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10 Things About... Paul McGann

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Earlier this month, Doctor Who history was made with the unveiling of the mini-episode 'The Night of the Doctor', which finally answered fans' questions about the fate of the eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann.

As the actor with the shortest run in Doctor Who, we had less of an opportunity to get to know him, so we thought it a good time to round up ten things you might not already know about Paul McGann.

Paul McGann returns as the eighth Doctor

Paul McGann returns as the eighth Doctor



1. Paul McGann was born in 1959 in Kensington, Liverpool. He was the third of six children to his teacher mother and metallurgist father. His three brothers, Joseph, Mark and Stephen, are also actors and have starred alongside Paul in the series The Hanging Gale as well as the TV film Catherine the Great.

2. It's not just acting that interests Paul, he's also a keen singer. In fact, having been heard singing in the TV series The Monocled Mutineer, he was invited to record vocals as part of the album Much Ado, based on the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. He and his brothers even formed a quartet together known, imaginatively, as The McGanns.



3. The role of Richard Sharpe in the Sharpe series, which made a star out of Sean Bean, was originally offered to Paul McGann. However, days into filming he injured his knee playing football and couldn't continue with the role, resulting in what became the largest insurance settlement in British TV history, of over £2 million. He may have lost the role but think of how many Sean Bean DVDs he could buy with that…

4. As you probably already know, Paul McGann is famous for playing the eighth incarnation of The Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, regenerating from Sylvester McCoy early in the film. What you might not know is that his brother Mark McGann also auditioned for the role, which we imagine made it slightly awkward for them the next time they sat down for Sunday lunch together.

5. One of Paul McGann's other most famous parts was as the titular "I" character in the British black comedy Withnail and I. During the film a driving double was needed for scenes where McGann was behind the wheel of a car, as he had only just passed his driving test and was still apparently shaky on the motorways.



6. McGann's first big role came in the TV series Give Us a Break in which he played the talented snooker player Mo Morris. The series also starred Robert Lindsay, who would go on to play the lead role Ben Harper in the BBC comedy My Family.

7. Don't ever say that Paul McGann isn't a versatile actor - when he's not playing a Time Lord or a snooker player, he has also been known to don a dog collar and play a vicar, as he did in the 2009 film Lesbian Vampire Killers alongside Mathew Horne and James Corden. Corden has since gone on to describe the film as a "pile of s**t" and "quite embarrassing". Let's face it, if even James Corden recognises a film as being "embarrassing" it might not be worth watching.

8. After a break of 17 years, Paul McGann resumed his role as The Doctor in a one-off mini-episode earlier this month as part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations. He's said that he'd be more than happy to resume his role as the Doctor in the future if he was asked, on the single condition that he "wouldn't have to wear a wig".



9. Controversially, before he landed the role of the Doctor, he confessed that he's not a sci-fi lover and only had a passing interest in Doctor Who as a child. "I prefer fiction, stories, things that are rooted in our collective traits," he explained in the past. We're not sure how well-received that news would be at a Doctor Who convention.

10. Despite having appeared in numerous television shows across his career, McGann revealed in an interview that he doesn't actually own a TV set. In 2012 he explained that he "just got out of the habit" of watching TV, and couldn't recognise any newsreaders. This also probably means that he's never seen an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians - the poor, poor man.

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