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The Fox in the Box: Thoughts on Foxes’ Casting

Guest contributor Luke Gwalchmai offers some thoughts and speculation on the recent casting.

foxes-kylie-jenkins

So, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, it was recently announced that English singer-songwriter Foxes will be appearing in an episode during Series 8 of Doctor Who. This article will look at previous appearances made by singers and also offer up some thoughts and speculation on just what Foxes will be doing in the show.

Note: this article won’t discuss Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler or John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, only singers who have made a one-off guest appearance, similar to what Foxes will be doing.

Kylie Minogue: Astrid Peth

tennant-doctor-kylie-voyageBack in 2007, Kylie Minogue appeared in the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned. She played a character called Astrid Peth, who was a waitress aboard the Titanic spaceship. She joined the crew on the Titanic because she dreamed about seeing other planets. She encountered the Tenth Doctor when he helped her clean up a broken glass, and in return for not outing him as a stowaway, he took her on a teleport trip down to the Earth. Over the course of the special, Astrid proved herself to be a determined, brave character that was able to stand up in the face of danger and put her fears aside to try to save herself and the other passengers on the Titanic.

Astrid was on course to become the 10th Doctor’s next companion; assuming they both survived. This would turn out to be a partnership that never made it off the Titanic, as Astrid met her fate saving the lives of the Doctor and the remaining passengers on the Titanic as well as those on the Earth below by using a forklift to lift Max Capricorn and throw him into the burning engines. Unfortunately, she was unable to save herself as the brakes were cut by the Heavenly Hosts and she started to plunge to her death along with Capricorn. Before she met her grisly fate, however, she was dematerialised by her teleport bracelet, and while the Doctor attempted to save her using the transmit system, he could not fully restore her. So, after sharing one final kiss, he allowed her atoms to scatter into space, thus fulfilling her dream to explore the universe.

Astrid was a very strong yet vulnerable character, who was portrayed brilliantly by Kylie Minogue. She attracted a high number of viewers to this Christmas special with a record high 13.31 million viewers for the revival series. Kylie didn’t sing in this episode, so she is an example of how singers can work in the show without having to come on and do their day job. But that is what Foxes will be doing, so her appearance will be different to that of Minogue’s.

Katherine Jenkins: Abigail Pettigrew

Doctor-Who-A-Christmas-Carol-Promo-pics-(4)Katherine Jenkins portrayed Abigail Pettigrew in the 2010 Christmas special, A Christmas Carol. Her character was cryogenically frozen by Kazran’s father against a big loan that her family owed him. Sadly, Abigail suffered from a fatal disease; the freezing prevented her death but whenever she was awoken her condition would deteriorate. There was a counter placed on the outside of her freezing chamber, this kept count of the time she had left to live if she was unfrozen.

Abigail was awoken by Kazran and the Doctor, after the Doctor started messing with Kazran’s past in an attempt to get him to save Amy, Rory and the people on their ship. She was able to calm a sky shark which was hunting them by singing to it. She went with them aboard the TARDIS to return the shark to the cloud bank, after which, she returned to her chamber. Kazran and the Doctor subsequently woke her every Christmas Eve and the Doctor took them to numerous places. She only informed Kazran of her inevitable fate when she realised that she only had one day left to live. When she returned to her chamber, a heartbroken Kazran told the Doctor not to return next year.

Many years later Abigail was eventually unfrozen. This was when the Doctor convinced a Kazran to unfreeze her for one final time, as he needed her to sing. This was because her voice would break up the cloud and allow the ship to land safely. She sang into the sonic and the cloud opened and Amy, Rory and the others survived. Abigail spent the remaining hours of her last day with Kazran, and they flew across the sky using the shark for one last time.

It is a rather tragic story, as it must have been very difficult for her to cope with the fact that every time she is unfrozen, she is one step closer to death. But not only did she remain brave for herself, she was also a strong figure and really helped Kazran to let her go. She was a sweet, kind-hearted person who was determined to enjoy the time she had left. She was played brilliantly by Katherine Jenkins, who really shows us that she can act, as well as having a stunning singing voice! I personally prefer Katherine Jenkins’ performance to that of Kylie Minogue, as I feel her acting was more on song, and it helps that I prefer A Christmas Carol to Voyage of the Damned. Not taking anything away from Kylie Minogue though, I still think she did a brilliant job. Unlike Kylie Minogue, Katherine Jenkins sang in her episode, so Foxes appearance may be in a similar vein to Katherine’s, depending on whether or not she plays a key character in the episode, or is just singing in the background for a few minutes!

So, Who Will the Fox Play?

Foxes-Doctor-WhoI have seen a few good guesses and theories as to what sort of character that she may be playing on this particular site, but I won’t steal them for myself, that’s not my style. There is, of course, every possibility that Foxes will simply be shown singing in the background of a scene, as the entertainment on a spaceship. But I also think that there is a chance that she could be playing a character akin to Winston Churchill in Victory of the Daleks, in that she will have phoned the Doctor at some point in his past, and will alert him to a danger in her time period. Victory of the Daleks may not be a widely acclaimed episode (although I personally love it), but the character of Winston Churchill is a very popular one with the show’s fans, so I think it would be a good idea to have Foxes play a character in that kind of mould; a popular historic figure who the audience can really get behind. There is also every chance that she is playing a villain, this would be an interesting idea, as female villains on Doctor Who in recent years have proved to be a popular idea, examples include Madame Kovarian, Miss Kizlet and Mrs Gillyflower. These are just a few humble ideas as to what kind of character Foxes could be playing.

What’s my opinion?

I personally feel that Foxes’ guest appearance on Doctor Who won’t be as big a role as the ones that Katherine Jenkins and Kylie Minogue landed. But I do feel that she will have more to do that just be shown singing on screen and then be in the background of the scene, if this is all her appearance is, then to me it doesn’t really seem like something they would go to the trouble of advertising. I think that she will play a supporting role in the episode, as something like an employee of a company or corporation who finds herself caught up in the trouble that the Doctor is coming to stop, kind of like Astrid, but just not as key a character.

Given that this is her acting debut, to me it seems like it would be too much of a risk to give her such a main role in an episode. Although, she could turn out to be a fantastic actress and Doctor Who will have unearthed a real gem, so I could very well be proved wrong. Billie Piper didn’t have much acting experience before landing the role of the companion, so who really knows? We all know Moffat likes a bit of a gamble, so maybe he is going to throw Foxes in at the deep end. So to sum up, I don’t really know! I keep tossing and turning between the ideas that she will either play a supporting, more background role in the episode, or whether she’ll turn out to play a more pivotal role. It appears to me that it’s going to be one or the other, because even though she’s singing in the episode, it could prove to be a key point of the episode, like in A Christmas Carol. I do hope that she gets a fair amount to do though, given that it’s her acting debut, it would be nice to give her a real shot to show us all what she can do.

I’m very happy with the casting of Foxes, it is a risk because it will be her acting debut, but it’s nice to see the show giving someone their acting break. Plus, she’s one hell of a singer! I also think it’s quite pleasant to see that Doctor Who is casting fans of the show for Series 8, such as Foxes herself, Frank Skinner and of course, Peter Capaldi! It doesn’t necessarily matter, and isn’t crucial to the quality of the show, but I do think that’s it’s nice to see people on the show who are fans of the show. Thank you for reading and please feel free to let me know your thoughts on what kind of character you think Foxes will be playing. How do you think that she and her music will be incorporated into the episode?

Step back in time...

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67 comments
needcomicmoney
needcomicmoney

Never heard of her and don't know her music so I will probably miss the significance when she does appear in her episode. I'm gathering that this is some kind of attempt to draw a certain demographic to the show. P.S. Katherine Jenkins is a goddess.

gavinbarsby
gavinbarsby

I've got a feeling she will be busking and gets intrigued when the Doctor and Clara (and whoever else) runs past and she follows and gets involved in the shenanigans.

camelot55555
camelot55555

She could be in the christmas special because Rachel Talalay said the 13th episode will be the christmas special, so technically it is in the series, so Foxes could be in that. Though they might  want to change the format of the usual. I think they should have her write a song specially for Doctor Who, like Ed Sheeran did for The Desolation of Smaug with "I See Fire". And she could have an orchestra in the backgroung with the brilliant Murray Gold so they could definetly work together


Oodkind IS MISSY!!!!!
Oodkind IS MISSY!!!!!

She seems nice. I hope she does well. I'm not too confident that she will be a good actor, since this is her debut, so I'm guessing she won't have much of a role. She said the DW crew approached her after a concert and asked her to be in an episode, so it sounds to me like she will literally just be there. I'm guessing it will basically be sing a song and talk a bit. Maybe as much of a role as forest girl in A Good Man Goes to War, though that would be tops. I wish her good luck.


Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

I'm not her appearance will be particularly comparable, as both Kylie and Catherine were major guest stars for Christmas, and both were effectively the female leads for their episodes, as Catherine Tate was in her Christmas episode.


Foxes will no doubt be singing a song for an on screen audience, and will probably exchange a brief word with someone in the audience or with The Doctor. Indeed I doubt we'll hear the whole song in the episode, as it doesn't sound like the song will be relevant to the plot (unlike say The Long Song), seeing that it's one of hers and not a Murray Gold number. I presume the episode needed a singer of some sort to create the right atmosphere.




MrRazza is wittily changing his name for each week
MrRazza is wittily changing his name for each week

I'm not too bothered by what role she plays, so long as if she does sing it fits in well. Few things churn my stomach like the spontaneous bursting into song even in a musical, let alone in Doctor Who. To be honest, while I appreciate it's an unpopular opinion, I'm not much of a fan of A Christmas Carol even though the singing is handled very well there.


ZocaloUK
ZocaloUK

Stunt casting... nothing more. Disappointing development but necessary in this "Celebrity" obsessed world... ditto Frank Skinner...

Edoe
Edoe






Regarding this 'Foxes' girl, I'm going to wait till I see her in the show before I comment on her acting ability. Because she's a singer with absolutely no experience whatsoever, we can't really judge what's she's gonna be like as an actress, she could be amazing, terrible or just pretty average. Time will tell! Regarding who she'll play... hopefully not just a singer in the background. I'd like to see enough of her to be able to judge her ability in the world'o'acting. A villain would be interesting. I wonder if she'll be singing in the episode. If she is, maybe not a singing villain (that could make the episode slightly like a musical).  



CaitlinAshford
CaitlinAshford

If it was in context then it would be ok ...I suppose, but the key words of this casting are 'Production team went to concert and decided to give her a role' and 'will be performing a track' are the bits that scare me the most.
If theres some reason for them to be running though a concert venue while shes on stage is the only acceptable way i can see it working.

minifigureman11
minifigureman11

I think she might possibly be the woman in the shop!

The Finn
The Finn

I don't think she'll be in the story to the extent of, say, Kylie M., but she also won't be only in the background. She did her scenes in one day, IIRC, but she also was felt to be of significance enough to  have her appearance announced.

Richy Woo
Richy Woo

I think Foxes will probably play a singer, playing some music.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

I had never heard of Foxes before the announcement, so I had to youtube some of her songs to get an idea of what to expect. Her stuff is more artsy and interesting than generic Brit-pop, which is a good thing because I sincerely hope that the current generation of mainstream pop artists is kept at bay from Doctor Who. But to be honest, I'm not really sure what to think of Foxes' music. It's a bit strange and belongs to the same mold as Lady Gaga and Björk, in that all of these artists are at times dangerously close to being just weird for the sake of being weird, which I find to be detrimental to their genuine talent as singers. But judging by the musical style and persona of Foxes, I'd guess that she could be featured as a singer from the future or some alien civilization.

The_Eternal_Dalek
The_Eternal_Dalek

Just had a quick look through the article and the comments.


I always find it brilliant whenever this sort of debate comes up everyone conveniently forgets (or simply doesn't know) that Kylie Minogue is an actress as well as a singer, indeed that's how she became famous, because she was in Neighbours at the height of its popularity so when she moved into singing as the article puts it as her "day job" already a huge hit. But, she had the experience, whereas Katherine Jenkins and Foxes do not so can we really compare her to this situation?

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

Oh, I do know who she is actually. She's that chick from 'Clarity' (I think that's what it's called) by Zedd (I think that's what they're/he's called). I know very little about modern bandy stuff, even less so about British bandy stuff, but I do like that song. Am I right in thinking that's her?

Adric the Genius
Adric the Genius

If Moffat is handing out roles to celebrity fans, imagine if David Cameron was a huge fan of the show.  I personally would enjoy an episode starring the current Prime Minister.

Rorschach's_Journal_of_Impossible_Things
Rorschach's_Journal_of_Impossible_Things

I like songs incorporated into Doctor Who, which is why I love A Christmas Carol and the Rings of Akhaten. I don't want a musical episode though, just imagine if the Daleks broke into a tune..................


supermoff is now supermissy.
supermoff is now supermissy.

She's an extraordinarily talented singer, so her musical contribution to the show will be spectacular I'm sure. I love a good old song in Doctor Who, whether it be "The Long Song", "Abigail's Song" or even that up-beat "Song for Ten" or whatever it was called in "The Christmas Invasion". They always add a lot of fun to the episode, and I can happily listen to them on their own outside the epiode. I just hope that she can equally contribute in the acting department, especially if she features prominently in the episode, although I think she'll only make a small cameo. 

sontaran17
sontaran17

Judging by the success of past Musical numbers in Doctor Who (E.g. “Love Don’t Roam”, “The Angel Put the Devil in me”, “Abagail’s Song” and “The Long Song”) , I can only welcome Foxes involvement with open arms – and pray to Lord Moff God of Trolls that her acting parallels the level of excellence that is her hauntingly beautiful vocal ability. If you are yet to research Foxes music please do- its sensational! I recommend the acoustic version of "Clarity" . Brilliant Article premise and as equally classy in execution LG. A very entertaining read!




MarkThomasLangdon
MarkThomasLangdon

Her role was filmed in a day. I'd be really surprised if it amounted to anything more than her singing a song and getting one or two lines of dialogue.

SteveWillis
SteveWillis

I'm oblivious to Foxes and I want to keep it that way until the episode airs. I don't want my expectation of the episode to be affect by any prejudgement. Adding any more would contradict what I've just said about no preshow judgement :>

Scootersfood, Secret Agent of C.L.A.R.A.
Scootersfood, Secret Agent of C.L.A.R.A.

@ZocaloUK I've NEVER heard of her before Doctor Who, nor her music (which I am now actually a fan of). It could be because i'm American, but she surely doesn't seem like some huge British celebrity.

DaireConstantineOReilly
DaireConstantineOReilly

I don't even know who she is. Kuleie minougue was the best ever celebrity appearance, I don't know how they convinced a multimillion dollar singer to do a TV Show.

DoctorWhoFan821
DoctorWhoFan821

@ZocaloUK Even as a major fan of hers I can say she is in no way popular or well known enough to be a stunt casting

DoctorWhoFan821
DoctorWhoFan821

@CaitlinAshford according to various rumours this episode will be set on the orient express so I imagine she'll be a singer from the 1920's on the train. She had to hide her dyed hair under a wig so I feel this may be likely. :)

LGwalchmai95
LGwalchmai95

@The_Eternal_Dalek I apologise, I'd completely forgotten about Kylie being in Neighbours. I've grown up with her always being a singer and more of an occasional actress. So that's why I referred to singing as her day job, because I've always thought she was more a full time singer than actress nowadays. 

DaireConstantineOReilly
DaireConstantineOReilly

They should have a scene were a Borris Johnson thanks the doctor for saving London .

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

Al the songs are great I love Song for Ten, Stowaway, Abigail's Song and The Long Song

Gustaff
Gustaff

@sontaran17 I FREAKING love Love Don't Roam. It's arguably the best of the lot.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

I was under the impression that the 50th after party was ruined almost immediately by the hosts getting drunk. But to be quite honest, the boys from One Direction are harmless compared to the much worse stuff that can be heard on mainstream radio these days. To my understanding they are also rather affable, especially when compared with some of their same-age colleagues in the music industry, such as the insufferable Mr Bieber.

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

No, that guy presenter treated all the companions really bad. Matt tried to help Zoe Ball with the 1D disaster. He didn't seem drunk to me.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@Notsosmartguy the Superior Venom @MaraBackman I mostly listen to music that is at least a few years old, often decades, because it's much easier to find the songs that have filtered through the huge blob of same-y stuff. There is always great music hidden amongst the generic mass-produced stuff of any given year, but you have to search for it.