Doctors at the double allow Nicholas to be a busy baddy as voice of the Daleks brings classic tale to Stevenage stage
- Credit: Archant
Nicholas Briggs may not be a household name, but his voice was the stuff of nightmares for many a nervous young Doctor Who fan.
Nicholas is known by fans of the long-running science-fiction series as the voice of the Daleks – but his career in the theatre has gone through as many incarnations as the famous Time Lord.
In his latest venture, he has adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for the stage, and the touring production arrives in Stevenage next week.
He says the show, which will be staged at the Lytton Way venue from Tuesday to Friday, is much deeper than the hackneyed picture of a man turning into a monster as he unleashes his dark side.
He said: “It isn’t the story we think we all know.
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“What the bulk of the plot is really about is a lawyer called Gabriel Utterson trying to work out what the hell is going on with his old friend Henry Jekyll.
“To me, he’s the key to the story, because it’s Gabriel’s struggle to understand and piece together the appalling, inconceivable evidence of what Jekyll has done that gives the story an emotional centre.
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“It’s designed to be rip-roaring, gripping entertainment with thrills and chills along the way.
“The pace is fast and furious with fluid scene changes crashing one location into another as we follow Utterson on his journey of disturbing discovery as he unpicks the horrifying truth of Dr Jekyll’s tragedy.”
Nicholas has also adapted other familiar horror stories for the stage, including Frankenstein and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
But he says: “Doctor Who was my entry point into the fantastical and disturbing. That led to my being interested in Sherlock Holmes – there are so many similarities between the two – and monsters, creatures, aliens and anything that causes the hairs on the back of your neck to rise.”
As well as providing the instantly-recognisable voice of the Daleks, Nicholas has co-written The Dalek Survival Guide and authored The Dalek Generation.
He admits: “Doctor Who is my favourite thing in the world. My life is entirely caught up in it.
“I’ve been there since 1999, it’s in my blood. I hope I never stop working on Doctor Who in some form or other.
“And doing the voice of the Daleks is such fun.
“That ghastly, mad, screeching voice is something that echoes down from almost everyone’s childhood. It’s a culturally iconic noise, for which I’m very proud to carry the torch.”
But he’s no one-trick pony as far as the show is concerned – he also provides the voices for the Cybermen, the Ice Warriors and other Doctor Who monsters.
He said: “The Daleks are great because they are so crazy and angry. They actually have a huge range within their stunted, evil minds.
“The Cybermen are a challenge because they are meant to have no emotion, so the difficulty is to make them interesting to listen to while still being sort of ‘blank’.
“The exciting thing with voices like the Ice Warriors and Zygons is that I’m synching my voice to the lip movements of the physical performer on screen.
“They get guys who are physically right for the part but who are not necessarily great with their voices, and that’s where I come in.
“Frankly, I’d rather not be buried in latex and foam rubber myself, just as I’m very pleased I’m not cramped inside a Dalek...”
To book tickets for next week’s show, call the theatre box office on 01438 363200 or visit www.gordon-craig.co.uk.