Ex-Doctor Who star Paul McGann is joining the cast of BBC1 medical drama Holby City to play a charming new surgeon.

McGann will begin filming this August in his new role as Professor John Gaskell, who arrives just as the hospital is in the midst of a crisis.

Said a spokesperson: "Gaskell will arrive as the saviour of the hour, armed with a programme of surgical innovations  - taking the hospital into an exciting but unknown future."

The 57-year-old actor originally came to prominence portraying Percy Toplis in the controversial 1986 BBC drama The Monocled Mutineer before going on to star in the 1987 comedy Withnail & I opposite Richard E Grant. 


Paul McGann with Richard E Grant in Withnail & I

But he is now perhaps best known for being the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the 1996 TV movie Doctor Who, a part he went on to reprise in a series of audio dramas and during the show's 50th anniversary celebrations.

On the topic of his latest role, McGann said: "I'm really excited to be joining Holby. Professor John Gaskell is certainly going to be an interesting character and I can't wait to get started on the wards."


Paul McGann in the Doctor Who mini episode The Night of the Doctor 

Oliver Kent, Head of Continuing Drama for BBC Scripted Studios, added: “I am utterly thrilled that the brilliant Paul McGann has agreed to join the cast of Holby City as Professor John Gaskell.

"I’ve admired Paul’s work for many years on stage, screen and radio and it’s a dream come true that he is joining our company.

"In his hands, John Gaskell will be a mercurial force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see him locking horns with Jac, Hanssen, Griffin and the other Holby titans.”

Holby City viewers can expect McGann to appear on screen from December.