Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Up against the Doc

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How Paul McGann had to be coaxed into becoming the eighth Doctor Who

Paul McGann had to be coaxed into becoming television's eighth Doctor Who.

But Eric Roberts - the brother of Pretty Woman star Julia - jumped at the chance of playing a Time Lord.

The American actor has been hooked on Doctor Who since he first saw the show during his student days in London.

And he went in hot pursuit of the role of Doctor Who's most deadly enemy, The Master.

Eric said: "I was at RADA in London in 1973 when I first saw Doctor Who.

"Everyone would sit around and watch. And we'd all say how awfully cheesy it was ... but we never turned it off."

So when the £3million revival of Doctor Who - a co-production between Universal and the BBC - was announced, Eric urged his agent to put him forward.

And he's delighted to have landed the role of The Master, the arch-villain who was originally played on TV by the late Roger Delgado.

Eric said: "I do so many terrible things. The most horrible is when I take people's good spirits and inject them with my sense of evil."

He teamed up with the new Doctor Who, Paul McGann, and Daphne Ashbrook, the Time Lord's first romantic interest, on location in Vancouver.

But 36-year-old Paul, who starred in The Monocled Mutineer and Withnail And I, wasn't easily convinced that he should follow in the time travelling footsteps of William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and co.

Paul said: "I kept saying there was no way I'd do it. But I decided in the end that it would be a hoot."

His old mate Sylvester McCoy, who was the last Doctor Who and who appears in this TV movie, told him to be prepared for some fans hating him.

SYLVESTER also said that many will see Paul's casting as the master of the Tardis as inspired.

Before starting work on this Doctor Who adventure, which will be screened on BBC1 as a Bank Holiday Monday special, Paul McGann underlined the importance of remaining faithful to the spirit of the series.

Paul grew up watching those first adventures of Doctor Who. And he still has very happy memories of his favourite Doctor, William Hartnell, who started the ball rolling back in 1963.

Paul said: "Nobody has come anywhere near him for me."

Despite his reservations about taking on the mantle of one of his childhood heroes, Paul is delighted at the way his version has worked out.

He said: "When I saw the finished film, I thought it looked amazing. It looks like a major movie."

Paul also revealed that being Doctor Who has already caused confusion for other members of the McGann clan.

Paul said: "The day it was announced that I had the job, someone came to my brother Joe in the street and congratulated him on being Doctor Who."

If this version is a success, then more Doctor Who adventures will follow.

And Paul added: "Even if it doesn't go any further and I end up being the George Lazenby of Time Lords, I'll have had a good time. And I'll still get asked to the Doctor Who conventions."

(Monday, BBC1 8.30pm)

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  • APA 6th ed.: Millar, John (1996-05-25). Up against the Doc. Daily Record p. 24.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Millar, John. "Up against the Doc." Daily Record [add city] 1996-05-25, 24. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Millar, John. "Up against the Doc." Daily Record, edition, sec., 1996-05-25
  • Turabian: Millar, John. "Up against the Doc." Daily Record, 1996-05-25, section, 24 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Up against the Doc | url= | work=Daily Record | pages=24 | date=1996-05-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Up against the Doc | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>