English actor Sacha Dhawan has a few big titles under his belt including An Adventure in Space and Time and Alan Bennett’s multi award-winning play History Boys. The 31-year-old who has joined the popular ITV period drama Mr Selfridge as a regular, confesses to NUIT that he wasn’t a Doctor Who fan to start with.
You seem to gravitate towards projects that deal with the supernatural, are a you a Sci-Fi geek?
I love ALL genres, as well as sci-fi! Each genre brings with it a new challenge and that excites me. The more versatile you are, the less you’re pigeon-holed as doing just one type of genre. To go onto a project that flips your last project on its head – that’s the real attraction.
How much of a Doctor Who fan were you before shooting An Adventure in Space and Time?
I have to be honest and say I wasn’t a Doctor Who fan at all, so stepping into the world of ‘Who’ was quite daunting! Mark’s (Gatiss) script celebrated the origins of Doctor Who and more. That’s what drew me to the project; not only did the script have such heart, it honoured an important historical era with the birth of Doctor Who being the perfect vehicle to showcase it.
Which is your favorite Doctor Who episode?
William Hartnell’s first episode and his last.
What was it about Alan Bennett and his writing that fascinated you when you were young?
I studied Alan Bennett’s A Cream Cracker under the Settee for my GCSE English exam. Three years later I’m auditioning for him at the National Theatre, it was just surreal! I walked into the audition room as if I’d been swept up and spat out by a tornado (I hadn’t worked for a while). Alan totally put me at ease, as did Nick Hytner who was the director. Both have gone on to be not only mentors but the dearest of friends. Something I never would have predicted in a million years as I regurgitated utter b******t for my GCSE english exam.
Can you tell us about the poem you wrote about him?
It wasn’t really about Alan Bennett himself. You’re often asked during auditions what you think of the piece, and I find it difficult to articulate thoughts in one sentence. For The History Boys audition I decided to write a poem instead; so if they asked what my thoughts were on the play, I’d be prepared. A question I’m sure they regretted asking when I pulled out a screwed up piece of paper and began to read; hands shaking and my hair sticking up from the recent tornado. So, moving on swiftly…
What’s next for you?
I’ve got a new series coming out on Channel 4 later this year called Not Safe For Work. Its a pretty outrageous comedy drama following a disparate group of individuals who are forced to relocate from London to Northampton following government cuts. I play ‘Danny’ who is basically permanently wasted; coke, pills, ketamine, alcohol, you name it, he takes it. I’ve also done a bit on Paul Abbott’s new series No Offence, which also airs later this year. I also start shooting the new series of Mr Selfridge in a couple of weeks. I’ve been told not to reveal to much; but he’s an entrepreneur who’s built his success from nothing and hungry to prove his worth. A charming showman on the exterior with a dark past taunting him underneath.