Deadwater Fell and The Terror star Matthew McNulty is coming to Doctor Who
Sometimes the field of British acting can seem like a small world. It’s less than a week since John Barrowman returned to Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness, at the very same moment he was judging celebrity skaters over on ITV. And this Sunday Matthew McNulty will guest star in Praxeus as astronaut Adam Long, fresh from tonight’s climax of Deadwater Fell. But perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising. McNulty’s twenty year career is distinguished by constant business. So his finally guesting on Doctor Who, and being busy on other projects at the same time, was almost inevitable.
He spent an initial few years making the rounds of the likes of Emmerdale and Doctors. But he got his first major break in 2008’s comedy drama Honest. There he played the eldest son of a family of professional criminals trying to go straight, with Sean Pertwee’s skeptical police detective waiting in the wings for them to mess up. Sally Wainwright’s hard hitting drama Unforgiven swiftly followed. McNulty featured as a man obsessed with revenge against his father’s killer, Suranne Jones (The Doctor’s Wife). And by Five Days, again opposite Jones, as a man adopting an abandoned baby with a dangerous past.
McNulty has played a series of brooding hard men in major dramas
McNulty made the leap to nationally known star with The Syndicate. The incredibly popular 2012 drama saw his character Stuart dealing with the consequences of robbing the shop where he works, ironically the day before he and his co-works (including Torchwood’s Kai Owen and Day of the Doctor’s Joanna Page) won the lottery. From there he developed a reputation for playing broody, conflicted men. Sometimes as good men with a dark side, others as villains with hidden layers. The BBC adaptation of Jamaica Inn might be best remembered for it’s mumbled West Country accents, but McNulty provides an unmistakable presence as Jem Merlyn, simmering with dangerous sex appeal. While The Mill placed him in the role of a downtrodden Mill worker pushed to his limits. Across two seasons we followed his battle against the uncaring and exploitative owners.
The roles in high profile dramas continued over the next few years. Following Peter Capaldi’s departure from The Musketeers to join some other show, McNulty became the new big bad – the vicious criminal underworld boss Lucien Grimaud. The Bay saw him as a suspect in the web of mystery surrounding the abduction of a pair of twins. While he was also a significant supporting character in The Terror, the atmospheric horror series about a ice-locked ship being stalked by a monster.
It’s a big weekend as both Doctor Who: Praxeus and the finale of Deadwater Fell hit our screens
Which takes us up to the present day and both Deadwater Fell and his Doctor Who episode Praxeus. The former has been gripping audiences for the past month. Did David Tennant’s Tom Kendrick really murdered his wife and children? Michael McNulty’s sergeant Steve Campbell finds the investigation complicated not only by his friendship with Tom’s family, but the discovery that Tom had slept with his own girlfriend.
Meanwhile, Doctor Who has cast him as Adam Lang in Praxeus. The story picks up where Fugitive of the Judoon left off, with the TARDIS team investigating mysterious connected events around the globe. But how is Lang involved? Is he friend or foe? Perhaps it’s significant that, despite being such a well known actor, McNulty’s completely absent from the publicity photos released. After all, twice this season guest stars have gotten similar treatment. And they were Sacha Dhawan in Spyfall Part One and Jo Martin in Fugitive of the Judoon…
Doctor Who continues at 7.10pm next Sunday on with Praxeus
What connects a missing astronaut in the Indian Ocean, birds behaving strangely in Peru and a US naval officer who washes up on a Madagascan beach? Team Tardis investigate.
Starring Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham), Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Tosin Cole (Ryan). Praxeus guest stars Warren Brown (Jake Willis), Matthew McNulty (Adam Lang), and Molly Harris (Suki Chen). Written by Chris Chibnall and Pete McTighe (Kerblam!) and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone (Spyfall Part One, Fugitive of the Judoon).