(born 14 November 1959) is an English actor who made his name on the BBC serial The Monocled Mutineer
, in which he played the lead role. He's also known for his role in Withnail & I
, and for portraying the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie
and subsequent Big Finish Doctor Who
audio plays, along with a brief appearance in the revived series.
Despite his extremely brief on-screen tenure in Doctor Who
, his Doctor is well-loved due to his being a connecting thread during Who
's cancellation years; his comic series and audio adventures have quite a large fandom. Starting in 2008, he stopped being a regular in the monthly episodes and started starring in his own separate Big Finish Doctor Who
series The New Eighth Doctor Adventures
Tropes associated with this actor include:
- British Accents: Scouse, which is notably very different from his received pronunciation portrayal of the Doctor. His Scouse seeped into his RP over time, leading the Eighth Doctor to have a rather unique accent that's been well received.
- Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: His deep, soothing voice has led him to narrate documentaries on uncomfortable and/or frightening subjects.
- Cuddle Bug: Ask anyone who's ever hugged him at a convention. He's usually stroking your hand and kissing your face before you even realise what's happening.
- Evil Is Hammy
- Mr. Fanservice: Almost every movie he's in casts him as a lust object.
- The Rainbow pushed the trope to its natural limit by having him frolick naked through the woods.
- Withnail & I could easily just have been called "Paul McGann Is Almost Naked A Lot".
- He spends his first ten minutes as the Eighth Doctor wearing nothing but a sheet.
- Lampshaded a bit in a Big Finish episode where, despite it being a sound-only medium, he still manages to lose his shirt. Twice.
- Horatio Hornblower: He's not the only one Mr Fanservice is this series, but his Mr Bush tends to get wet a lot and has some glorious Shirtless Scenes.
- He appeared◊ in the Doctor Who after-credits behind the scenes feature to wish the show a happy fiftieth birthday◊... Which he then followed up with a kiss◊ while looking seductively at the screen. Woof.
- Old Shame: A mild one, but don't bring up the wig he wore for his role as the Eighth Doctor for the TV movie, he hated wearing that wig.
- Older Than They Look: Time has been very kind to him between the Doctor Who movie (mid-30s) and the present◊ (early 50s).
- Scully Box: In an interview in which he was asked how tall he is, he mentioned that he ends up standing on boxes often enough.
"Five feet nine. Quite little, really. From a squat tribe, you see. My brothers (and sister) are all taller than me, as are most of the actresses I'm required to smooch. At such times they usually stand me on a box. Sort of keeps your feet on the ground, paradoxically."
- Wag the Director: Positive example in Big Finish. He pushed for a new look for his Doctor, based on World War I-era navy clothes, as well as a World War I storyline.
- What Beautiful Eyes: No matter what he's in, it's almost a guarantee his blue eyes will get at least one close-up.
- What Could Have Been:
- He was cast as Sharpe, but broke his leg before filming could start. Had he not broken his leg, Lt. Bush would have been played by someone else. He also auditioned for Robin in Robin of Sherwood but was deemed too short.
- General consensus in the Doctor Who fandom is he could have been a fantastic screen Doctor if he'd only been given some decent material to work with, an opinion that The Night of the Doctor certainly did nothing to debunk.
- Fans originally assumed that the Eighth Doctor was the one who fought in the Great Time War and were hoping to see him again and at least get closure and a regeneration scene. Understandable, as both the Eighth Doctor novels and the Big Finish audio series give him loads and loads of character development where he becomes Darker and Edgier due to the many traumatic adventures he's had. Also, Paul McGann does not have one of the limitations that has for the most part made return by other surviving pre 2005 Doctors difficult. He still looks very much like his 1996 self. One of the Audio drama covers even had a photoshoot of him with a different costume to reflect the evolution of his character. However, producer Steven Moffatt decided that fans who remembered the charming, romantic, cheerful, eternally bright and optimistic Eighth Doctor either wouldn't buy (or accept) his transformation into a darker, more violent character. Thus leading to Night Of The Doctor where we still get to see a more haggard, hopeless Eighth Doctor regenerate into the War Doctor as played by John Hurt.