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Paul John McGann (born 14 November 1959[1]) played the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie and the 2013 BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button Doctor Who mini-episode The Night of the Doctor.

He also voices the role in audio stories for BBC Radio and Big Finish Productions.

Career Edit

He was born in Surrey, although his family moved to Liverpool when he was a young child. His brothers Mark, Joe, and Stephen are also actors; the four of them starred together (as four brothers) in the 1995 television miniseries The Hanging Gale. They also formed the pop quartet "The McGanns", releasing the single "Shame About The Boy".

McGann made his name on the BBC serial The Monocled Mutineer, in which he played the lead role of Percy Toplis. Following that part, he was cast as the eponymous "I" in Bruce Robinson's cult film comedy, Withnail and I (1987). He also starred as Anton Skrebensky in Ken Russell's 1989 adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow.

McGann was offered the lead role in the ITV series Sharpe in 1993. Unfortunately, during the filming of the series' first instalment, Sharpe's Rifles, McGann was injured while playing football and subsequently had to withdraw. The role was then given to, and made famous by, Sean Bean.

Doctor Who Edit

Paul McGann reportedly found out about the Doctor Who TV movie during the production of the 1993 film The Three Musketeers. Tim Curry was offered the role of the Eighth Doctor and he was interested in playing the role because he's always interested in a role that isn't a villain, but he didn't know how to play the character. One day during filming, Curry approached McGann on how he would play the Eighth Doctor if he were cast. Curry turned down the role of the Eighth Doctor because of scheduling conflicts with several movies, and McGann would be cast as the Eighth Doctor.

During the production of the TV Movie, McGann participated in the documentary Bidding Adieu: A Video Diary, Sylvester McCoy's personal documentary of his then-final outing as the Seventh Doctor.

Post-Who work Edit

Since Doctor Who, McGann's career has concentrated on television work including the Hornblower series. His voice was featured in the 1997 video game Ceremony of Innocence, together with those of Isabella Rossellini and Ben Kingsley.

In 2013, McGann appeared as himself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, alongside fellow classic Doctor actors Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy.

From 2017 to 2018, McGann played sinister surgeon John Gaskell in forty episodes of the medical drama series Holby City (1999-ongoing).

Reprising the Doctor Edit

McGann had given permission for his likeness to be used in BBC Books' Eighth Doctor Adventures novel range and the weekly Doctor Who Magazine comic strip continuing his character's adventures without him having any actual involvement. As a result, in the many years before television Who returned to production, the Eighth Doctor remained the "current" Doctor in all the new Doctor Who spin-off media with the character's mannerisms extrapolated from his brief performance.

In 1997, McGann made his first foray into Doctor Who audio when he recorded several audiobooks for BBC Audio, beginning with an audio adaptation of The Novel of the Film and continuing with a collection of short stories, Earth and Beyond. In 2000, he joined the roster of Big Finish Productions, reprising the role of the Eighth Doctor for the Main Range, and was treated as the "current" Doctor by the majority of fandom and the BBC until Christopher Eccleston assumed the role in 2005. He also made his webcast debut with the animated Shada. McGann continues to play the Eighth Doctor in Big Finish's main Doctor Who range, as well as Eighth Doctor Adventures, a second series of audios produced by Big Finish for broadcast on BBC7 Radio.

McGann participated in a commentary and other material for the DVD re-release of his own TV Movie. He has narrated material on other classic Who DVD releases as well, for example, the Five Doctors DVD featurette "The Ties That Bind Us."

Paul McGann finally returned to the screen as the Eighth Doctor in 2013, when he reprised the role in The Night of the Doctor. Though it was only a brief outing, the mini-episode allowed him a chance to at last depict his regeneration story. Following this, he bragged that Colin Baker was now the only previous Doctor to have never filmed his regeneration sequence, due to his forced dismissal from the role, which was later rendered a moot point when Baker himself recorded his regeneration in the audio anthology The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure released in 2015. During his regeneration story, McGann also briefly portrayed the newly regenerated War Doctor, making him one of two actors to have technically portrayed two different incarnations of the Doctor (the other being his predecessor Sylvester McCoy, who similarly briefly played the Sixth Doctor during his regeneration sequence).

Credits Edit

Television Edit

Doctor Who Edit

Webcasts Edit

Other Edit

Audio Dramas Edit

Main Range Edit

Big Finish Special Releases Edit

Eighth Doctor Adventures Edit

The Further Adventures of Lucie Miller Edit

Dark Eyes Edit

Doom Coalition Edit

Ravenous Edit

Stranded Edit

The Eighth Doctor: The Time War Edit

Classic Doctors, New Monsters Edit

Time Lord Victorious Edit

The Diary of River Song Edit

The War Master Edit

Susan's War Edit

Audiobook readings Edit

Time Lord Fairy Tales Edit

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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