SFX Issue 9

February 1996


McGann Is The New Who

Withnail star is the eighth Doctor

At last it’s official. Over a year after he was first tipped for the role, Paul McGann has been named as the next Doctor Who. The actor is already on location in Vancouver filming the two-hour TV movie, which is still scheduled to air in the US on the Fox network in may. The BBC plans to show it over here in the summer.

Other details which can now be confirmed about the TV movie are:

  • Sylvester McCoy eill be appearing as the seventh Doctor
  • The Master will be one of the adversaries
  • The script is by Brit writer Matthew Jacobs, most famous for writing the script for the surreal 1988 movie Paperhouse .

At the time of going to press further news about the cast and crew was expected to be announced at the end of January.

Liverpudlian McGann, of the famous acting McGann tribe, is probably best know for his roles in The Monocled Mutineer and as the “I” in Withnail And I . A friend of Sylvester McCoy, he reckons his predecessor, “has told me everything I need to know,” while claiming that, “Taking on such a key role hasn’t really sunk in yet.” He also promises that, “The film will be loyal to the spirit of the past series, but will find a fresh appeal too.”

McGann has been in the running for some time, as Peter Wagg, who recently was working as a producer on the project, conformed: “I screen-tested McGann over a year ago, and I thought he was just perfect for the role. I tested a number of actors, and for me it was down to two – one, who was a slightly darker actor, and Paul, who was more of the adventurer. It just depended on which way you wanted to go with the eighth Doctor, really. Paul has a very infectious quality and he’s got a very wide range as an actor. I’m sure he’ll be a lot of fun.”

Sylvester McCoy has been claiming for some months now at conventions that McGann had got the role, while sources at the BBC deny that the Americans were holding out for a bigger name – Sting, David Bowie and Simon Callow were all hotly tipped in the tabloids at various times.

Here at SFX we reckon McGann will make a great Doctor, and qwe can’t wait to see the finished film. Best of luck, mate, though we’re sure you don’t need it.