Doctor Who guest star Jonathan Groff talks "big challenge" to fit show's tone

jonathan groff, doctor who season 1 rogue
Doctor Who's Jonathan Groff talks "big challenge"BBC

Doctor Who guest star Jonathan Groff has shared that he found it a "big challenge" to fit in with the show's tone.

The Glee, Mindhunter and Frozen star will make his debut on the BBC show this weekend (June 8) in 'Rogue', which sees the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) transported to Regency-era Bath in 1813.

Plot details have largely remained under wraps despite numerous teasers about the Bridgerton-styled episode, and now Groff has revealed in a Q&A alongside co-star Indira Varma that he initially struggled to get a reading on the episode's tone.

jonathan groff, doctor who season 1 rogue

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"I would say the biggest challenge would be trying to understand and fit into the tone of the show," Groff said. "When you're coming in as a guest star, jumping into a world, and Doctor Who is such a specific thing!"

"In the episodes that [showrunner Russell T Davies] showed me, and in the experience of playing a role in it, Doctor Who has such a fascinating tone. It's big, and it's larger than life, but it's also quite real," he continued.

"Even though it's fantasy, there is depth to the storytelling and to the relationships. I'd say the biggest challenge was coming in and trying to digest the tone as fast as possible, and to really articulate the character in the proper way in the world of the show."

jonathan groff, ruby sunday, the doctor in doctor who
James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios - BBC

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Whilst Groff is new to the franchise, Varma has experience with the sci-fi universe following her role as Suzie Costello in spin-off series Torchwood. However, the star revealed that her part as The Duchess of Pemberton will be vastly different to her prior role.

"She's a woman of society and is throwing an enormous party," she teased. "It's all very fabulous and fashionable – her costume is amazing. We find her at the centre of it all. She's the polar opposite to Suzie. The Duchess has her own agenda but she's whimsical, greedy and playful."

Doctor Who debuts new episodes at midnight on Saturday, airing on BBC One in the UK and Disney+ elsewhere. Classic episodes of Doctor Who are available on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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