Sylvester McCoy

From Academic Kids

Sylvester McCoy (born August 20, 1943) is a Scottish actor. He is best known for playing the seventh incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who from 1987 to 1989, and in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie.

Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor
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Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor

He was born Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith in Dunoon, Scotland.

He came to prominence as a member of the comedy act "The Ken Campbell Roadshow". His best known act was as a stuntman character called "Sylveste McCoy", whose stunts included putting a fork up his nose and stuffing ferrets down his trousers. As a joke, the programme notes listed Sylveste McCoy as played by "Sylvester McCoy", and after a reviewer missed the joke and assumed that Sylvester McCoy was a real person, Kent-Smith adopted this as his stage name. Notable television appearances before he gained the role of the Doctor included roles in Vision On and Tiswas. McCoy also portrayed in one man shows on the stage two famous movie comedians, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton.

He took over the lead role of Doctor Who in 1987, taking over from Colin Baker, and remained the lead until the series was shelved in 1989 (see List of Doctor Who serials). He played the Doctor in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time, and again in 1996, appearing in the Doctor Who television movie where he handed the role over to Paul McGann. In his first season, McCoy, a comedy actor, portrayed the character with a degree of clown-like humour, but script editor Andrew Cartmel soon changed that. The Seventh Doctor developed into a much darker figure than any of his earlier incarnations, manipulating people like chess pieces and always seeming to be playing a deeper game. McCoy generally approved of this, as it allowed him to play more of a dramatic role.

Although McCoy only appeared as the Doctor for three seasons (plus the telemovie), fandom treated him as the "current" Doctor from 1987 to 1996. Accordingly, some consider him to have beaten Tom Baker's seven year record as the Doctor, although by this criterion McCoy's record would ultimately be beaten by Paul McGann who would be identified as the current Doctor from 1996 until 2005, a nine-year period.

His television roles since Doctor Who have included the villain in the 1997 telemovie Beyond Fear. He has also returned to play the Seventh Doctor in a series of audio plays by Big Finish Productions.

He has also acted extensively in theatre. He played the role of Snuff in the macabre BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Cabaret of Dr Caligari.


Preceded by:
Colin Baker
The Doctor
1987–1989
Succeeded by:
Paul McGann

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