Bernard Cribbins: "I Had Lovely Scenes With David"

Bernard Cribbins has spoken about his time filming Doctor Who in a new interview with Digital Spy. Bernard, who is celebrating 70 years in showbusiness this year, reminisces about his role in the 1966 spin off movie Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. and his return to the franchise over 40 years later as Wilfred Mott, grandfather to Donna Noble, and also reveals that he was once in talks to take on the iconic role himself.

Bernard hadn't expected his brief cameo in one episode to turn into something more significant. "I was playing that news vendor in the Christmas special [2007's Voyage of the Damned] which was a laugh - there with Kylie Minogue and David… it was lovely!" he said. "Then sadly, the man playing Catherine Tate's father in the series [Howard Attfield, who played Geoff Noble] was taken ill and subsequently died, bless him, and they wanted another male figure in that household.
"I think it was Phil Collinson, who was then producing, who said, 'What about bringing Cribbins back as Grandad?' - which is what happened, and it was a very happy association altogether."

He has very happy memories of playing Wilf and his time spent shooting in Cardiff along with David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble).

"He was a lovely guy to play and I had lovely scenes with David. I was very happy doing all that - splendid. And a great unit down in Wales - one of the best units I've ever worked with in all my 70 years. They really were a cracking team from director down to the tea-boy - absolutely spot on!"

Bernard had some hugely emotional scenes to shoot with David Tennant, but the quality of the writing made them a pleasure to shoot. "They were lovely - very enjoyable, and we didn't do 'em more than once or twice. We got it right. We knew what we were up to and they were so well-written - Russell T Davies's script was smashing. I'd do it again any old time, that one." However, he was keen to clear one thing up: “People actually say to me, 'You killed the Doctor!' - no, I didn't, I saved somebody else's life and inadvertently…"

And as for Bernard's own favourite incarnation of the Doctor:

"It was very nice to return to the Doctor and his family when I got the job down in Cardiff with David Tennant, who I thought was super. He was one of my favourite Doctors, certainly - I think he and Tom Baker were probably my favourites, if I had to choose."