The Trial of a Time Lord - Interview with Michael Craig

Barnaby Eaton-Jones avoids the Vervoids and hops aboard the spaceliner Hyperion III to interview Commodore Travers himself, Michael Craig...

Barnaby Eaton-Jones (BEJ): Do you recall how you got the role of the Commander?

Michael Craig (MC): I just got a call from my agent and thought it might be fun. So, what the hell! I was a working actor and a job is a job, even though it was not top-of-the-range dough!

BEJ: Had you been aware of 'Doctor Who' before you appeared in it? Was it a show that you particularly wanted to be in?

MC: I was, indeed, aware of the show. I watched it with my kids, who were great fans. My younger son, Michael, got very excited by it and, I remember, during one episode told me: ‘If the Daleks do win in this one, I will say… Bugger!’ – he was about 5. I suspect he knows more colourful language now.

BEJ: Were you aware of the behind the scenes production troubles during the filming or were they kept at bay?

MC: I sort of knew about the production problems, I think we all did but, hey, so what. That’s what happens on many productions and you just say your lines, try not to look at the camera and get through it.

BEJ: This serial has many well-known actors in it (as well as yourself), had you worked with any of them before? What were your abiding memories of the shoot?

MC: It was good to work with Honor Blackman, who I knew well.

BEJ: Talking of Honor, she was Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger’ and I hear tell that you were up for the role of 007 at the same time as Sean Connery? So, that could have been you, giving her a Judo throw into some hay?

MC: I never actually auditioned for James Bond but I was told that Rank, the UK film organisation that I had a contract with at the time, were asked to loan me out. They suggested a ridiculously exorbitant price, which they used to do in order to make my yearly wage back quicker! So, the producers couldn’t afford me. Of course, the money was crap anyway. My agents had said to not even think about it – the production company’s no good, the money’s no good, the film will be no good. Agents, eh? Ha. I think Sean did the first one for peanuts. Back then, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were very much B-Movie producers, so they didn’t have a good reputation. I’d never have been the 007 that Sean was and maybe there wouldn’t have been more than that first one!!

BEJ: As a writer yourself, do you ever get the urge to change lines that are written for you?

MC: I’m afraid I do change lines, yes. But, always with the Director’s okay.

BEJ: If you'd ever been offered the role of Doctor Who, do you think it's one you would have considered? If so, what would your interpretation have been?!

MC: I don’t think I would have accepted the role. Mainly because I don’t think I could have brought anything special to it. You need that bigger personality. I still think Tom Baker was the epitome.

BEJ: How uncomfortable were the Commodore's huge shoulder-pads in the costume?!

MC: Ha ha ha! The shoulder pads weren’t a problem. I actually thought they looked rather cool.

BEJ: Michael Craig, thank you very much for your time.

Images - TARDIS Wikia

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