DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Sylvester McCoy

Last updated 27 July 2014

Sylvester McCoy - Image Credit: Chuck Foster
Image Credit: Chuck Foster (this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith

Born: Fri 20th August 1943 (age: 72)

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Sylvester McCoy was in Dunoon, Scotland on the Cowal peninsula, to an Irish mother and English father. 

His father was killed in the Second World War a couple of months before he was born, and he was brought up by his mother, his grandmother and aunts. 

McCoy joined Blair's College, a seminary in Aberdeen, and between the ages of twelve and sixteen trained to be a priest.

On finishing his education moved to London, working in the City for an insurance company. He stayed in this job until he was twenty-four before deciding that it wasn't really for him. 

While working in The Roundhouse theatre box office he was discovered by Ken Campbell who offered him a role as part of The Ken Campbell Roadshow. His best known act was as a stuntman character called "Sylveste McCoy" in a play entitled An Evening with Sylveste McCoy where his stunts included putting a fork and nails up his nose and stuffing ferrets down his trousers, and setting his head on fire.

 Notable television appearances before he gained the role of the Doctor included roles in Vision On (where he played Pepe/Epep, a character who lived in the mirror), an O-Man in Jigsaw and Tiswas. He also appeared in Eureka, often suffering from the inventions of Wilf Lunn. 

McCoy also portrayed, in one-man shows on the stage, two famous movie comedians: Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton. He also appeared as Henry "Birdie" Bowers in the 1985 television serial about Robert Falcon Scott's last Antarctic expedition, The Last Place on Earth. 

While starring at the National Theatre in "The Pied Piper", a musical play written especially for him, he learned that the BBC was looking for a new Doctor, following the departure of Colin Baker from the series.

McCoy became the Seventh Doctor in 1987, cast by producer John Nathan Turner, and remaining on the series until it was cancelled in 1989. He resumed the role in 1996 for the TV movie. 

McCoy's television roles since Doctor Who have included Michael Sams in the 1997 telemovie Beyond Fear, shown on the first night of broadcast of Five. He has also returned to play the Seventh Doctor in a series of audio plays by Big Finish Productions.He has acted extensively in theatre. 

He played Grandpa Jock in John McGrath's A Satire of the Four Estaites (1996) at the Edinburgh Festival. He played the role of Snuff in the macabre BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Cabaret of Dr Caligari. He appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a musical version of Robin Hood that featured songs by British composer and lyricist Laurence Mark Wythe at the Broadway Theater, Lewisham in London He also appeared as the lawyer Dowling in a BBC Production of Henry Fielding's novel, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. McCoy has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and in King Lear in 2007, playing the Fool to Ian McKellen's Lear.

 In May 2008 he performed with the Carl Rosa Company in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, playing the title role. He has made guest appearances in the television series The Bill, Rab C. Nesbitt Casualty. and the BBC soap opera Doctors, playing an actor who once played the time-travelling hero of a children's television series called The Amazing Lollipop Man. The role was written as a tribute to McCoy.

McCoy plays Radagast the Brown in the Peter Jackson Hobbit films.