‘I have Doctor Who to thank for what I do now’

Norwich Theatre Royal pantomine assistant stage manager Karen Davies, who is a big Doctor Who fan

Norwich Theatre Royal pantomine assistant stage manager Karen Davies, who is a big Doctor Who fan - Credit: Archant

When ardent Doctor Who fan Karen Davies was fed up with her job at Norwich's old Posthouse hotel, a suggestion for a completely new career came from one of her idols - the sixth Doctor Colin Baker.

Baker was staying at the Ipswich Road hotel while appearing at the Norwich Theatre Royal and knew Karen from her Dr Who Appreciation Society role, which saw her organising events and interviewing Doctor Who guests at conventions.

'He'd seen me at conventions and said I should consider working in the theatre in stage management,' said the 48-year-old from Norwich.

Despite having no qualifications, except as a sports scientist, Miss Davies managed to get two weeks' work experience at the Theatre Royal thanks to a word from her time-travelling friend and a year later she threw in her job of 20 years and went into stage management full-time.

'I have Doctor Who to thank for what I do now,' says the assistant stage director for the pantomine at the Theatre Royal.

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Her love of the sci-fi series began as a young child, sitting on the knee of her great uncle Edgar Swain, who was the vicar at Intwood and also an avid Doctor Who fan.

But it was as an adult with money her pocket that she was able to really cement her fascination with the television show by travelling to conventions.

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Her impressive knowledge helped her to win the BBC Mastmind Doctor Who special which aired in 2005.

'Except for William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, I have met all the Doctors,' said Miss Davies.

'I think Doctor Who has lasted so long because there's no limits to it and the Doctor can go anywhere and do anything.

'One week he can be on earth in the middle ages and the next week in outer space against aliens. That's what has kept it fresh.

'I think the genius was also changing the lead Doctor, because every few years it gets a lease of new life.'

Miss Davies will be joined by two former Doctor Who actors in this year's Theatre Royal pantomine Cinderella.

Writer and director Richard Gauntlett, who will also be playing the part of Buttons, was Doctor Who baddie Urak when Sylvester McCoy starred, while Baron Hardup will be played by Christopher Ryan, who is one of the few actors who has featured in both the classic and revived series of Doctor Who, notably as General Staal in The Sontaran Stratagem.

'We try to get a bit of Doctor Who in every pantomine,' says Miss Davies.

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