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Time Lords' capital stop

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SYLVESTER McCoy has had a long career in film, theatre and television.

But for millions of fans, he will forever be known as the seventh Doctor Who on the long-running British science-fiction series. He, along with his predecessor Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor, will be coming to Canberra along with Katy Manning (who played Jo Grant) and long-time Doctor Who fan Tim Ferguson for Doctor Who -Inside the Tardis, a nostalgic evening for Whovians, next Tuesday at the Canberra Theatre.

McCoy's stint as the Doctor stretched from 1987 to 1996, making him technically the longest-serving actor in the part, although no new episodes were made between 1989 and 1996 (when he reprised the part), so the fourth doctor, Tom Baker, is still the longest continuously-serving Doctor (1974-81).

Far from shying away from the association, McCoy says he is "very proud" to have played the part. "I enjoyed doing it immensely," McCoy says.

He confesses to being "amazed" that Doctor Who has carried on as long as it has but thinks it "great it's come back with such force".

Part of the enduring appeal of the show, he thinks, is the central idea of "someone coming from outside our planet and helping mankind out".

"That story has a deep attraction for mankind, religions are based on it, it's one of the perennial stories. It's quite simple really," he says.

McCoy says he wanted to bring mystery and danger back to the character. He went to audition for the part wearing a hat which the producers loved.

"I said, 'If you want the hat, you get me with it'. If you want to get ahead, get a hat!" With comments like these, it's not hard to see why Ferguson describes McCoy as bringing a Groucho Marx-like quality to the role.

McCoy says he is the only actor to play two Doctor Who incarnations. Colin Baker was not available for the transformation scene (as Whovians know, the Doctor can regenerate, bringing about a complete change in his physical and mental state) so McCoy was given a wig and dressed in his predecessor's outfit.

"They lost me for three days in the costume -he's a very big man!" McCoy has been to Australia before, for a Doctor Who convention in Sydney, and says he fell in love with the city. This time, with an extensive tour of capital cities around the country, he says: "I'll see parts of Australia not even Australians see." Along with the others, he will be answering questions from the audience, hosting clips, taking part in a Doctor Who radio play live on stage, and acknowledging the audience's fascination with the series and the characters.

He says he is recognised a lot but again, doesn't seem to mind at all. "It's one of the nice things -people know Doctor Who and know the actors who play him." Unlike actors who play unsavoury characters in soaps like EastEnders, he says people don't see Doctor Who or the actors who play him in a bad light. "He's a much-loved character." McCoy says he's always found film and television "great fun to do -you're a jigsaw piece in a jigsaw puzzle", but he's also enjoyed being in opera, the circus, musicals, pantomimes and Shakespeare (he's played Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream twice, both as a young man and a much older one).

"I've had a very Catholic career. I love them all, I've enjoyed my career a lot. The only thing I don't do is ballet." Even so, it is undoubtedly the Doctor for which he will be remembered the longest and most fondly.

Doctor Who -Inside the Tardis is on at the Canberra Theatre, Tuesday, July 26, at 7.30pm.

Tickets: premium $79.90, A-reserve $64.90, B-reserve $54.90, full-time students $35, children under-14 $25, pensioners (A and B-reserve only) $35. Bookings: Canberra Ticketing 62752700 or

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2005-07-20). Time Lords' capital stop. The Canberra Times p. A3.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Time Lords' capital stop." The Canberra Times [add city] 2005-07-20, A3. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Time Lords' capital stop." The Canberra Times, edition, sec., 2005-07-20
  • Turabian: "Time Lords' capital stop." The Canberra Times, 2005-07-20, section, A3 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Time Lords' capital stop | url= | work=The Canberra Times | pages=A3 | date=2005-07-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Time Lords' capital stop | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>