We caught up with actor Yee Jee Tso known for his role as ‘Chang Lee’ to talk about the lasting impact of the film 20 years later.
When we interviewed you back last year, you said you had BIG plans for the 20th anniversary of the telemovie – can you bring us up to date?
With the help of Miwk Publishing, I’m releasing a full-colour photobook, with never-before-seen photos I took during filming, as well as “then and now” photojournalistic perspectives on the filming locations. It’s meant to be a kind of “guided tour of Doctor Who filming in Vancouver”, with personal stories and interviews with other cast members. I’m really excited about it. Your readers/audience can find out more here: https://www.yeejeetso.com/time-and-spaces-photobook/ There’s a link to the page where you can order, if you like 😀
Are you still in touch with any of the cast/crew?
Yes, well I interviewed Daphne and Sylvester for the book, and I see Paul and Eric at conventions, the latter less often but it does happen.
What would you like to say to the die hard whovians out there who are still loving this movie 20 years later?
Get the book LOL. In all seriousness, the biggest message I have for fans of the movie, and all Whovians, is “Thank You”. It’s really quite an amazing experience to have the kind of support that Doctor Who fans have demonstrated, even 20 years after production. That’s actually the main reason I made this book. I’m not sure if you’ve heard but printed books—especially photobooks—are not really a profit-generating venture, but I couldn’t keep this stuff in a box in our garage any longer. It felt like something Doctor Who fans would want to see. There’s also scanned production documents, like the one-line schedule and location schedule, etc. in the book.
What has been your most memorable encounter with a fan?
Well I dunno if I can pick the *most* memorable but let’s call it a three-way tie for the 2nd most memorable, at least in the last year:
A fan posted a photo on Twitter of a hand-made Chang Lee plush doll that her mom had made for her. She also has made some pretty awesome original art of Chang Lee.
A fan makes Doctor Who themed lip balms, and she made one for Chang Lee. She asked me to suggest a name for it and I suggested “Asian Child” lol
A fan I met at a convention works for the FBI and she sent me a box of really cool FBI swag, like hats and laser beams and stuff.
You have portrayed many roles for Big finish audios – which has been your favourite?
I kinda like the Ruth and Charlie thing, re-uniting Daphne and I. Those are fun and I hope we can make them continue.
Would you like to return to Big Finish?
Absolutely. The challenge is almost always schedule related, because I need to be in the UK when the other actors slated for the production are also there, and the studio is available, etc etc. A lot of logistics, but when it happens, it’s brilliant and I love it.
Where do you see Chang Lee 20 years on?
It’s speculated that current doctor Peter Capaldi will be giving up his TARDIS key soon – would you ever consider taking on the role of the doctor?
Fairly certain that almost anyone who gets asked that question would respond with a resounding YES! That said, it’s immense, immense pressure, isn’t it? In a world where Doctor Who could be a 40-something Asian dude living in Vancouver, Canada, absolutely I would do it.
Post Doctor Who – do you have any upcoming projects?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a number of projects over the years, and continue to add to the list: https://www.yeejeetso.com/filmography/ That said, I don’t have anything going into production right now. I have another gig as a full-time developer on the MODX core team (it’s an open source web content management platform). I love the work, the people, and the fact that I can work from home means I get to see my kids—it’s a dream-come-true, really.
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