Frazer Hines interview

Occasionally we’ll post some extra goodies as well as the straight news here — here’s the first one!

Frazer Hines, who played second Doctor companion Jamie McCrimmon, was recently interviewed by Rob Lloyd on Melbourne’s Channel 31 program ‘Live On Bowen’.

Frazer spoke of his early experiences filming ‘King In New York’ — notable because it allowed him to work with leading man Charlie Chaplin. At only nine years old, Frazer remembers one of his suggestions to Chaplin. ‘It was lovely — I did a scene with him, and he seemed to like me, and the next day I said “Mr Chaplin, I’ve got an idea for a bit of comedy.” And instead of him being affronted by a nine-year-old’s impertinence, he said “What is it, Frazer?” I said, “You got this fur hat — if I put cream in it, and you [and here Frazer mimes putting the hat on], wouldn’t it be funny if it—” and then Chaplin interrupted to point out “No, because I’d have seen the cream. Whereas if I make it into a cake and I sit in it… and then we have comedy.”

Asked whether ‘Doctor Who’ filming more than 40 episodes a year was an incredibly hard workload, Frazer hastened to disagree. ‘To me, hard work is going down a mine, underground, chipping out lumps of coal, or drilling a thousand washers an hour, that’s hard work. We had a scene where Patrick kept forgetting his lines, you know, and Debbie and I were laughing at him, and he said “Oh, for goodness’ sake! You just stand there, and I’ve got all these lines.” And I said “Patrick, you’re paid a fortune to say the lines; and I’m paid to get the girls watching; and Debbie’s paid to get the dads out of the garden”.’

Frazer’s battle with bowel cancer some twelve years ago was also discussed. ‘[Of] course I couldn’t do television work because they wouldn’t let you… ooh, you might collapse. I did a lot of theatre. Because in theatre you have an understudy. So, if you break your leg, or you got flu, there’s someone else. So theatre was fine. So I did a lot of theatre. And then the bowel cancer people, you know, realised I’d had it, and would I go on and do this campaign for them? So I went on TV, and did radio interviews and newspaper and stuff… because it’s bowel cancer, people don’t talk about it… lung cancer, yeah, breast cancer, but bowel… urgh… bottoms, toilets.’

‘The number of people that’ve come up and said, “D’you know you made me feel so better now? I’m having chemotherapy next week and you made me realise that chemo’s not a killer. Chemo in the morning, matinee, evening show. Just your round. And I never told the cast, because I didn’t want them to go “you sit down Frazer, have a cup of… don’t do the busy bee stuff, don’t do the tap-dancing.” I just want to be treated as normal.’

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