start because, you know, it sort of talks very quickly, but quite importantly about being a young woman versus being an old and old.
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Lovely of Mac gets was back in the 90s. I'm Akoto Frata. I am Tracy Clayton. We're celebrating our favorite boy bands, army groups, the golden era of hip hop and diva hits with a new podcast, my 90's playlist and each episode will celebrate one of our favorite 90 songs the lyrics, the music, how each song came to be, and the effect that each song had on the world.
Subscribe to my 90's playlist wherever you get your podcasts. Do you think this the fact that you have journey towards taking more control of what you do is in any way influenced by the fact that your career in the entertainment industry started out as a teenage pop star who had zero control over what you were doing? Absolutely right. Completely as a pop star's professional and also personal as well.
Because you do I don't think I realized that you were the youngest woman ever to debut at number one on the charts with her first record. What does that do to a 15 year old mind? Are you able to take that in the scale of that?
No, no, I don't think you are. I've been talking about this more recently, and I think I'm only just coming to terms with a lot of those things that happened to me. My teen pop star is I think it's deeply unnatural to experience such heights at that age. I think it gives you a false sense of. Power and yeah, I just I think it's a very, very confused and not something I'd want for my own kids. Hmm.
You've been very honest about the pressure of that lifestyle at that age and that it took you to some pretty dark places. And yet you seem to me like a very robust and wise human being. Do you think it's just the case that no human could survive that kind of experience unscathed, or is it just unnatural?
Yeah, I think if you're not having if you're not sort of falling apart around those things that are happening to you, then maybe there is something wrong. Or maybe you just you've just had the sort of the the most perfect therapist upbringing or something. I don't know. I don't think it's natural to be normal around that life.
And so, you know, inevitably you come out with some issues and some of them are issues for life, you know, and yes, I wanted it so much. And also I was genuinely interested and invested in the art. So it made such sense for me. But, you know, I prayed for every night.
So that's the tricky bit, isn't it? Because when you get to that kind of an age when you're not quite a child, not quite an adult, should you be denied? I mean, should you have been stopped from doing that or must you be allowed to follow your own path at that age?
Well, I was too young, I suppose. Well, I would say my I was way too young, but I was really headstrong as a young girl. I was really ambitious and really probably precocious. And, you know, I worked so hard as a young girl. And I know that's not remarkable. I think girls are like this. They, you know, being very high achieving. I was always like that. And I probably quite scary to my parents who also wanted me to have a life that they had never had.
And so they were seduced by the opportunity to like, you know, I imagine it would have seemed unfair or cruel to deny me something that's so different to the life that they had experienced. So it does make sense. But, you know, I wouldn't let my kids go near it. But I know that's because of my experience. And, you know, maybe that's unhealthy and unhelpful, but it's a very unsafe life. I don't know. Would you let your kids or you've got kids going into it, haven't you?
Well, our 18 year old is acting now, but that's 18. That's. Yeah, but he started doing that.
But yeah, no, of course, he goes off on his own, which he didn't initially know I would be. I lived on my own at 13. I mean, I lived I had my own flat at 14 years old. Right.
I was getting home after an 18 hour day, cooking myself some food, beans and rice and milk because I was a child. Sure. And then getting up at five and going to work.
Very weird. Yes. But initially glorious and exciting, by the way.
I say very weird on reflection. And I am sad and scared for my younger self. But at the time I may say yeah, not around my parents, not at school, frankly, escaping my GECAS, doing the thing that I tried to do every night and loving doing that. And the first couple of years of it were just brilliant, mind bending. But then, you know, unremarkably it takes a very sudden and steep turn.
So do you grieve for that teenage girl? Do you feel like there was something that that a bit of your life that you didn't get? I've learned to grieve for that child, to go through therapy like that's what they do, isn't it, when you die, like, you know, going back family origins and then the comforting, I find it very hard, very comforting your little girl self, which just makes me cringe so hard. But I know that it's important to just have to be honest about my relationship with some of the things they ask is just like, well, this is just like you said.
Yeah, sure. Of course you can. You can still benefit from it. That's OK. Oh, absolutely.
I think you have to laugh at it because, you know, at some point you've got to go. I, I, I refuse to do that stupid thing you're asking me to do. And so anyway, I've been encouraged to feel for that little me and and so now I do a bit. Do you feel that you were let down by the people around you at the time?
I think it was the 90s and it was a very different time, very different. The rules were in and the playground was everyone had so much money and the music industry was so huge and was just blowing up. And everyone was very turned on by that. And I think I probably got lost in that as well. And I did I did have some really beautiful sound people around me. But, you know, I was behaving like an adult and I think that normalized that experience for everyone else.
Do you regret that time?
Oh, no, not at all. None of it. None of our. I don't regret that time. I can't regret that time, really. I don't think that would be very helpful. No, and I suppose you can't unpick. All what all those experiences combined to to do to your later life can, you know, like I wish I had done some things better and I wish other people had done some things better, but I don't sit there at night feeling really angry and regretful.
All right. It's interesting that it was as a singer, you became this teenage sensation because as a kid, you always wanted to be an actor first, didn't you? Yeah, always. And you weren't a confident singer.
I could hold a tune, but I went to school. You know, those guys sing, sing, and Winehouse is at my school, for chrissake. You know, that's a voice that has a voice. Yeah. Yeah. I really just loved I loved the acting from a really young age. And I remember the moment that I made the decision my mom was ironing in the living room and really inappropriately we were watching Band of Girls.
Oh, yeah. The thing about the prostitute I know Joe now.
I was thinking, oh, maybe that's why I. No, it's not.
But I remember seeing Samantha Morton sort of falling apart and just being an incredible actress and me just going, who is that? I feel so moved by this person. Like I remember I said to my mom, just go. Do not think that's amazing. You don't feel so moved by how I obviously didn't use that language.
Where are you at this point? Probably about nine or ten. Right. And then just going. That's what I want to do.
And what did you make of that? I don't know. So she had loads of stuff going on, so I don't know. She I take you seriously.
Did that seem like a realistic thing to pursue? Oh, yeah. She never said you couldn't do that. No. My parents really, you know, really went for it with me. They did. They really wanted it for me. And we didn't have much money, you know. So drama school. I got a scholarship and then my dad had to find the money for the rest of my dad's a builder, my mom's a housewife. So it was like that's a lot of cash to find, including my travel and boarding.
So, yeah, they went for it with me.
Because you were a bit older when you got your three siblings, weren't you? You were sort of an only child for a while.
Yeah, I was an only child until I was seven too. Did that change the dynamic? Did that make it harder for you to be heard? Oh, probably, yeah.
But also, I took on a lot of responsibilities for, you know, I took care of the kids a lot through choice or just because the family dynamic required that a bit of both.
My mom had what I think now was post-natal depression when I think when my third sister was born, she became very, very it was a very bad time for my mum. And they used to call it a nervous breakdown then. And maybe it was. But actually, she had three kids back to back and she was a stay at home mom. So it makes sense to me that that was postnatal. So, yeah, I did a lot of raising of the kids.
And to be honest, I really liked him. I really relished it. I really love teaching them and taking care of them when they were little. Yeah, I mean, my younger sister, I used to pretend she was mine, right?
We talked about that the other night. Actually, I went to she said, I can't remember is a really significant moment in my life. Who would you pretend to talk to? My friends. I would take her out with me, with my mates. You know, the days and you'd take a 10 year old would take five year olds on a bus journey to your local town. When people used to do that, obviously, I wouldn't let my kids watch the end of the street.
But yeah, I would take her out and show her off and make up on and smoke facts around her. And she was like, my child. Right? She can't remember any of it. I'm sure it was formative all the same.
Ah, you're still very close to the three of them.
I've got a lot closer to them recently, actually, the older sister of the two has had kids, so that has really brought us back together. And and also me having kids has sort of, you know, made me want to be around my family in a way that I got out of the habit of doing.
Yes, because like you said, you became essentially a border Sylvia Young theatre school at 13, you stop living at home in the week. But when you did go to Silvio's, did you feel like you'd found your tribe?
In many ways. Yes. But also no, because those kids weren't anything like the kids are grown up with. And my experiences were quite advanced. These kids felt very sort of kiddish to me, whereas I'd been behaving like a 17 year old. So that was quite different. Also, there was a sort of blood sport nature to the ethos. Well, no, it's not ethos is it is incredibly competitive and that's hard, although I loved some of the experiences and some of the teachers who were completely menza of which I was a teacher who smoked in the class.
Wow. That sounds very 90s.
I mean I mean, that was the I mean, they were so characterful, the teachers, and it was such a brilliant and immersive experience. It really it really was.
Did that feel a bit threatening, a bit scary or you could you read it. You were really light. I find it so amusing. Right.
So when you were plucked out to become the pop face of your generation, will your peer group. Happy for you or furious? I have no idea, because I was just gone literally in a week, really. I don't know how people feel about that. And you had no regrets about that? You were out the door.
I was out the door, yeah. Sure. So someone just came to the school and we're looking for a pop star. We'll have her. Thanks.
Well, basically, I was like the face of the relaunch of Smash Hits magazine.
So you were with a big bubble with the bubble gum. Yeah.
And then they used the image on the front of this trade magazine called Music Week. And it was me just like pointing at the camera with this crazy hair and being sassy and stuff. And there was a sort of sister label came up at Virgin Records called Innocent, and they wanted to sign a very young female artist. And I was on the front cover of this magazine on this music sex table. And he went, who is she and where is she?
And it sounds very creepy now, but it was it really wasn't. And I would hate for people to think in any way that that was kind of weird and predatory. It wasn't. He was like, hey, this girl, can she sing? And, you know, it was very much pitched on the way I looked. And, you know, I can I can be confident and conflicted about that. But then he came to the school and said, can she sing?
Would she do a demo tape? So I did a demo tape. And they said it was good enough and they signed. They signed me, right. So, yeah, that's that's sort of how it how it went. I mean, it's kind of a weird dream story, isn't it?
What did your mom and dad make of that? Because obviously, they've been you know, they've been very much supportive of all this, they made extra efforts to get the money to send you there.
This must have felt. They must be hugely proud and excited and at the same time terrified, aren't they? I think so, yeah. We're not a family of talkers, so it's not like we've really had that one out and sort of childishly and selfishly, I was only interested in how I know selfishly I was a kid, so I was just only interested in how I felt about that experience. But they seemed really, really happy and excited for me, but also quite moderate around it as well.
Like they weren't screaming in my face, oh, my God, you got to be famous.
It was like it wasn't like gross like that.
But were you thinking that. Yeah. And that was the goal at that stage. Not to be famous, but I did strategically think that I was I was very mindful of the fact that it wasn't acting and that's what I really wanted to do. But I in my little 13 year old had I thought, but maybe this will be an opportunity for me to become a successful actor.
That's pretty clear sighted of you at that age. I think it's quite strange, actually. Yeah, yeah. Clear sighted slash. Weird and ultimately absolutely correct.
But it was a bit of a journey to get there.
Yes, it was a it was a it was a journey. And when it did get all got dark and you you had to walk away from that career.
Did that always feel like I'm taking the time out to breathe and then I'm going to come back and do what I always wanted to do? Or was it impossible to be with you in such a dark place by the end of the pop star days?
And I must say, I was in a dark place and. Just ready to have a bit of a normal life, whatever that meant for me. I was just so tired, if I'm honest, I was I think I was so tired. I was really just burnt out. And I also just wanted to have some freedom and I just wanted to stay at home and learn how to cook properly and just do sort of heat what felt like healing things.
So I went and got completely hammered for three years with Chris Evans.
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. You had the most abnormal normal life for a few years, I guess. Totally. But so much fun and yeah. Just living very hard but with a lot of love and a big dose of curiosity and just. Yeah, amazing time. It's funny because everyone framed that period in my life as these sort of horribly debauched, irresponsible, me falling apart, looking like Cher, putting on weight. And that was really important to me, that period of my life, exactly where you needed.
I needed that. Me not looking perfect every day in a tabloid was the best way for me to heal. Like every time there'd be a picture of me looking, like, completely groomed and manicured within an inch of my life, I can tell you is completely unhappy and starving and dark on the inside. And I haven't brushed my hair since. They've obviously brushed it for work. But you never see my answer was that, oh, baby, why why don't you brush your hair?
Just brushed your hair. But I really, really have rejected that stuff. Yeah.
Yes. You had this whirlwind marriage to Chris Evans, who was and is very famous television and radio personality. But the two of you sort of dropped out of life, didn't you, and kind of went off round the world. It was like tabloid catnip.
Of course they were.
They could believe that this young girl and the slightly older man could really be having this wonderful time.
But for you, it was a purely positive experience.
Yeah, we had a really amazing time together. Yeah. You know, it is I imagine it's what your uni years feel like, you know. Yeah. Sort of reckless, but you're learning a lot. It was learning it was an incredible time. And not to undermine our relationship because we also had a very loving relationship. It wasn't just, oh, we're getting going and getting fucked is that we we had a very caring, loving relationship.
Yeah, and and eventually that allowed you to kind of reboot and start life as as the actor you, me, because it meant that I let go of the the singing and that world in quite a brutal way, whereby I think I just stop taking people's calls, really.
You just stop touching the phone and eventually it stopped.
Just stop. Were there any repercussions of that other sort of record company showing up and waving contracts at you and.
Yeah, I think I'm I think there was a lot of money that wasn't recouped.
Let's say that you were successful, Pop. So they must have made the money off you. They made lots of money, I'm sure. But, you know, I, I also then just turn my back on it all. So I think, you know, they would have liked to have made a bit more money, probably. Right. And so I started going to acting classes in L.A. because we moved out to Los Angeles for a couple of No.
Four, five months. Right. And then I came home and got an agent and just went for it. And then I got to.
Yeah, I remember when you got cast and I'll tell you before I was involved, of course, there was a lot of that because it was the first big high profile, like really high profile acting job you had probably you'd been working for a couple of years, but there was a lot of the the reaction to that was of the kind of all that pop star girl with. No, of course, with everything you've done in between seems extraordinary.
But at the time, was that something did that rankle or did you just think, I've just got to I've just got to see this through. I've just got to prove them wrong?
I didn't pay much attention to it. That's the other thing about Chris. Chris Evans taught me how not to engage with that stuff, basically by not reading it. Right, because it's so bad for you and so toxic, especially if what they're saying isn't favorable and at worst really horrible, like actively horrible. So he taught me how to not do that. And then so when Doctor Who, I had a sniff of it, but I, I didn't really know.
And of course, we didn't have smart phones.
So you weren't constantly being reminded. Yes. Yes, that's true. Totally different. Of course. Yeah. Yeah, you do. So I just went for it and I wanted to prove myself as an actress that that was my that was my goal. I wanted to prove it to myself, to my family and to the dream I had as a child.
I'm assuming it was opening doors as well. Yeah, yeah, it was, but, you know, it was also I feel like I've always had to shirk something, some form of version of myself whenever I do anything new, you know, people don't greet you with open arms when you're trying new things, especially not in this country. I don't know if the same can be said of America back in this country. It's like, oh, let's see it then.
Come on, let's see what it is. That is the attitude that runs through our industry and probably on some level, our country.
Yes, I remember being on set with you the day after the National Television Awards.
Yeah, and you'd won. Favorite actress for that first season of Doctor Who. Yeah, and I remember you being. Rightfully giddy about it. Oh, did that feel like you'd got over that hump there, that you'd been accepted? I think so, I think probably yeah, I'm pleased to hear that, because I can't remember feeling like that. So it's nice to hear that I was.
What do you mean you're not are you not able to objectively enjoy those moments?
I think just a lot has happened since, so I can't always remember those moments, which is kind of sad. But I remember the things that I feel really, really important motive that's to do with my children. But yeah, but yeah, moments like that, I can't really I remember Dr. Hugh coming out and feeling I remember that feeling like this is incredible how exciting I'm doing today. I want to do I remember that, but I can't remember feeling like really happy about that national television award.
Right. I think at the time I remember you saying something like it was the first time you'd won a prize for acting and it felt so good. Oh yeah.
That's nice to hear. Yeah. Amazing. I know. Of course, you're in a very different place.
Like you said, you've got three kids. Yeah. And you've won a bunch of acting awards since then. Of all of all different varieties.
Do you feel settled?
No, I do feel I think professionally I feel the most satisfied I've ever felt. I feel like I'm on a sort of personal, more personal journey myself, that that feels really meaningful and, you know, unending. But professionally, I just feel like. Yes, like this is great, right? I'm doing work I really, really care about with people. I really, really care about really talented people who are also really nice. And that really matters to me.
I feel safe for these people and I feel like we're making something that might actually. Can you hear my stomach? No, I can't say. I feel like I'm actually making stuff I really, really care about. And do you think being a parent makes you a different type of actor as well?
Yeah, I would say being a parent makes you better at. Yeah, well, I have to say it.
Yeah, you've got to get there because you're stuck with it.
But also I do I think, you know, you're exposed to enormous emotions all day long with children and they are an incredible study. And your feelings around them are also really interesting and deeply powerful. Also, you have no time. So you do things quickly, effectively, efficiently. You know that before kids, you would pore over acting roles like pore over for days thinking how you were going to say a word and what that word meant. And I don't personally do that anymore, and I think it's better for it.
Yeah, it's a great leveller, isn't that it's, um. It's a really good level. Yeah. It takes you out of your boring so your boring creative self.
How important was it to you to become, as you have done a hugely successful actor in the theater as well?
Because I remember when we first met, you would talk about the theater is like I said, I like an unknown country that you weren't entirely sure you want to you want to do it.
I know it was so terrifying, the theater and I saw you do it and you do it really well. And that seemed really powerful and fascinating to me because I love performing live, because that was my favorite thing about being a pop star. I didn't sing live. I never sang. I have, but I loved dancing and being on stage and having that relationship with an audience. So I sort of miss that, I think. And that's why I was always curious about what it was like to act on stage, which I done is it's good as a kid, but, you know, not so of seriously or professionally, but it's no seems to be something that you keep returning to an important part of what you do.
I really love it.
Yeah. I mean, I love it and I hate it. So I love it. Yes, I love rehearsals because it's like being at school and I love getting to know people and that's really fun and being stupid. And it's quite a playful experience and that's great. And I love the first couple of the first month.
And then I find it really hard because it's it's it's hard. It's hard to go and do it every night. And you want it to be so good you beat yourself up about it.
I don't beat myself up about it. I just it's just quite hard to do it. Yeah. It's quite hard to summon it all every night and do it as well as you did it the first time you did it and have the courage to let it change. Because that takes a certain level of confidence. I have only just found and also not be at home with the kids every night. I don't like that. But when I'm doing it, I'm thrilled.
Yeah, I'm having a great time is more than thinking about going to do it. That starts to happen when you're further into the run. Yeah.
Do you find it as you get older, your ambitions change? Yeah. Yeah, I would say I would say they're always changing for me, but within the world that I'm working on now, I I'm quite happy with where I'm at. I'm delighted to hear that.
Oh, yeah, I'm happy to be able to say it truthfully, so I have to say that and actually mean it is I feel like a relief.
Yeah, of course. Because like you you know, you because for years you just you just supposed to.
I'm so happy. I'm so, so grateful. I this is a great part. And sometimes they are. But, you know, sometimes you sort of lie about it and dress it up as something that is, you know, slightly disingenuous. Yeah, sure.
Well, I'm glad you're happy. You deserve to be. You're a real pleasure to know. We both have too many children now to see each other. As much as I wish we were able to tell anyone.
I don't see anyone. We don't leave the house either.
But I thank you for allowing Nicole. In fact, the other day I got three hours in the pub. Oh, it was a sunny day. Very good. Yeah. Because for me, one of those when I think about what do I miss about life before kids and life before kids and work, it's those spontaneous pub days. Yeah.
Well I hope you can have many more in the months and years.
And then when I finally let go of our houses again and really it's a pleasure to know you.
Oh, it's always lovely to see your face. Hear your voice. So thank you very much for this today. Oh, thank you.
David Tennant does a podcast with is a Something Else, a new mystery production produced by Zooey Edwards, additional production from Harriet Wells, Sarah CamNet, Steve Akerman and George Tenet. The sound engineer was Josh Gibson. The executive producer is Christina. Next time, some extra special extra bits from season two like this, when you're recording that show day after day, do you not reach a point where you go, I cannot put another piece of fucking sponge in my mouth?