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Doctor Who guest star Frank Skinner: 'I felt absolute, utter elation... and terror!'

(Image credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)

Lifelong Doctor Who fan Frank Skinner has his dreams come true this week when he makes a guest appearance in the Time Lord’s latest adventure.

The comedian plays a futuristic train engineer called Perkins in the episode Mummy on the Orient Express (Saturday, BBC1), which sees the Doctor and Clara terrorised by a deadly monster while taking an intergalactic train ride. We spoke to Frank about his special trip to space…


As a self-confessed Doctor Who geek, how did it feel to appear on the show?

“It was a strange mix between absolute, utter elation and terror. I didn’t realise the pressure of being in a programme that you are completely in love with. Everything I did, I thought, 'Oh no, that isn’t good enough for Doctor Who.'"

What was it like working with Peter Capaldi?

“At one point he said his lines literally eight inches from my face, and I was just looking at him, thinking, ‘My God, it’s the Doctor!’”

How would you describe your character, Perkins?

“Perkins is the futuristic equivalent of a car nut, always wanting to take the back off things. So he’s a smart guy who likes technology, which is where he intersects with the Doctor. When Clara and the Doctor are separated, Perkins becomes a kind of temporary companion as they try to solve the riddle of the mummy.”


Is your son Buzz a Doctor Who fan too?

“Filming the episode meant that I missed Buzz’s birthday. But ultimately I thought he would probably rather have a dad who has been in Doctor Who than one who was at a second birthday he can’t even remember.”

Did you get him any special souvenirs from the set?

“I got a photo of Peter Capaldi stepping out of the TARDIS, holding up a sign that says, ‘Happy Birthday, Buzz’, which I will now send to him every birthday for the rest of my life...”