The Crown 's Josh O'Conner talks getting strangled by an alien on Dr Who before landing Prince Charles role

Clark Collis
·2 min read

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One of actor Josh O'Connor's first professional acting jobs was playing a doomed Russian submarine crew member named Piotr on a 2013 episode of Doctor Who, which also featured his future The Crown costar Tobias Menzies.

While O'Connor recalls the experience as a "brilliant" one, the word "brief" could most definitely apply to the part itself. Indeed, O'Connor's role on the episode was over before the opening credits began, as Piotr was strangled to death by a defrosted alien.

"I was in the beginning of the episode, and I deliver a monologue, and then I get strangled, then the credits come up and the episode properly starts," he says. "That was about a minute’s worth of screen time."

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Alas, O'Connor had not warned his family that his character would not be reappearing later in the show.

"My mum had invited my grandmother and my mum’s friends," says O'Connor. "My whole family had gathered round to watch my episode of Doctor Who. I was in Tottenham, minding my own business, and I got a text from my mum saying, 'All good so far. Looking forward to seeing more.' And then 45 minutes [I got another] saying, 'That was it, wasn't it?' So, poor mum was quite disappointed. Hopefully they’re a bit more satisfied these days."

Season 4 of The Crown, in which O'Conner gets plenty of screen time as Prince Charles, is now available to watch on Netflix.

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