Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Sandy McDonald

Last updated 09 January 2020

Sandy McDonald (1937-2016)
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Alexander McDonald

Born: Friday 5th November 1937
Died: Thursday 17th March 2016 (age: 78)


Alexander "Sandy" McDonald is a Scottish retired minister. He served as a minister of the Church of Scotland, and was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1997-8).


McDonald was born in Bishopbriggs in 1937, the son of Jessie Helen Low and Alexander M. McDonald. He worked in the timber industry in the 1950s, prior to National Service in the Royal Air Force. He studied at the University of Glasgow before training for the ministry at Trinity College.

Following theological studies in the 1960s, his first position after completing his studies was in the rural Church of Scotland, in Longriggend, north Lanarkshire, he served as minister at St David's Parish Church, Bathgate (1968–1974), then at St Mark's Parish Church, Ralston (1974–1988) and then as General Secretary of the Church of Scotland's Board of Ministry until he retired in 2002. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1997–8. His formal title (following the end of his Moderatorial year) is The Very Reverend Dr Alexander McDonald.

Television career

In the early 1980s, he co-presented the Scottish Television religious magazine programme That's the Spirit! and was also interviewed on VIP, also an STV religious show. His role as Moderator of the Church of Scotland meant he was one of the public figures who led tributes to Princess Diana upon her death in 1997 in a BBC broadcast. In May 2008, he made a non-speaking cameo appearance in the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp", playing the part of a footman alongside his son. They also appeared together on an episode of celebrity Ready Steady Cook. He was one of the interviewees for his son's Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2015.

Personal life

McDonald was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2015. His wife Helen, daughter of former footballer Archie McLeod, died on 15 July 2007; they had a daughter, Karen, and two sons, Blair and David - the latter is better known as the actor David Tennant.


Biography originally from the wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA

Additional Details

BBC News, 17 Mar 2016 - David Tennant's father and ex-Kirk moderator Sandy McDonald dies

Church of Scotland, 17 Mar 2016 - Church pays tribute to former Moderator the Very Rev Dr Sandy McDonald

STV TV, 17 Mar 2016 - Former Kirk moderator and father of TV star David Tennant dies

Daily Mail, 17 Mar 2016 - Ex-Doctor Who star David Tennant's church leader father dies aged 78 after battling a degenerative lung disease

Mirror, 17 Mar 2016 - David Tennant's father dead at 78: Former Church of Scotland moderator Dr Sandy McDonald passes away

The National, 18 Mar 2016 - Sandy McDonald, former Church of Scotland moderator, father of David Tennant, has died aged 78