Michael Sheen is best known for his live-action work — from Frost/Nixon and The Queen to Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (in theaters starting next Friday) and this summer’s drama Beautiful Boy — but he offered up his voice talents for this Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, airing on BBC America at 9/8 p.m. CST. The Doctor (Matt Smith) travels to a junkyard planet and meets a woman and her oddball family in this episode written by sci-fi and comics legend Neil Gaiman. Sheen is a friend of Gaiman’s, and he voices a character in the episode, titled “The Doctor’s Wife” (check out a preview below). The online rumor mill seems to think he’ll be one of the tentacle-y alien Ood, but this is Doctor Who so who knows. (Pun intended.)
Sheen has been a big fan of Doctor Who ever since watching the British series during his formative years growing up in Wales. “Jon Pertwee was my first Doctor, and then Tom Baker,” Sheen recalls. “Doctor Who was a fixture in a lot of people’s lives as they were growing up in the ’70s. It was a very sad sight to see Doctor Who declining, and then eventually being cancelled, so it was wonderful to see it coming back in a new and reinvigorated way. It’s been one of the great cultural phenomena of the last few years here in Britain.” And America, too, as the show and character are more popular than ever before on this side of the pond.
Doctor Who has also been a source of excitement for the people of Wales, since Cardiff has become a home base of sorts for the show. The mastermind behind the Doctor Who resurgence, writer-producer Russell T Davies, hails from the same area in Wales as Sheen, a native of Port Talbot. “I’ve known him since I was about 14, and we were in the same youth theater together,” Sheen says of Davies. “It’s wonderful to see so much Welsh talent behind it, and it’s really had a huge impact on the local economy and local self-esteem. There’s now a real infrastructure in the area that is developed for Doctor Who but is now able to support other productions as well, so it’s made a big difference.”