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Who is Rogue? Meet Jonathan Groff's character in Doctor Who

The latest addition to the Whoniverse talks about his Doctor Who homework and seeing Beyoncé with Ncuti Gatwa...

Doctor Who is preparing for the event of the season, as the Doctor and Ruby head for Regency era England in upcoming episode Rogue. Fans can expect a ballroom full of Bridgerton references, exciting and terrifying new villains - and a curious new face in the Whoniverse, played by star of stage and screen, Jonathan Groff.

We spoke to Jonathan Groff, playing the eponymous Rogue, about joining the Whoniverse and what else he got up to while filming in Cardiff...

Watch ROGUE on BBC iPlayer from Saturday 8th June and on Disney+ from Friday 7th June where available.

Jonathan Groff Q&A

How did the role come about?

Oh my god! I got a very exciting text message from Russell T Davies, and I'm a huge fan of his work, especially 'It's a Sin' - I still haven't recovered from it! So I was very excited to hear from him. He just wrote to me and told me that there was this role that was available on the show and asked me to play it.

Can you describe your character Rogue?

Rogue is an alien bounty hunter and a man of mystery. When we meet Rogue, and he first meets the Doctor, we're in a Regency Era. Rogue is not necessarily who he appears to be when you meet him.

Have you always known of Doctor Who or been a fan of it? Or was this your first experience with the show?

I had known of Doctor Who and how much of a big deal it was in the UK, but I had never seen an episode of it. But Russell sent me about five episodes of Doctor Who from throughout the years, including the first episode that ever aired in black and white. So, I had a very quick crash course before I started.

What was the most challenging or unexpected thing about playing Rogue and stepping into the Whoniverse? 

I would say the biggest challenge would be trying to understand and fit into the tone of the show - when you're coming in as a guest star, jumping into a world, and Doctor Who is such a specific thing! In the episodes that Russell showed me, and in the experience of playing a role in it, Doctor Who has such a fascinating tone. It's big, and it's larger than life, but it's also quite real and even though it's fantasy, there is depth to the storytelling and to the relationships. I'd say the biggest challenge was coming in and trying to digest the tone as fast as possible, and to really articulate the character in the proper way in the world of the show.

Jonathan Groff Q&A

What was it like acting alongside Ncuti and Millie?

Ncuti and Millie were both so warm and welcoming! Big smiles and full of laughs and embraces, they could not have been more warm. As an outsider, coming into the Whoniverse for the first time, they were the greatest hosts! They took such good care of me and everybody, truly everybody on the set, the crew, everyone! I spent most of my time with Ncuti and I am obsessed with him. I think he is such a star. He's so unpredictable and thrilling to act with because you never see the same thing twice. He's so spontaneous, and yet so deeply connected to what he's doing. He really cares. He's really in it fully, and he's got this force and positivity that is completely unique to him. It's just phenomenal. I just adore him. I think he is one of the most exciting actors working today. 

Did you have any unique experiences or memories from filming? 

Well, one happened off set, it actually happened to be when Beyoncé was on her Renaissance Tour. I looked up her tour dates because I'm an obsessive Beyoncé fan. And I found that she was playing Cardiff. I asked that I was off by 4pm so I could make it to the stadium. And I brought Ncuti with me. So we got to see the Renaissance Tour together and it was so much fun. Amazing.

If you could travel anywhere in time and space, where would you? 

This is less of a fantasy one. But my grandfather died on my 10th birthday. March 26, 1995.  And I was really into 'I Love Lucy' at the time. And one of my gifts for my birthday was this VHS with an episode of 'I Love Lucy'. I went into the living room and I watched my VHS instead of hanging out with my family in the kitchen where my grandfather was. So if I had to go back in time, I would go back in time and I would hang out with him so I could ask him questions before he died.

Watch ROGUE on BBC iPlayer from Saturday 8th June and on Disney+ from Friday 7th June where available.

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