Holby City star Paul McGann – The fuss over Jodie Whittaker’s casting on Doctor Who was silly

"In a year from now, everyone will be perfectly used to it"

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/11/2017 - Programme Name: Holby City  - TX: 05/12/2017 - Episode: Holby City - Series 19, ep 61 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, TUESDAY 28TH NOVEMBER, 2017* Professor John Gaskell (PAUL McGANN) - (C) BBC  - Photographer: Screengrab

Actor Paul McGann has revealed that he couldn’t understand the objections to Jodie Whittaker’s casting in the new series of Doctor Who.


“I think the fuss is soon going to look silly,” McGann commented to RadioTimes.com. “I’m certain that, in a year from now, everyone will be perfectly used to it and wondering what all the fuss was about.”

The star – who first played the eighth incarnation of the Time Lord in a 1996 TV movie – also admitted that he thought the introduction of a female Doctor should have happened a long time ago:

“People will realise that it was long overdue. Jodie Whittaker is the best person for the role. I thought Peter Capaldi was fantastic – perhaps the best ever, in my view. But once he decided to stand down, they would have been crazy not to cast a woman.”

Holby City

The 58-year-old actor will next be seen making his debut tonight on BBC1 medical drama Holby City, where his character – consultant neurosurgeon Professor John Gaskell – will soon be involved in a life or death emergency on the hospital wards.

“We get to see his technical acumen from the off because this crisis really establishes the character,” McGann explained. “He’s the hero of the hour. It’s important that someone comes in and saves the day.”

Holby City - Series 19, ep 61

But it seems that a lot of effort went in to making Gaskell appear heroic, especially when it came to learning the medical terminology: “It’s like an initiation ceremony, because you’re surrounded by all these Holby City regulars who’ve been through it themselves.

“And here’s me trying to get this dialogue out whole still trying to look cool. It took a few goes to get used to it. I’m not the most natural, but you only have to get it right once. And you get to look clever when you do!”

McGann also revealed that he’d be happy to swap a scalpel for a sonic screwdriver again should the opportunity arise to reprise the role of the Doctor.

Since that one-off outing in the mid-90s, he has appeared regularly in Doctor Who audio adventures and even got the chance to regenerate on screen in the 2013 mini episode The Night of the Doctor, made to coincide with the sci-fi series’ 50th anniversary.

Asked whether he’d take another trip in the Tardis, McGann said: “Absolutely. Especially if it was anything like what I did around the 50th. You’re always a part of it. And the show can always go sideways and backwards – they can do what they like.

“It’s not inconceivable that any of us who played that role could return and do some more, which is great.”


You can watch the trailer for this week’s two-part Holby City special below