Entertainment: ‘Started to panic!' Doctor Who star recalls terror as she struggled to breathe in costume

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Annette Badland has remembered becoming "panicked" when getting her costume fitted for Doctor Who left her "struggling to breath". The star, who played infamous Slitheen Margaret Blaine, recalled shooting the very first episode of the Doctor Who revival in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.

Annette, 71, has worked in some of the UK's biggest television shows over the years, including Doctor Who.

The Slitheen © BBC The Slitheen Asked what it was like to appear as the lead slitheen, she admitted: "I was never in the costume! I didn't have to wear it.

"I had to wear the arm when I tried to strangle Billie (Piper) and I was made to practise a lot because it was actually lots of 6 ft tall men. There was one girl.

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"They'd take the heads off and you'd just see some sweaty foreheads and a pair of desperate eyes and then they'd want some water or a cigarette and the head would go back on!" she chuckled.

Annette © BBC Annette

Annette then went on to describe how her head cast fitting had left her beginning to panic.

"They had a prosthetic zip on my forehead, but I also had to have a full head cast," she explained.

Annette © APPLE TV Annette "You have to have all these straws up your nose and things and they give you these hand signals in case you're panicking and you feel you can't breathe anymore.

"It takes about half an hour and about 20 mins in, I began to panic and say, 'Oh I can't do this, I can't breathe!'

Annette © GETTY Annette

"But then I'd have to talk to myself and go, 'No, you've been breathing now for 20 minutes, calm down, you can do this.'

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Annette then went on to give a hilarious account of when she came face to face with her own head.

"It was extraordinary when they... I was filming when the head arrived," Anette recalled.

"And Phil Colinson the producer and Russell T. Davies were around and they said, 'Your head's arrived! Come and see your head!'

"And because it's made with plaster of paris, it sort of pulls everything down slightly.

"I was really stunned by the colour of it. I came and looked at my face, and they got the tiniest details, marks, just captured me - just extraordinary.

"But it looked like a death mask! They kind of ran me into this room all excited and I just went 'Oh...'" she confessed.

"I like to think it has its own little life now. This head of mine goes around England!"

Annette has played plenty of memorable characters on TV over the years, including fan favourite Fleur Perkins in Midsomer Murders since 2019.

She also played Babe Smith in EastEnders up until 2017, when her character put a curse on her family after they threw her out of The Queen Vic.

She has also been busy behind the bar as no-nonsense landlady Mae at the local pub of Richmond Football Club in Apple TV's award-winning show Ted Lasso.

Her other roles include Mrs. Glenna Fitzgibbons in the first season of Outlander, and Nanny Bingo in the BBC's hit show Big Boys.

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