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The Doctor Is In The House

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The seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, celebrates Dr Who's 50th birthday, writes Fiona Purdon

AS ONE of the original Doctor Who actors, Sylvester McCoy admits envying the glossy sets and high production values of the 21st century rebooted series.

McCoy starred as the seventh incarnation of the Doctor in Dr Who, which turns 50 this year after first airing on the BBC in 1963. He played the role for three seasons, from 1987-89.

He says that the budget was so tight that the show was still using props from the 1960s. He says the Doctor's travelling machine the TARDIS was so dilapidated he thought it might fall apart.

"There's a big bit of jealousy with the great sets. We had to make do with sets from the 1960s because the BBC didn't want to spend any money," McCoy says.

"But today's actors haven't got the luxury we had of having four episodes to tell a story. They have the one bang, so the story is over faster. They've got all that technology but I'm glad we got the opportunity to explore the character and storylines."

McCoy is a fan of the three actors who have starred as the Doctor since the show was rebooted in 2005 - Christopher Eccleston (2005), David Tennant (2006-2010) and Matt Smith (2010-present).

"They've all been so different and exciting. Chris was dangerous and interesting, David Tennant was glamorous and a pin-up and Matt Smith makes you really believe he is a 950-year-old humanoid alien," McCoy says.

McCoy does agree with original director Waris Hussein that Smith's Doctor has overstepped the mark with romance blooming between the alien and his new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman).

"I only heard those comments from Waris Hussein today and other Doctors including Paul McGann, Colin Baker and I all agreed that the latest Doctor was a bit too sexy," McCoy says. "He's an alien. Dr Who doesn't need it."

McCoy could not be happier that Dr Who not only returned but is thriving with new generations of fans. He says the show was popular even when it was axed in 1989.

"It wasn't cut for economic reasons because it made enough money. In those days the BBC were not as commercially savvy, they were bumbling amateurs at selling it," McCoy says.

"I knew it would come back. I had got to know the audience and fans and it was a ridiculous decision. I knew instinctively it was a terrible mistake. I thought: 'How could you kill off something like this?'. I was right."

McCoy says it was fans that kept the show alive, led by production company Big Finish which started producing Dr Who audio dramas, featuring the original Doctors, a decade ago.

"It's a great privilege to have played one of the Doctors," McCoy says.

He has become friends with the other actors who have played the Doctor and they feel honoured to be part of an elite club.

Doctor Who, series seven, starring Matt Smith, ABC1, Sunday, 7.30pm; Doctor Who episodes with Sylvester McCoy, UKTV, Sundays in July as part of 11 Months, 11 Doctors, 50 Years of Doctor Who.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Purdon, Fiona (2013-04-20). The Doctor Is In The House. The Courier Mail p. 18.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Purdon, Fiona. "The Doctor Is In The House." The Courier Mail [add city] 2013-04-20, 18. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Purdon, Fiona. "The Doctor Is In The House." The Courier Mail, edition, sec., 2013-04-20
  • Turabian: Purdon, Fiona. "The Doctor Is In The House." The Courier Mail, 2013-04-20, section, 18 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Doctor Is In The House | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_Is_In_The_House | work=The Courier Mail | pages=18 | date=2013-04-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Doctor Is In The House | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_Is_In_The_House | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 October 2019}}</ref>