Sunderland University Lecturer reflects on Doctor Who acting experience

Written by on 7th December 2023

Sunderland University staff member, John Paul Green, has opened up about his experience starring in the iconic show, Doctor Who, after celebrating its 60th birthday on November 25, 2023.

John Paul Green starring as an extra in DoctorWho episode ‘Rise of the Cybermen’ alongside David Tennant. Credit: BBC

John Paul is a Senior Lecturer and Faculty Academic Support Lead at the University of Sunderland. He acted as an extra on three Doctor Who episodes: ‘Rise of the Cybermen’, ‘Age of Steel’ and ‘Doomsday’.

During filming, John Paul worked with world-famous actors such as David Tennant (The Doctor) and Billie Piper (Companion, Rose).

He has now given insight into their off-camera personalities, he said: “He was fluffing whilst she was not. But he was very focused.

“He was friendly but she was also very friendly, she was really nice.”

Each of these episodes were filmed in Cardiff in January 2005. John Paul said: “It was really cold and it was really boring filming crowd scenes.”

That however, did not stop him from feeling “the biggest high ever” as a Doctor Who fan. You can see John Paul acting as an extra in the clip below. 


John Paul added that he was “nerding it out“ as he got to meet Directors Graham Harper and Russell T. Davies, the two lead writers for the show.

Receiving the opportunity through a friend, John Paul was thrilled to have a close-up, with his full face on screen, in a childhood favourite that then built his career.

John Paul said: “‘The Unfolding Text’ which was the first academic book written on Doctor Who… got me interested in media studies and cultural studies.

“I realised I was turning these passions into academic writing and research.”

The Newest of NewWho…

The first two anniversary specials are currently available on BBC IPlayer or on DisneyPlus, for those outside of the UK.


Fans gave majoritively positive reviews of the first anniversary special, ‘The Star Beast’. The episode gave a strong sense of nostalgia and created excitement for the future of the show…

John Paul Green suggested: “It was fantastic. It felt as if they hadn’t been away.

“To me, it’s returned my experience of the show back to when it was really exciting,

“I think it’s gonna go from strength to strength.”

John Paul added: “ I think we’re in safe hands with Russel T Davies… I’ve had that buzz.”

The third anniversary special, ‘The Giggle’ is set to release this Saturday, December 09, at 6.30 pm.

Doctor Who’s Christmas special will return this year. Airing on December 25 at 5.55 pm. The episode named ‘The Church on Ruby Road’ will show Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson portraying the companion.

More information about the DoctorWho anniversary, can be found here @Tardis_Central – Twitter/X 

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