05 Jun Meet Doon Mackichan!
Doon Mackichan by Trevor Neal…
You might need me to tell you how to pronounce her surname (although probably not, if you’re Scottish) but you definitely don’t need me to tell you that Doon Mackichan is a brilliant comedian, TV star, film star and stage actor. And yes, Doon is also another ex-member of Manchester University Drama Department, where the Strangeness team first met in the early 1980s. We were lucky to all be at Manchester during what appears to have been a golden era; catapulting a vast array of successful individuals, into the world of Arts and Entertainment. I was in a number of student productions with Doon and she quickly became a good friend.
I should be clear though, here at Strangeness we didn’t set out to find “jobs for the boys”, or in this case, jobs for “the independently successful, professional woman”. When it comes to casting we still want the best and in the case of finding someone to play our narrator Bounty Flightingale, it really was a no brainer that Doon would be perfect. Casting a low-budget project like Strangeness in Space isn’t easy. There are no wads of cash to tempt high profile actors and comedians, so we’re reliant on tempting them with the project itself. Thankfully Doon loved our idea! And so, not only did we add another top, comedy performer to an already sparkling line-up; at last I got the chance to ask her the all-important question… “What’s it like working with Steve Coogan?”
Doon & me (as New Romantic with Tea Cup) in Student Drama Production
When Simon and I performed an early comedy show, called Billing, Billing and Billing’s Comical Capers at the Buxton Festival in 1983, we appeared on the same bill as Dan and the Doves, a slick, vocal harmony group featuring two particularly lovely Doves, called… Sophie and Doon!
Doon & Dan & the Doves (pre-Sophie) Sophie Dove with Simon & Doon Dove (obscured by my beacon)
Doon, with her then comedy partner Anne Rabbit (stars of LWT’s Sunday morning TV show Wake Up London!) shared the bill with us again in 1985, for our Edinburgh Fringe show Funny Cabaret, with comedian and friend Simon Bligh.
Rabbit and Doon Funny Cabaret
Doon shines in everything she does and her list of TV comedy credits is dazzling; Smack the Pony, The Day Today, Brass Eye, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, The Comic Strip Presents, Toast of London and Plebs, to name just a few.
She has also appeared in the 1998 film The Borrowers; her own show for BBC Radio 4, Doon Your Way and on stage in London’s West End, the Young Vic and The Royal Court Theatre . If that wasn’t enough, Doon has also managed to swim the English Channel and was recently a crew member for the Sports Relief Challenge, Hell on High Seas, sailing the Irish and English Channels for five days. Doon also takes part in fund raising for the charity Clic Sargent, supporting young cancer patients.
We couldn’t be more excited and delighted that Doon chose to bring her comic genius to Strangeness in Space, for the role of Bounty. It’s been a lot of fun for her too; excited to be working alongside old friends again…
“ …I just love working with the team where it all began!”
From testing tongue twisters to preposterously puerile puns, Doon takes the Strangeness scripts in her stride, presenting a unique and hilarious take on every gag and making the most of each line. Nothing wasted. No opportunity missed. When I met her to record her parts for Episodes 3 and 4, at her brother Blair’s recording studio in Hastings earlier this year, I was hugely impressed by Doon’s talent for nailing a whole script in just one or two takes, even when half of it was… (Episode 4 Spoiler Alert!) …in cod French! (I was also hugely impressed by the platinum discs on the wall of Blair’s studio… but that’s for a future profile perhaps).
So that’s Doon. As for how to pronounce her surname, well… somewhere in Dave Palser’s Strangeness in Space sound archive, we have recordings of Rufus Hound and Doon herself explaining just how it’s done and maybe sometime these will be made available. In the meantime, it’s… Ma-kee-kan… or is it Mack-ee-Can? Actually maybe it’s more like Mak-key-kun… Anyway she’s definitely Doon and she’s definitely “very, very, very” funny as Bounty Flightingale. So, should you ever meet her, feel free to say “Hey Doon! You’re very funny and we love you in Strangeness in Space”. She’ll like that. Apparently it will be a nice change from, “Hey Doon!… what’s it like working with Steve Coogan?”