SPOKEN WORD
The Actor Speaks
Volume 5
Louise Jameson

MJTV
RRP 9.99
Available 12 December 2005


Following a couple of Blake's 7-oriented releases, the Actor Speaks series returns to the worlds of Doctor Who. This volume focuses on Louise Jameson (the clue's in the title!), who played Leela opposite Tom Baker's Doctor and who went on to star in The Omega Factor, Bergerac, EastEnders and - her personal favourite - Tenko. But perhaps this CD should have been retitled The Actrine Speaks, since Louise reveals that she prefers the made-up word to the term "actor" or "actress".

There are three main interview segments. The first deals with Jameson's life and career in general, while the second is a Q&A session using questions sent in by readers of the MJTV website, and the third focuses specifically on the role of Blanche Simmons in Tenko. The "actrine" elaborates upon some of the backstage reasons behind the various undignified exits her characters have made from BBC television series: Leela getting married off in Doctor Who; Blanche succumbing off-screen to beriberi in Tenko; Susan Young being murdered by drowning in Bergerac; and Rosa di Marco getting hastily written out before her time in EastEnders.

Perhaps surprisingly, Jameson also reveals that she would love to return to Doctor Who. She has previously indicated that she would only be interested in returning to the series if she were to play the Doctor herself! However, she said that back in the early '80s, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, and she has since returned to the role of Leela already, in the 1993 Children in Need skit Dimensions in Time, and in Big Finish's Zagreus drama and Gallifrey series.

As with the Elisabeth Sladen edition of this series, none of those spin-off productions are brought up by interviewer Mark J. Thompson. Nor are Jameson's appearances in BBV's The Stranger or P.R.O.B.E. series, even though a comparison of the similarly themed Omega Factor and P.R.O.B.E. might have proved interesting.

Instead, Thompson ties in his Soldiers of Love CD series once again, via the inclusion of a new scene, starring himself and Jameson, set in the saga's universe. "Sins of the Mother", which is a sort of prequel to the comedy-drama series, explores the parentage and childhood of the villainous Aaran, though curiously it is a laughter-free zone.

The disc also features readings from the actrine's forthcoming one-woman show, Hot Flush, and from three poems, the best of which is "Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti - it's just so damn sexy!

As ever, this CD provides variety and more than a few laughs and surprises along the way. It Rosa to di occasion, despite the lack of P.R.O.B.E.-ing questions.

Richard McGinlay