We hope today’s birthday boy gets a new pair of shoes that fit perfectly. Wishing many happy returns to Paul McGann, The Eighth Doctor!

Crack out the celebratory jelly babies: actor Paul McGann turns 57 today! Though McGann is most famous for his role in Doctor Who, he first became a household name in dark comedy Withnail and I (1987). Before stepping aboard the TARDIS, McGann was also cast as Richard Sharpe in the 1993 TV series Sharpe. However, fate had other ideas for his involvement in the show. McGann injured his knee before filming and was unable to continue with the project. Famously, Sean Bean replaced him in the role and went on to become a household name himself.

“Physician, heal thyself…”
Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) - Doctor Who TV Movie
Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) – Doctor Who TV Movie

In 1996, McGann became The Eighth Doctor in the ill-fated Doctor Who TV movie. Though the film itself was a failed and often criticised pilot, there was one thing fans were unanimous on. Everyone loved The Eighth Doctor, despite McGann having such a short on-screen tenure. To have made such a profound impression in a small space of time is testament to his performance. Demand for more Eighth Doctor adventures led to over 70 audio dramas. To the delight of many, McGann even reprised his role on screen in 2013 minisode The Night of the Doctor for the show’s 50th anniversary. Unsurprisingly, there are now calls from fans for a fully-fledged Eighth Doctor mini-series.

Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor - Doctor Who The Night of the Doctor (c) BBC
Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor – Doctor Who The Night of the Doctor (c) BBC

McGann’s Doctor was another younger regeneration, a heroic and charming Time Lord. His incarnation pioneered the way for the modern Doctors to come. As well as ushering in a more cinematic style, he was also the first Doctor to kiss his companion. Certainly, something that would become more and more common as the years went on!

St Pierre (PAUL MCGANN) and Pauline (LAURA HADDOCK) - The Musketeers Series 3 Episode 4 The Queen's Diamonds (c) BBC
St Pierre (PAUL MCGANN) and Pauline (LAURA HADDOCK) – The Musketeers Series 3 Episode 4 The Queen’s Diamonds (c) BBC

Since his time on Doctor Who, McGann has continued to appear in several TV drama series. He has had roles in Jonathan CreekLuther and The Musketeers to name just a few. Or, for those craving a little more of him in the Whoniverse, he could also be seen in 2013’s The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

It’s clear that Paul McGann has a great fondness for Doctor Who. In turn, its fans have a great fondness for him and his portrayal of the Time Lord. Whether we’ll ever see him again on screen remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain: we would like to wish Paul a very happy birthday, and hope you will join us in doing so. Three cheers for the Eighth Doctor – hip, hip, Who-rray!



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