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Marina Sirtis - Star Trek: The Next Generation's empathetic Counsellor

A Long Job
  What did they tell you about The Next Generation before you began the series?

What they told us about The Next Generation when we first started was that we were guaranteed twenty-six episodes. So that was the longest job I've ever had. And that was basically it - we didn't know what the premise of the show was going to be and we waited, week by week, to see a script. We knew that we weren't going to be taking over from the original cast, that it was going to be a whole new entity, but that was it.

I remember I went to I went to see Gene Rodenberry to ask him about my character, about her background and things like that. I'd done a history for her; her likes, dislikes, upbringing, things like that. And he just said, 'Yeah, yeah, that's fine,'. I don't know if it was that he wasn't interested or whether I'd hit the nail on the head. But that was it. I don't think they told us much about it, at all.

Into The Abyss
  What did you know about Star Trek before your audition?

I wasn't a Star Trek fan, yet I knew who all the characters were. that goes to show what an impact the show had not just in entertainment but in life. I knew who Chekhov was and I knew who Kirk and Spock were, although I probably had never seen the show.

I don't know about the others, but I was a little scared, not so much when we were filming but when it came time for the first show to go on the air. We were being scrutinised so closely, especially by the press, and by the fans who were not happy about there being a new show at all. They were quite happy watching their re-runs of the original Star Trek and were quite miffed that we were trying to replace their idols. So I felt like I was jumping into an abyss sometimes.

A Hopeful Future
  How would you describe the premise of The Next Generation?

The premise of the show was to show the public that there was a hopeful future. We, as the human race, were going to develop in a positive way, and that by the time we got to the 24th century there would be no need for money. Everyone would get along much better, there would be no countries on Earth, we would just be a planet. It was a very hopeful idea, and Gene believed in that.

I'm not sure that it's an idea that's actually going to happen, with the way things are going these days. It's something that the fans hooked onto, what they like about the show is that it has a very hopeful future and that it's very non-judgmental. The whole premise of the show is that it's not about what people are like on the outside, or what races are like on the outside, it's about what's going on in the inside. A lot of fans who don't necessarily fit into the norm, or into the mainstream, are so attached to the show, because they've found a place where they fit in.

No One Has Gone Before
  How did the Next Generation's mission differ from the first series?

The only difference was that we were going to places where no one had gone before, and the original cast were going to places where no man had been before.

Gene Rodenberry always said that despite all the technology and all the flashing lights and special effects and all that stuff, that fundamentally Star Trek was a people show, and it was about the people on the show who happened to be in these unusual situations.

Cerebral, Kind and Nurturing
  What did you expect from your part?

I don't think I had any expectations about my part. I'd never been in a situation where I was going to get a chance to develop a character over such a long length of time. And so I didn't look at it in that way. if I had it would have been absolutely terrifying. I just took one episode at a time and dealt with it in that way dealt with that story, that week.

The challenge that that I found was to stay true to the character, because she was so unlike me. I'm much more brash and loud and a bit obnoxious sometimes, to be honest. She was so cerebral and kind and nurturing and all those things. I'm not saying that I don't have those things in my personality, but they're certainly not on the outside. And the challenge was to not inject Marina into Councillor Troi, but to keep Councillor Troi true to who she was.

OK, Better, Big
  Did you have any idea of how huge the show would become?

I don't think any of us had any inkling of how huge the show was going to become, and it was easier, because we segued into the success. In the first season, we did OK, in the second season, we did a bit better, and it wasn't until the third season that the show became big. We had a chance to get used to it happening. I was the first one to do conventions on a regular basis, and I noticed that the crowds were getting bigger and bigger and that was an indication to me of how successful the show was becoming. When we started, apart from Patrick and LeVar who was who was famous already, we were just a bunch of unknown actors, really, who were just happy to be employed. The success of the show was almost startling, but nice. As an actor, of course, you want to be in something that's successful.

Just Getting a Job
  Is it fair to say that you had no idea what you were letting yourself in for?

I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Because I wasn't aware of the Star Trek phenomena. Being brought up in England where although it was popular in the 60s, it was totally new to me. To be honest, when I was cast in the job, I was just happy to get a job. It wasn't that I had got a job on Star Trek, it was that I had got a series, and that was what the exciting thing was.

The Real Guys
  Did you ever feel that there was a legacy to the film, from the original series and the actors in that series?

I couldn't let myself think about the legacy. Once you start thinking in those terms, you just probably freeze yourself up and don't allow yourself to explore the natural progression of your character and the series. I don't think any of us felt that way, we felt that it was our show and it was – it was our chance to show what we were made of.

I've never felt that we will never reach the iconic status that the original cast reached. I was walking through an airport yesterday, actually, with – with Walter Koenig, and people were just going, 'Oh, look, hey, Chekhov, hi, Chekhov,' and I was invisible. And it made me realise that, yeah, we might have been more popular on a ratings level, but they were the guys: they were the real guys.

Captain, Number One
  Can you describe the main characters on the bridge and how they interacted with each other.

First of all, you have Patrick Stewart, who plays the captain and he's in charge, that's pretty fundamental. What I liked about his character and what I liked about our show, was that the person that he turned to for advice, a lot of the time, was me, and I was a woman. I still am a woman, let's clear that up, but I thought that was a big step for American television, that a man would turn to a woman for advice. Not that he took it very often, but he did make the gesture.

Number One, Jonathan Frakes – if you had to compare the two series, he would be the closest one to Kirk, purely because of all the love interests – and the twinkle in his eye. They both had a twinkle in their eye, Jonathan definitely has, and they seemed to both have this love of life. Number One was a good contrast to the captain, because they were two people who could both run a ship, but it would have been two very different ships. But they were both capable of doing it.

Data is everyone's favourite, really. In life, as well as on The Enterprise, if you were to ask any of the crew members in character who their favourite crew member was, they would all say Data. And, in life, apart from Michael Dorn and myself, who are best friends, if you were to ask any of the actors who their favourite person was on the show, they would all say Brent Spiner. So, there was a bit of art imitating life there. Because of Data's innocence and the fact that he was learning all the time, it gave everyone a chance to explore issues that possibly we wouldn't have otherwise.

The Blind Pilot, the Klingon, and the Shrink
  LaForge, Worf and Troi

Geordie, the Chief Engineer, didn't start out as the Chief Engineer, he started out as – well, he drove the ship. I thought was fascinating for a blind guy to be driving a ship but, there you go, it's the 24th century, we can do anything. He fit much better into the role of the Chief Engineer.

LeVar is a very special spiritual person, and he incorporated that spirituality into a very technical job, which I thought was a fascinating way to play that part. The fact that he and Data were best friends was actually quite poignant sometimes.

Then there's Worf, big old, dumb old Worf – you can cut that – that's what we used to call him. Well, he used to call himself that, too, so I'm not telling tales out of school. I like the fact that he was the security chief and he was so volatile that he just wanted to blow people up all the time, and we had to rein him in. I thought that was an interesting contrast. I liked the relationship that we had, (and I'm not talking about the love relationship that we had towards the end of the series), but there was this friction between the two characters, because they were so opposite in their core being . Troi was very nurturing and spiritual, and Worf just wanted to blow everyone out of the sky. I thought we had some very interesting scenes together because of that.

Then there was me. LeVar sent me a Christmas card one year, and I've kept it because it made me cry when I opened it. Inside it said, 'To the glue that holds us all together.' and I still get misty thinking about it. I've heard Troi described as 'the soul of The Enterprise,' and if that's the case, then I take that as the hugest compliment.

And then the Doctor, who was a real contradiction in terms, because she didn't know what was wrong with people a lot of the time but was very competent. She was the conscience of The Enterprise, on a certain level, and I thought that was extraordinary on a sci-fi show when, a lot of the time, you're blowing things up. It's an action adventure, and then you have this character who has a conscience that permeates everything. Altogether, it was pretty well thought out for each individual character.

  What do you know about the producers planning this mix of characters?

The mix of characters has been a mystery to me, and this has been one of the biggest questions that we've all asked ourselves and we've talked about, as a cast. Did they sense that there was going to be this chemistry between us, and cast us because of it? Or was it just an accident that just worked out? We don't know.

Gene's gone now and it's something, unfortunately, that I never asked him. Possibly it was a bit of both. When they are casting shows, I'm not sure that they're concerned about how well the actors are going to get on with each other. But the chemistry was there from day one – prior to day one. It was there when we started the make-up and hair tests in the weeks before we actually started shooting. And on the first day, we were corpsing and having fun with each other. Considering how nervous we all were, it was a happy accident.

The Best Seven Years
  So was it a very happy time for you?

It was the best seven years of my life. We laughed for seven years.

I know everyone says that every TV actor in an ensemble cast, says, 'Oh, we loved each other, we got on so well, and, yes, yes, yes, we're very good friends.' We did a press junket for the last movie, Insurrection. Of course, you have to do these round robin interviews and they last all day for a couple of days. Jonathan and I went into a room that was full of reporters and they said, 'We've been spying on you.' And we were, 'OK.'

They said 'Every time we do one of these things, we always ask the actors how well they got on, and they always say "Oh, we – we got on great, we love each other." but then we come out into the corridor and we see them walking past each other in the corridor, they just about speak to each other. But you guys are having more fun out in the corridor than you're having doing the junket. So we can tell that you actually do get on great.' So I thought, well, there it is, that's how you can tell. You have to go out into the corridors and see what's happening off the set.

I get so nostalgic for that time. The reason that we're all desperate to make another movie is not because we don't see each other, because we're all still best friends seven years after the show, which is unique in Hollywood. We want to work together, and we want to spend sixteen hours a day together again instead of just having dinner or drinks or lunch or having a party. So that's why – it's not so much the work, it's that we get to hang out again .

At the same junket we all have lunch together in this big conference room. We looked around one day, and it was just the cast. Usually there are publicists, the managers and this guy and that guy, but it was just us - so we locked the door. It was so great. I was telling my husband what had happened, he said, 'Oh gosh, I wish I'd been there.' I said, 'But if you were there, Michael, it wouldn't have been just us.' It was a magical time. if you ask any of us, they'll say the same.

Dating Games
  Riker, Worf, Riker, Worf ... just who is Troi dating?

In the last movie Troi went back to Riker. A lot of the fans are asking me 'What happened with Worf, 'cos you were dating Worf in the last few episodes of the series, and suddenly you're back with Riker again, what happened?' .

Basically, it was because basically Michael Dorn went off to be on Deep Space 9 and had this whole relationship and marriage with Jadzia Dax, so it was over between him and Troi. I don't think it would reflect well on Troi if he came back onto The Enterprise and just picked up where he left off : Troi the doormat . The other reason is that I feel that Troi and Riker are a better couple. I never felt that the Troi-Worf thing was based in a reality that Troi would have been in, because she's so perfect. And then, he has those ugly teeth – I don't know, it just never made sense to me. I was glad that she and Riker were back together.

Embraceable You
  What do you think made The Next Generation so popular for fans?

Next Generation was popular with the fans because they sensed the camaraderie between us. Whenever I do a convention or run across a fan in the street - at the airport, in a shop, wherever - one of the things they always ask me is, 'Did you get on as well as it seemed you did on the screen?'. That makes people watching feel that they're included in the family.

One of the things, of course, was that Gene had said from the beginning that because humanity had evolved so much, by the 24th century, there would be no conflict. It's an awful thing to say in a dramatic sense, because what we learned at drama school was that conflict is drama. To find a way around that was sometimes testing, but it worked because of how well we got on. We'd probably had a little spat here and there on screen, I can't remember, but I'm sure we did and the fans felt included in that. They felt that they were just embraced into this cast because we embraced each other.

Caring about the Product
  How important was the casting of Patrick Stewart in the success of the series?

I would say that the casting of Patrick Stewart made up at least 50%, if not more, of our success. Not because he's a great actor, which he is, but because Patrick was not going to be in anything that he wasn't 100% proud of.

He would fight to change dialogue, to make it better. He was totally professional and consequently, because of the trickle down effect, if this wonderful actor cared so much about the product, then we all cared about the product, and we all wanted it to be the best that it could be. As far as I'm concerned, he personified what a captain should be - he was like the touchstone for all of us, I think.

Keeping it Fresh
  Did you ever want more scope to explore your character?

When you do a long series - and we did 179 hours of Next Generation - there is the challenge of keeping it fresh, day after day, week after week.

Especially when you're not featured in the episode very much, there is a danger that you'll get lackadaisical, not read the script and just show up and say the lines, hit the marks, and try not to bump into the furniture. But because of Patrick and his attitude, I don't think any of us ever got to that point. We all looked forward to going to work, which it is unusual after five or six or seven years. There is the opportunity to explore that character what you're playing. It's not like in a movie where, even though you may shoot two and a half hours, and an hour and a half ends up on the screen it's condensed. You have to find everything quickly and it's intense.

On a TV show that runs for so long, because they're throwing things at you all the time, new things, things you never thought the character would do or say or – or be in positions that you never imagined that she would be in - somehow that always keeps it fresh. Of course, there are episodes where I was just standing around saying 'Captain, he's hiding something,'. But even then, they were challenging, because Patrick Stewart would say things like, 'Well, we know that, you stupid cow . Waste of space, come on, get on with it.' and so it was fresh because it was funny and it never got stale.

In Film
  On how her parts in the films can be surprising

In the films, although my parts haven't been excessively large, they've been interesting, too, because they've managed to give me new things to do that I never thought Troi would do. In First Contact, Troi was the comedy and that was extraordinary to me, because every time I tried to make Troi funny in the series, it never worked, I was actually convinced that although Marina was quite funny, Troi had no comic timing at all. And I would try to do something and John would say, 'Oh no, no, don't do that, she's not funny .' Somehow, the writers did it because the writers want to be interested, and the producers, everyone wants to do something fresh. It's a great opportunity to really delve into a character, and get all the nooks and crannies - the different emotions and different reactions - and build up a history for her.

Gradual Success
  Were you surprised at the level of success that Next Generation found?

I don't think I was surprised at the level of success because it happened gradually. If we had burst onto the scene and made a great impact, like West Wing has this year in America, perhaps that would have floored me and I would not have known how to deal with that. Because it happened so gradually we took it in our stride. I remember looking at the numbers sometimes and being a little amazed that we were doing better than some very popular shows. Because it was a gradual process, it didn't floor us quite as much.

Designer Discounts
  How did the success affect you personally?

The success affected me instantly, purely because I'd got the job.

I was on my way back to England. I had just taken the suitcase down from the cupboard, to start packing and the 'phone call came. I was broke, my credit cards were maxed out, I probably had about ten dollars in my purse and I was going back to England because I was broke. So the 'phone call came and in the space of one day, suddenly I went from being this unemployed, obscure actress, to an actress in Star Trek The Next Generation. I had to have a publicist, a manager, a business manager, and all this stuff, and my head was spinning.

Then it got to the point where I was recognised. That didn't happen immediately. I remember when the show first started, we were on a float in the Hollywood parade. The whole cast were on a float – I can't remember if it was The Enterprise or not, it was just something resembling a bridge. We were in uniform, just waving to the crowds, and the float said, 'Star Trek.' The public expected to see Kirk and Spock, but it was us going past all these people, who were going, 'Well, who the heck are they? They're not Star Trek, who are these people?' So we had some baptisms of fire.

I was lucky, because of the hair and the contact lenses and the different look of the character, I wasn't recognised unless I wanted to be. If I kept my mouth shut and didn't speak, then I could go around anonymously. If I spoke, people would tend to recognise my voice.

All that changed, really, was that I can get a discount in some quite posh stores and I get some quite nice tables in restaurants now and again. I get invited to nice parties. My life hasn't changed that much, really. I did all my partying and crazy things in England before I left, in my youth, and didn't feel the urge to do it again. I met my husband in the first season hiatus and settled down, so I don't think success has changed me that much. I'm probably the wrong person to ask: you should probably ask other cast members about how success has changed them - you'd probably get a better answer.

Techno Babble
  How easy was it to say the technical words and make yourself believe you knew what you were talking about?

I never had to say many technical words, because I was a psychologist, and - I decided - a Freudian psychologist, so all I had to do was say things like, 'So what do you think?'

There was one episode where I was suddenly the expert on Romulan technology, because I'd been kidnapped by the Romulans. I went down with an away team and had a line - 'That's impossible, Sir, the Romulans use an artificial quantum singularity as their power source.' Because it's the only technical line I've had to say, I remember it still, because it took me three weeks to learn it.

I was always amazed at LeVar, who not only learned all the stuff but said it fast. Fortunately, I didn't have to do the techno-babble.

The Most Loyal Fans
  What reaction did you get from the fans?

The first reactions from the fans were not good, because they didn't want a new Star Trek. They were quite happy with the old Star Trek and were quite upset that we were going to usurp the original show. After a while, when they realised that there was no son of Spoke, daughter of Kirk, or any of that stuff happening, they gradually warmed to us. Now, they love us.

I was one of the first ones to start doing conventions. Brent didn't do them for the longest time. I would come to work on a Monday, after having been in Boston or Riley, North Carolina, or somewhere on the weekend, and he would say, 'So what's it like? What's it like?' And I would say, 'Well, if you have a problem with being adored, don't go.'

That's what it is, they just love us, and they can't do enough for us. They're very respectful: people often ask me if I feel in danger or threatened when I'm there. Never. I have never felt threatened by a Star Trek fan, because they are, so respectful, and they do realise that you need your space. They're wonderful - they're the most loyal fans in the history of show business.

We're Actors
  Were there any negative aspects to being on such a long running series?

People often imagine that the negative part of being on Star Trek is that you're type cast. I'm asked a lot if I am type cast now as that character. I don't think it's a phenomenon that is unique to Star Trek - it happens in any successful, long running series. You get associated with a character - look at Cheers. When the guys are finished on ER, they're going to have the same thing. People assume, for some reason, that it's exclusive to Star Trek but it's a problem if you come off a show for seven years.

Usually, the reaction you get from directors and producers is, 'Oh yeah, we know her, she's not right.' when, in fact, they don't understand that we've been playing a character that probably isn't like us very much at all. Especially for British actors, if they were to meet us, we're actually very different - we're actors and we play characters. It does take quite a long time to overcome that perception.

Your Majesty
  Patrick Stewart has been described as one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world. What was the cast's reaction to this?

Patrick Stewart isn't my type I have to say! I can understand how other people would regard him as one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world - I knew this was going to happen.

I remember going to a convention, one time, and mentioning Patrick's name, and women screaming. This was quite early on and I came back to work and said, 'You know, Patrick, you're on your way to becoming a sex symbol.' He said, 'Oh, don't be ridiculous, darling.' So I told him 'No, I'm totally serious - watch out.' My words came true and he did become this huge sex symbol, which I'm sure he never imagined was going to happen in his wildest dreams.

We got some pretty bad reviews in some newspaper when we first started, and one of Patrick's reviews said, 'Unknown Shakespearean actor,' which we taped on his door of his trailer – or 'First choice low comedy at the RSC'. It was a surprise for him, but not so much for us - of course, we teased him mercilessly. That was the kind of set we had, we just teased him – 'Oh watch out, here's one of the most beautiful people in the world.' That was about the time we started calling him 'Your Majesty.'

The One with the Hippies
  You never watched Star Trek as a child?

I didn't watch Star Trek as a child. When I came to America I would find Star Trek flicking through the channels, as one does, as it's on all the time, but for some reason it was always the same episode. It was a bad one, I hate to say –the original cast would agree with me that it wasn't one of their best.

It was the flower people one, when they all had daisies painted on their faces. I remember thinking, did they have no idea that that fashion was not going to last very long? Because that was dated after about a year . So that was the one I kept finding, so I wasn't hugely impressed.

I have a friend, Lois Burwell, who's an Oscar winning British make-up artist. She dragged me to see the fourth movie The Journey Home, - the one with the whales. Actually, she dragged me kicking and screaming, because I didn't want to go and see it when she came to visit me. That was my first experience of Star Trek, and I liked it.

Of course, one can't compare that film to the TV series, but as I said, the one that I did see all the time, ad infinitum, was the one with the daisies. The sets seemed to me like the sets that we had when I was in grammar school, and we did Twelfth Night. They kept falling down, because people were giggling behind them, but I'm sure they worked.

I'm going to get myself in trouble!

Cosmic Cheerleader
  It's fair to say that the costume and design didn't make a very strong impression on you?

We inherited my cosmic cheerleader outfit in the very first episode from the original show. It was 'can we get Marina's skirt any shorter than this?'. Fortunately, they decided that the outfit didn't suit my character and we lost it by the second episode.

The only good thing about the show coming to an end after seven years, was that I was finally able to breathe out. Those costumes were tight - you had a grape for lunch and it showed. Watching the episodes now I can see the ones where I had gained two or three pounds, or when I'd lost two or three pounds - it's absolutely mortifying. My hat goes off to Jeri Ryan, because she manages to maintain this perfect silhouette, and unfortunately, I didn't.

Cleavage or Brains?
  Did you have any input at all into what you were going to wear?

There were discussions about the wardrobe but they didn't involve the actors - well, they didn't involve me. I was just the clothes horse, and they put stuff on me. In those days, I was a tad heavier than I am now and getting my costume together was basically finding something that looked good - or looked not as bad as the other things.

I remember when I got the job, they said, 'You've got the job, lose five pounds.' And they were being generous, I needed to lose much more than five pounds. It was just a question of how the heck do we make her look half decent?

I was thrilled when I got my regulation Star Fleet uniform, or the regulation space suit, as we call it. First of all, it covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back, because when you have a cleavage you can't have brains in Hollywood. So I got all my brains back and I was allowed to do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled.

Fear of Rubber
  Did you ever wish your character was visibly alien, or was it a relief not to have to wear a load of make-up?

I had one visible alien thing, my contact lenses, which were like pools of blackness. But, of course, no one could tell, because I have dark hair, and they just assumed that I would have dark eyes. I was thrilled I didn't have any bits of rubber stuck on me.

There were episodes where I had to age or where I was taken over by some alien thing or other, and I had to wear the rubber prosthetics. I hated it - I turned into the psycho-bitch from hell. I was glad I didn't have to wear it for seven years. It has become such a thing with me that if there's ever a part that comes up and I have to wear prosthetics, I won't do it. It's horrible.

There were two specific episodes. One episode I had to turn into an amphibian, so not only did I have amphibian make-up on but I had to be wet, which was not a good combination. You see how my voice is changing even talking about it. In another episode I had to age to be 150 years old. That was unpleasant because I had the full face, neck, chest and hands - it was awful. You can't scratch anything, and it feels just like your flesh is crawling underneath. People would say 'Oh, look, it's Marina, she just can't bear the thought that she's going to get old .' But, I thought, I'll never look like this, because I'm not going to live to be 150 years old.

My hat goes off to Rene Auberjonois, Michael Dorn... there's a whole long list of people who did an amazing job considering what they had to wear on their heads. Funnily enough, they didn't have to get there much earlier than me. In fact, I was the first one in, in the morning - I took almost two hours to get ready. Michael Dorn took an hour and a half.

A Certain Brightness
  Were you aware of the process that created the whole look of the series?

I know the only thing that I know about the look of the series is that there was a certain brightness that they wanted to it, which changed with Deep Space 9, where they wanted a certain darkness. I don't know if Patrick was but, lower down, the actors were never privy to how the spaceship was going to look or how the cast, extras and aliens were going to look. That was something that was totally decided upstairs.

Empath Poker
  Describe what a Betazoid is.

A Betazoid is someone from the planet Betazed. And if you're a full Betazoid, you are totally psychic and telepathic. But I was only half Betazoid, so I wasn't telepathic, except with my mother and possibly some other Betazoids that we met along the way. Generally, with most beings, I could just sense what they were feeling, so I was empathic.

Why I was in the poker game, I will never know, because poker's about sensing when people are bluffing, and there I was in a poker game every week. I don't think you ever actually saw me win bundles of money but I'm sure, off screen, at some point that was what I did.

Rep in Space
  Is there anything you'd like to tell us about the whole experience of The Next Generation?

I did a lot of theatre in England before I came to Los Angeles. You get this camaraderie, especially when you're doing a musical, this great feeling of togetherness, family and fun. Everyone is trying to corpse everybody else - that happens in the English theatre. I never thought I would ever have that camaraderie reproduced on a TV show or on a movie, but that was exactly what it was like on our show.

It was as if we were a rep in Worthing, doing a space show. I tend not to watch the series anymore, because it's not on in Los Angeles, but occasionally we get one of the movies on cable. I watched Generations a couple of weeks ago, and got very nostalgic. It's like there's a hole. Unfortunately, if the next movie is our last one, that hole is going to not be filled up all the time. I'm getting all emotional but I feel like there's a hole now, and I miss them.

  How do you think Scott Bakula will do as the new captain? And do you have any advice for the new crew?

Scott Bakula's going to make a wonderful captain. He's different.

It doesn't matter so much that we had Patrick as the diplomatic ambassador type of captain and then we had a black captain who was a little more intense. Then we had a woman captain, and now they've found a different type of captain again. Scott Bakula's is going to be a combination of Patrick and Kirk, or, I should say Patrick and William Shatner. He's got a – I want to say a Dick Whittington type of thing. There's almost a 'ten miles to London and there's still no sign of Dick,' quality – there's a cavalier thing about him. I think, also, he's going to manage the seriousness of it, when it comes up. Having watched Quantum Leap, and all the different characters he played and the different places that he went in that series - not physical places but emotional ones - he's going to be wonderful.

What advice would I give to the Enterprise cast? I would say: don't over analyse it, just have fun with it. You're not curing cancer, it's a space show . It's a good space show, but it's entertainment. It can be the best time you'll ever have, if you just get on as a cast. The producers are great, the writers are great, they care about the show. They'll give you the product, all you have to do is show up, and have a blast. You'll have a great time.