So recently, John Simm said this to the Radio Times (via the Guardian):
I do get a lot of Doctor Who. God almighty, I’ll be so happy when that’s gone from my life. They’re lovely, I’m sure, but I won’t miss it.
It’s great to be into something, but for goodness’ sake, really? I’m not the Master, I’m not that evil Time Lord who rules the galaxy, I’m just in Tesco with my kids. Leave me alone!
I guess no one has told Simm that being the Master is never going to be gone from his life. There’s no excuse for fans to annoy him in public, of course, but fandom will never forget him.
Simms’ words prompted Stuart Heritage at the Guardian’s TV & Radio Blog to warn:
[S]urely John Simm understands the risks involved in speaking out against sci-fi fans. They’re not like normal fans. Do something they approve of and they will clutch you to their hearts forever. They’ll publish fan art of your face on Tumblr. They’ll write slash fiction about you. They’ll, yes, stop you in supermarkets to tell you how much you mean to them. Appearing on Doctor Who might have been a couple of weeks of work for you, but it’s a lifetime for them. Most importantly, it all comes from a place of affection. And they’re easily hurt.
Surely John Simm saw what happened when William Shatner told Star Trek fans to “Get a life” during a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1986. The backlash from wounded fans was so stinging that he had to backpedal wildly to save face, even going so far as writing a book about how much he actually loved them all along. Leonard Nimoy did something similar, writing a book called I Am Not Spock and then writing another book called I Am Spock, in case any fans thought the first book made it seem like he wasn’t actually Spock.
And then John Simm had a small I Am Spock moment on Twitter:
The Radio Times has really done a number on me re Dr Who ‘quote’. Thanks for that! Suffice to say It was taken out of context AGAIN
— John Simm (@john_simm) May 28, 2013
Whether Simm’s claim to have been misquoted is true or not, one thing is for certain: Actors don’t owe fans anything at all beyond their work. I understand fannish impulses, but it’s hardly ever cool to approach a celeb in public when they’re just trying to go about their business. At a convention is another thing: then they’re there to be seen and to talk to fans. But in public it’s probably best to err on the side of caution. Why would you want to annoy someone you profess to like?
(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)