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You may be looking for his DWU counterpart or the non-DWU individual.

Sylvester McCoy (born 20 August 1943[1] as Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith) played the Seventh Doctor from 1987 to 1989 and 1996, beginning from Time and the Rani to Survival, before returning for Doctor Who.

He has reprised the role in the game show Search Out Space, the 1993 Children in Need special Dimensions in Time and Big Finish Productions' audio adventures since 1999, as well as an alternative version in the webcast Death Comes to Time.

He is sometimes credited as Sylveste McCoy.


Prior to Doctor Who[]

McCoy was born Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith in Dunoon, Scotland. In his youth, he trained for the priesthood but gave this up and worked for a time in the insurance industry. He worked in The Roundhouse box office for a time, where he was discovered by Ken Campbell. He was a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones.

He came to prominence as a member of the comedy act The Ken Campbell Roadshow. His best-known act was in a play called An Evening with Sylveste McCoy, in which the title character was a stuntman whose stunts included putting a fork and nails up his nose and stuffing ferrets down his trousers. As a joke, in order to make the audience believe the character really existed, the cast listing in the programme billed Sylveste McCoy as being played by "Sylveste McCoy". After a reviewer missed the joke and assumed that Sylveste McCoy was a real person, Kent-Smith adopted it as his stage name. Some years later, he added an "r" to "Sylveste" — possibly because of there being thirteen letters in "Sylveste McCoy".

Notable television appearances before he gained the role of the Doctor included roles in Vision On (where he played Pepe, a character who lived in the mirror) and Tiswas. McCoy also played in one-man shows on the stage as two famous movie comedians, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton. He appeared as Bowers in the 1985 television mini-series about Robert Falcon Scott's last Antarctic expedition, The Last Place on Earth, and had a small non-speaking role in the 1979 film version of Dracula, with Laurence Olivier and Frank Langella. (McCoy had also played the title role onstage.) In his Sylveste McCoy persona, he appeared in the first Secret Policeman's Ball film, a comedy/musical program in support of Amnesty International. The film was released to DVD in Region 1 in early 2009 as part of a box set of the Secret Policeman's benefits.

Only months before being cast as the Seventh Doctor, McCoy played a villain in a B-film entitled Three Kinds of Heat, which featured appearances by a number of Who alumni including Trevor Martin and, most notably, onetime Romana I actress Mary Tamm, whose character was killed by McCoy's character.

As the Seventh Doctor[]

The television years[]

McCoy took over the lead role of Doctor Who from Colin Baker in 1987 and remained until the series was shelved in 1989. He would in turn hand over to Paul McGann in 1996.

McCoy was one of several actors considered for the role. In 2010, audition tapes for several actors were included on the DVD release of the Seventh Doctor's debut story, Time and the Rani. In this audition, McCoy played opposite Janet Fielding (companion Tegan Jovanka from the Peter Davison era), who portrayed a villain in the scene.[1] Another audition piece was released on the Dragonfire DVD release.

McCoy actually has the distinction of having played two incarnations of the Doctor; when Baker declined an invitation to record the regeneration scene in Time and the Rani, McCoy put on a wig and Baker's costume and, with his face obscured by special effects, filled in for the role.

In his first season, McCoy, a comedy actor, portrayed the character with a degree of clown-like humour, but script editor Andrew Cartmel soon changed that. The Seventh Doctor developed into a much darker figure than any of his earlier incarnations, manipulating people like chess pieces and always seeming to be playing a deeper game. McCoy generally approved of this, as it allowed him to play more of a dramatic role.

A distinguishing feature of McCoy's performances was his manner of speech. He used a slight Scottish accent (the only Doctor to have used a Scottish accent on a regular basis until Peter Capaldi began as the Twelfth Doctor), rolled his "r"s, and often placed emphasis on unusual syllables or words. This has the added (possibly intentional) effect of sounding a little alien and wrong-footing the audience. It also made the viewer question established speech patterns often taken for granted. At the start of his tenure, he used proverbs and sayings adapted to his own ends (e.g. "There's many a slap twixt cup and lap" — Delta and the Bannermen), although this characteristic was phased out during the later, darker seasons of his tenure.

McCoy saw out the end of the original run with 1989's Survival, the last regularly airing Doctor Who story until Rose, which aired in 2005. He later reprised the role in the 1996 one-off, Doctor Who, in which the Doctor regenerated into his eighth incarnation, portrayed by Paul McGann.

Although previous actors have reprised their incarnations for various specials (TV: The Five Doctors, TV: Time Crash for example), McCoy is the only actor to portray the "current" Doctor in a broadcast television adventure over a span of 10 years.

At 5'6", he remains the shortest man to play the Doctor.


Although McCoy only appeared on television as the Doctor for three extremely abbreviated series, his Doctor was treated as the "current" one from his debut in Time and the Rani in 1987 to his regeneration scene in Doctor Who in 1996 by many fans and organisations. According to this line of thought, McCoy's Doctor, therefore, lasted for nine years, outlasting Tom Baker's seven-year run as the Fourth Doctor. However, he does not hold the title of "longest-serving current Doctor" by the same reasoning, a title held by Paul McGann despite having only appeared on television for the TV movie and the mini-episode The Night of the Doctor, together totalling only 96 minutes of screen time.

Sylvester McCoy 2008

Sylvester McCoy in 2008.

McCoy has remained an active supporter of the franchise from 1987 to the present. In addition to the 1996 telemovie, he also returned for the 1993 charity special, Dimensions in Time, and in a short segment for British educational television called, Search Out Space.

He appeared in several independent, Doctor Who-inspired productions by BBV Productions, starting with The Airzone Solution where he was reunited with many fellow Doctor actors in an unrelated sci-fi plot. He also appeared in an antagonistic role in the first P.R.O.B.E. film opposite Caroline John's returning Liz, and starred in the The Time Travellers audio series as a "Professor" character highly similar to his Doctor alongside Sophie Aldred as a slightly different Ace. In self-parody of this and other "pseudo-Doctors", he headlined BBV's spoof direct-to-video film, Do You Have a Licence to Save this Planet?, in which he played a "Chrono-Duke" called the Chiropodist.

He also reprised the role of the Doctor for the animated webcast Death Comes to Time, the first made-for-internet Doctor Who story. He has also reprised the role of the Seventh Doctor multiple times a year for Big Finish Productions since the company's gaining of a Doctor Who license. Like most other "Doctor actors" that have been involved with the company, he has made far more appearances as the Doctor on audio than on television.

Post-Doctor Who career[]

McCoy's more recent roles have included Michael Sams in the 1997 telemovie Beyond Fear, shown on the first night of broadcast of Channel Five.

He has also acted extensively in theatre in productions as diverse as pantomime and Molière. He played the role of Snuff in the macabre BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Cabaret of Dr Caligari, and The Fool in a Stratford production of King Lear by the Royal Shakespeare Company, opposite Sir Ian McKellan.

When the news of David Tennant leaving Doctor Who was announced and quickly spread, Sylvester McCoy said in an interview that he believed Andrew Sachs (best known for his role as Manuel in Fawlty Towers, who had appeared in the Shada webcast) would be best for the role. Regardless he approved of the casting of Matt Smith and has recited Smith's famous speech from The Pandorica Opens at conventions.

Recently, in "The Lollipop Man", an episode of the medical soap opera Doctors, McCoy played the role of Graham Capelli, a retired actor best known for playing the title character in a 1980s children's television character similar to the Doctor. The role was written as a tribute to McCoy. The episode featured several references to Doctor Who.

McCoy was attached to play Governor Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl when Steven Spielberg was attached to direct it in the early 90s, Disney didn't give permission for the film to be made then. When the movie was greenlit the role was played by Jonathan Pryce.

In 2010 McCoy was announced to play the part of the wizard Radagast in the three-part movie adaptation of The Hobbit.

He portrayed the Witch Prime in the Minister of Chance series of audio dramas.

In 2013, Sylvester and his co-star Sophie Aldred partnered up for the Doctor Who edition of the game show "Pointless Celebrities". Later the same year he also appeared as himself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, in which he and fellow actors Peter Davison and Colin Baker attempt to appear in the 50th Anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor.


Sylvester has a son Sam Kent-Smith who is an artist and was a 3D artist for the Doctor Who video game Return to Earth.[2]

Sam also made an uncredited cameo as a Haemovore in The Curse of Fenric.[3]


As the Seventh Doctor


Doctor Who[]



Doctor Who[]

Tales of the TARDIS[]

The Collection[]


Doctor Who Main Range[]

Special Releases[]

The Lost Stories[]

The Sixth Doctor Adventures[]

The Seventh Doctor Adventures[]

Novel Adaptations[]

Classic Doctors, New Monsters[]

Once and Future[]

Doom Coalition[]

The Companion Chronicles[]

The Diary of River Song[]

The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield[]

The Eighth of March[]


As the Witch Prime


The Minister of Chance[]

Other Roles




BBV Productions[]


Doctor Who Main Range[]

AUK Studios[]

The Time Travellers[]

Documentary appearances[]

to be completed

Audio commentries[]

External links[]