#TBT To 'Walking Dead' Governor David Morrissey Being a Good Guy on 'Doctor Who'
David Morrissey — best known to us Americans for his role as the complicated, but inevitably evil Governor on The Walking Dead — is a renowned British actor. And as it seems that there is some British actor rule where you must appear on Doctor Who at least once in your career, Morrissey was prominently featured in the Doctor Who Christmas special in 2008. The episode was entitled "The Next Doctor" and Morrissey played Jackson Lake — a man who believed he was actually the Doctor — alongside the real Doctor at the time, David Tennant.
The episode caused a lot of buzz when Morrissey (no, not that Morrissey) was named as a guest star and the title was first revealed. Tennant had already announced that he would be leaving the role of the tenth doctor, and with a title like "The Next Doctor" and an actor like Morrissey, it made sense that people thought that Morrissey would be the next Doctor. As it turned out, Matt Smith became the eleventh Doctor, so it was a red herring. And clearly, it all worked out since we got to see Morrissey be crazy on The Walking Dead — although, I guess it's not completely fair to say "it all worked out" for the Governor.
For people who know Morrissey only as the Governor, you have to check him out acting like the brilliant and silly Doctor:
Like other famous guest star Andrew Garfield, Morrissey helped the Doctor defeat one of his most infamous foes, but instead of the Daleks this time, it was the Cybermen. The Cybermen (robotic humanoids lacking emotion who want to "upgrade" humans into becoming Cybermen) had taken over London on Christmas Eve in 1851 with the help of a British woman — Miss Mercy Hartigan. The Doctor and the next "Doctor" soon discover that the Cybermen are responsible for murders and child abductions.
At first, the Doctor thinks that he has crossed his own timeline and that Morrissey is his future regenerated self. But Morrissey's "Doctor" has no recollection of ever being Tennant. In some of the most charming moments of the Christmas special, Morrissey has vague memories of being the Doctor and his own versions of the Doctor's most notable technology — a "sonic" screwdriver and a hot-air balloon TARDIS (that stood for Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style).
The Doctor was sans a companion for the Christmas special, so it was fun seeing him paired with another person who thought he was the Doctor. Plus, Morrissey's "Doctor" had his own companion — Rosita.
As the three of them dig deeper into what the Cybermen and Miss Hartigan are up to, they discover that Morrissey is not the next Doctor — he's Jackson Lake, a normal nineteenth century British man. Jackson had been "infostamped" with the Doctor's information and he had blocked out what had really happened to him — his wife was killed by the Cybermen.
Morrissey shows his angry Governor side once he starts remembering his past. Like the Governor, he lost someone he loved, but not to zombies this time — to the Cybermen.
Luckily for all of us, Jackson Lake does not descend into darkness like Philip Blake (the Governor's real name). Probably helps when you've got the Doctor along to help you through your traumatic issues. I mean, c'mon. How could you descend into darkness with this guy around?
Jackson's story ends on a much happier note than the Governor's (it is a Christmas special after all! Spoiler — This isn't Downton Abbey). Jackson, the Doctor, and Rosita discover the children who had been abducted by the Cybermen and free them. When they do that, one last memory returns to Jackson — his son had been taken by the Cybermen when his wife was killed. They are reunited (hoorah!) and the Doctor defeats the Cybermen and Miss Hartigan (double hoorah!). Jackson invites the Doctor to stay for Christmas dinner, and in an un-Doctor-like move, he agrees (awww).
"The Next Doctor" is a must watch for big Walking Dead fans. It's refreshing to see Morrissey in a light-hearted (and kind-hearted) role. And if you like seeing him do the whole endearing British thing, check Morrissey out in the 2008 mini-series version of Sense & Sensibility as Colonel Brandon. Or if you're feeling really frisky, check out Blackpool from 2004. Tennant and Morrissey also starred together in that ... and this happens:
Images: Gene Page/AMC; unknwnpleasure/Tumblr; Adrian Rogers/BBC WORLDWIDE