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Creator / Paul McGann

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"I'm not a sci-fi lover; I wasn't from the start. So perhaps I miss that passion for other worlds, other dimensions, that sort of scope and that magnitude of storytelling; that's not my thing though I meet plenty of people whose thing it definitely is."

Paul John McGann (born 14 November 1959 in Liverpool, England) 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. McGann finally got to canonically connect the dots between his Eighth Doctor and Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor via John Hurt's War Doctor seventeen years later in the minisode The Night of the Doctor.


His three brothers Stephen, Mark and Joe are also actors. Stephen is probably the best known, playing Dr. Turner on Call the Midwife. All four starred together as brothers in The Hanging Gale.

Tweets as @pauljmcgann.



Tropes associated with this actor's works include:

  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: His deep, soothing voice has led him to narrate documentaries on uncomfortable and/or frightening subjects. (Counting multiple-episode documentaries, he's narrated nearly a hundred.)
  • Evil Is Hammy: Whenever he plays a villain. A good example is the Doctor's evil Split Personality Zagreus from the Big Finish story of the same name.
  • 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.
  • Older Than They Look: Time has been very kind to him between the Doctor Who movie (mid-30s) and the present (late 50s). This allowed him to play the Doctor on screen 17 years after his first outing without much problem.
  • Old Shame:invoked 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. One of the reasons he got cast was the producers like his naturally curly mop top which he had for his roles in Withnail & I and The Hanging Gale (which according to Paul his role as Father Liam helped get him the part of the Doctor). Unfortunately he had to cut it for another role, so when he arrived in Vancouver to begin filming the makeup people hastily produced a wig to match his old look.
  • 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 the second choice for the role of James Bond in GoldenEye before the casting of Pierce Brosnan.
    • He was the first choice for the title character of the Sharpe TV series, but a broken leg meant the role went to Sean Bean.


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