For every accomplished star, there must be an overconfident star who joins Doctor Who simply to add to his or her acting credits. So seems to be the rule with regards to Who guest stars, and today we're looking at the other more negative end of the spectrum. Here, we've recapped some of the most infamous Hollywood and British actors to ever join the science-fiction drama in its fifty-year history.
A confession first, though- what with this article being written in 2013, where the concept of actors and actresses who are 'celebrity guest stars' is very different from what it was in 1963-1989, our focus is for the majority on actors and actresses who have participated in the show since its return in 2005. Without further ado, then, let's look at the names that Doctor Who should not be proud to have acquired...
5. CLAIRE SKINNER (2011)- There are plenty of elements in the whimsical and all-too-subtle Christmas Special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe (by Steven Moffat) which have been called into question by the show's fanbase. At the heart of this reviewer's criticism, however, was Outnumbered star Claire Skinner- mostly due to dubiously cheesy dialogue provided in the script, Skinner's Madge came off as a poor Great War rip-off of her Outnumbered persona, meaning that the actress boasted even less charisma than usual as a result. It's arguable that scripts define poor character portrayals, and in Claire's case this seems to ring sadly true.
4. RICHARD E GRANT (2012-2013)- The Great Intelligence is BACK! What could possibly go wrong? Such a thought would likely have crossed the minds of fans were they to know the plot of The Snowmen early (as many did due to leaked press teasers), and yet acclaimed Brit actor Richard E. Grant's portrayal of the classic series returning antagonist was far too reminiscent of a pantomime even in a Christmas setting. In fact, Richard's Doctor Simeon and Great Intelligence seemed to boast about as much depth as the wooden tree foes we met in Clare Skinner's Christmas Special, and the situation barely improved as we moved into the otherwise fantastic The Name of the Doctor this Spring. This one was a genuine shame, as it felt more as if Richard's portrayal of the foe held it back than Steven Moffat's well-handled dialogue.
3. SIMON PEGG (2005)- You have to admire beloved British comedian Simon Pegg for having the faith to join Doctor Who during the first season of its revived state. However, Russell T. Davies' The Long Game was laden with flaws, and the characterisation of Pegg's character the Editor was one such notable shortcoming. Gone was the subtle charm and wit of Pegg's personas in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the like, replaced by an apathetic, tonally inconsistent villain whose only true role was to introduce the supposedly 'mighty' Jagrafess. Most fans of Simon's work are undoubtedly looking forward to seeing his upcoming film The World's End next month, yet when they look back on the Brit actor's greatest successes, Doctor Who is pretty unlikely to be marked as one of them...
2. MARTIN CLUNES (1983)- Our solitary classic era choice on this list comes from a British celebrity who still remains something of a renowned presence today on iTV. Martin Clunes had a single role to play in Doctor Who during a 20th Anniversary story, Snakedance, yet this character was pitched as a horribly exaggerated conflicted anti-hero who didn't seem to know quite what he wanted out of the Time Lord. Martin did the best he could with the role of Lon in 1983, but it wasn't quite enough in all honesty!
1. PETER KAY (2006)- But as if it weren't obvious enough, at the top of the list could only really end up one 'shining' member of the Doctor Who cast list who stands out in infamy more than any of his predecessors or successors. The man in question? It's Peter Kay. Peter has rightly noted recently that many fans have called his episode Love & Monsters "the worst Doctor Who episode ever", and although I don't quite hold that negative an opinion of the episode, I still believe that such a perception has been contributed to in no small part by Kay's laughable 'antagonist' the Absorbaloff. Crafted by a kid for Blue Peter, this Shrek-esque monster has been the subject of considerable farce ever since the episode's broadcast, and neither Russell T Davies' somewhat atrocious script or indeed Kay's portrayal of the character helped the matter. Indeed, I shudder to think how portrayals could ever get much worse than this one, and to prove it, we've got an infamously memorable clip of Love And Monsters below!
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