Fifty Years Of Time Travel By The Companions: Freema Agyeman

Being in Doctor Who changed my life. I went from being a steady, guesting actress to people recognising me and knowing my name. I auditioned a couple of times, and for the spin-off show Torchwood. Then the producers called to ask if I could come to Cardiff, tomorrow to screen test with David Tennant. I was really nervous. David sent me a note saying, "Just be yourself, have fun." The next day the producers called when I was driving with my sister and said I'd got it. I nearly drove off the road.
David was a dream to work with. He is a huge Doctor Who fan and as a child dreamed of being in the show. He was always being hoisted up, dragged around, put in prosthetics. I don't think I heard him complain once. It's an incredibly physical show. I'm 5ft 2 in - and I think David is 6ft 1in - so to get us both in shot, I was always running in heels, often on cobblestones.
The show was hilarious to work on. The whole period John Barrowman was with us was so funny. We would often get the giggles. I remember shooting Daleks In Manhattan. We were in a music hall and the Daleks had these humans on a leash. We were supposed to be hiding and suddenly we all got the giggles. It wasn't a funny scene, but we were all hysterical.
Shows reflect life and society. Look at the Carry On films from 40 years ago, all the bum slapping and "phwoar!!". Things have changed and Doctor Who has changed too. The companions today are there to challenge the Doctor, to contribute.
They are intelligent, gutsy, strong, positive role models. Do I think there is room to change further? Yes. I'd love to see the Doctor be a woman one day, or a different ethnicity. It's one of the major strengths of the show. The Doctor can be anything.

Taken from The Weekend Guardian Magazine. Available today.