Katy Manning is mad, she must be, she finds beauty in plastic bags on roads and actually rates the London Underground. Doctor Who days are so far behind her, we hardly discussed her time on the show, but that could be because she was busy going off on tangents talking about everything else.
George: How have you been handling the convention?
I've constantly been getting people coming up and saying, "We know so much about the other people who are in it, but we don't know that much about you." There's something like nine unofficial websites about me and most of the information is actually wrong - even my birthdate and the spelling of my name. Some people in America even sent out private detectives to try and locate me once.
George: Last time we spoke was in Sydney, we were doing a convention together, you for years in Doctor Who and me for two lines!
(This two lines thing sets Katy now goes into a spiel of lines from Galaxy Quest.)
That should be required viewing. Trust me - it should be. I was in the middle of doing this play and someone made sure I got myself along to it, knowing that this was coming up. And they got it so right about walking out into a room of fans, except I wouldn't even be able to remember what bloody episode they're talking about at all.
George: What happened to Not A Well Woman?
Not A Well Woman - well, I dropped that in a minute and I'll tell you why - it was because I did three plays back to back as well as a TV cartoon series where I play 10 year old, Gloria. I was offered this extraordinary play where I was playing Bette Davis called, Me And Jessica. I did it in Sydney and the American producers came over and asked me to do it in Broadway for next year. So I suddenly went, Not A Well Woman - you're out. I wrote it, I hate it. I hate it and I can break it - like that. (Massive laughter).In that play I played five characters, a five year old child, an evangelistand Bette Davis before and after the stroke, another woman and her husband.I've just done another play where I play the bitch from hell - it's calledLater Than Spring. That did so well, that they're looking at doing that next year as well. So next year is looming up in big style. I'd written my playon a bed in LA somewhere.
George: Oh was that where it was? I thought it was in a wardrobe.
Yes, basically - between massive Hollywood parties, you'd find me scribbling away, people coming in and opening the doors and me gnattering, "Go away."That's the great thing about getting up in the mornings. I get up and gohalfway across the room and my whole life has changed.
Gareth: Where are you based now?
I'm back in Sydney now, but then I'll be in New York next year. I hate LA - it sucks. If I go to LA I'm going to have to take Prozac to survive. I loveNew York, it has theatre...
George: You see I love LA but I'm not a huge fan of New York. It can seem cold, unless you know it. It's not exactly welcoming to tourists.
I guess it is. It's probably true, but maybe I don't notice it. Maybe, I'm really a bit nuts or something, but I don't notice that people are beingnasty. I think being really stupid is the word we're looking for here.
George: You're not heading on into bars where you don't know anyone, though.
Yeah, I do. I'm always out and let's not forget I don't drive. I spend all my time on public transport, over here, in the States and in Australia. Ipride myself on my knowledge of public transport across the world.
Gareth: So who has the best system?
London Underground. It's brilliant. The Metro's good, but I do find the London Underground the best. There's something a bit snappy about the Metroand it echoes a lot more.
George: When I was a kid there were these pictures they use on there which scared the life out of me of a rabbit getting decapitated by the doors.
They still have them.
George: Have they really?
I've actually had my umbrella caught - that ridiculous cliché and you feel such a fool and you just think, Bugger the umbrella. Thebest thing to do is pretend it's got nothing to do with you, "Oh somebody'sgot their umbrella stuck in the door."
George: Talking about getting stuck, tell the readers about you getting a limo stuck at McDonalds.
It's really very stupid, but when you find yourself in a Drivethru McDonalds and the car gets stuck, so you've got this entire line sticking out ofMcDonalds Drivethru and around the block - all hooting. So Liza (yes,Minnelli, Katy's best bud) figures that the best thing to do in this situation is to keep ordering. This car was piled high with McDonalds Frenchfries, hamburgers, milkshakes. I was telling her that we had to catch aplane and she's going, Well, we'll take them with us, then. Fortunately they don't let women drive, so my experience of going through drivethru's is minimal.
Gareth: I'd forgotten about your myopia.
Hence Jon Pertwee always hanging onto me, because I was renowned for flying over the edge of a cliff. The great thing is that when you can't see youdon't know how far there is to fall. So you have no fear of danger which isvery scary for people who can see, because they see the danger that you'reconstantly putting yourself into. We lived in one place in Australia and welived on the eighth or ninth floor and there was this tiny parapet that went all the way around, so I'd walk to the next door neighbours place in highheels and tight skirts and there's be people on the ground yelling up,"Don't do it."
Gareth: Can you not wear contacts?
I can now, but they can only make them half the strength I need. There's this guy in Brisbane who wants to give me the eye operation and he said he'ddo it free. But he sweetly said, "I just have to tell you that you've beenlike this all your life, so you should really think about this". You see, I've never seen anything ugly. Everything looks beautiful, there's no hard edges, just soft, lights go on forever and that's the way it should be, Ithink.Two years later, I'm driving along with a girlfriend and I see thisbeautiful bunch of white flowers alongside the road and I ask her to stop the car. And she's going what? I'm saying, "It's so beautiful" and she's like, "What? Plastic bags?" Whose eyes would you rather live through: Mineor hers? I saw flowers, she saw plastic bags.So I rang him and said, Thankyou very much, Archie, I'm over it, you can give me a facelift instead.
George: Not that you need it.
I'm having it.
Gareth: Ever had a bizarre fan experience?
I had a stalker called funnily enough, Gloria. Which is very odd, because when they offered me Gloria's House, I went, "Huh?" Gloria was in LA. I had a very solid flyscreen door, but I'm not very goodat locking and stuff, because I can never understand why anyone would wantto come to my house. I'm always putting my handbag down wondering why anyonewould want to take my handbag. My daughter's even worse. Suddenly there wassomeone at the door one day, so I went to it. Hello? "Hello, I'm Glor-i-a." So I immediately figured that she'd taken herself off her medication. I'm on the top of the hill - it looks like Fred McMurray's house in My ThreeSons and there's a creek running down at the bottom. So she's there saying,"Can I come in?" I thought, this must be a wind-up, someone's around thecorner. I went, "Darling, I can't let you in, sweetie. You wouldn't let meinto your house if you didn't know me." "You do know me. You're my friend. " "I don't know you and I'm sure you're a very nice person. Have you got lost, can I help you, are you off your medication? " Anyway, she went away andcame back and I rang people and eventually the police came and they searchedall around the house. The police came back later and said, "What do you do?""I'm an actress." "But really it's not a problem." "Ma'am, we think you needto take this more seriously. You don't really understand and by the way, you're not really safe in this place." Later I'm down the long driveway bythe creek and suddenly, "Can I come in now?" My whole body is trying to moveforward, that hand on my shoulder in the dark, I cannot tell you. So I run back up to the house, shut the door and ring the police. There's helicopters
flying overhead, all the lights have gone out in the house, the phones dead and I'm thinking that's it. Eventually they found her backpack down by thecreek and they had all these photographs of me, letters to me, diaries, theywouldn't let me see any of them either. That was truly scary, because no onecould have known. If it was Liza I could have understood it, but if Doctor
Who conventions couldn't find me, how could Gloria?
Katy Manning was interviewed by George Murphy & Gareth Gorman exclusively for CulTV
Interview Transcribed by Gareth Gorman
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