Unintentionally, my parents brought me and my brother up completely gender-unspecific, part of a drama-less four in the village my family still live in: Skelmanthorpe in Huddersfield. We’d both do the same football and cricket training, and we’d take it in turns on the BMX, pegging it down the hill.
The only expectations at home were: work hard, try new stuff. We weren’t allowed to be blasé and we weren’t allowed to meander, but it certainly wasn’t that we had to be a doctor or a lawyer. My mum and dad’s big thing was developing social skills as well as academics. Playtime was as important as homework. As soon as homework was done, we were outside. We were encouraged to socialise, which was really good for me, because it now means I’m quite good in social groups.
I didn’t go to drama clubs. I just loved that sense of realism in the make believe. I’d recreate stuff all the time. Every doll and teddy had a voice and a backstory. I’d make daft films with my mates. We made a Blair Witch and a Titanic.
I’d love to have been in a band. I’ve always loved to get up and sing, but I wasn’t very jazz handsy. I can connect to things emotionally and I’ve got a voice that isn’t horrific, but I’m not sure I’ve got the lungs. I might do it later on in life.
I can walk down the road and no one looks twice at me. I’ve got zero presence in my real life. I can get on the bus and tube without anyone batting an eyelid. If you’ve got a hat and earphones and you stand like every other person on the tube, you just blend in.
My sport was squash. I was good, but wasn’t ever going to be the top. I’ve got a bit of an ego. What happens if you are average at school is that it becomes apparent quite quickly the subjects you’re good at. When I was good, my interest really peaked. My ego’s big enough to push myself.
There’s a lot to be said for a well-made kids’ film – we can learn a lot. I’d love to play a Calamity Jane, a cowgirl role, or do the voice in a cartoon, like Kung Fu Panda.
I’m really animated in my face. That’s something you learn when you see yourself on screen – you’re not this porcelain doll you thought you were.
I’m agnostic. I’m spiritual and believe in the energy of beings. And I believe in aliens, 100%. I mean, it can’t just be us. I don’t know if we’ve had contact, but we are aliens to someone. Beyond our linear time and history and galaxy, there has to be life in a way that maybe we can’t even pinpoint as life.
Doctor Who is on BBC One on Sundays
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