Sylvester McCoy of Doctor Who
Interview with Sylvester McCoy of Doctor Who, and The Hobbit's- Radagast the Brown
By Song River
Whether playing, "The Fool" in King Lear's production, or the wizard known as- Radagast the Brown, in The Hobbit; the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, carries a sweet spot in our hearts. Such a diverse thespian with knowledge that spans the gamut of political savviness, to his various chameleon abilities of acting. He encompasses roles on stage, film, and television- while incorporating endearing renderings that mount the dramatic flair, to the comedic joviality... succinctly put, Mr. McCoy is without pretense- an actor with surpassing abilities.
Born in Dunoon, Scotland, birth name: Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith. he spent most of his childhood in Ireland, before moving to England. He studied to become a priest, and worked various jobs, acted as security for the Rolling Stones, joined the, Ken Campbell Roadshow, where he began his acting career performing plays alongside Bob Hoskins, Jane Wood, and Dave Hill, finally leading him to his true destiny as Sylvester McCoy, the actor. Mr. McCoy is in truth a multifaceted person with a heap of assorted layering.
"What is it that makes Sylvester McCoy a treasure? When one meets him immediately you know... it's that Twinkle in his eye, and a spark of ignited passion for his art."- Song River
It was during one of his most recent comic con tours, The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con stop, he and I were able to take a few moments and chat. He spoke of politics during the years of Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and how some of the decisions made during that time affected the actors, and other artists, as the political decision hit the arts financially. Not dwelling too long on her changes and their rippling affects, Mr. McCoy spoke fondly of his time as the Seventh Doctor, and of his two traveling companions, Mel, (Bonnie Langford), and Ace, aka Dorothy Gale McShane, (Sophie Aldred). He was quite proud of the fact that he was the favorite Doctor of director Peter Jackson, which led him to obtaining the role of Radagast the Brown, in The Hobbit. It was a bit of a wonky occurrence, as Mr McCoy had auditioned originally for the part of Bilbo, but it went instead to actor, Ian Holm. However, while traveling to New Zealand Mr. McCoy met Peter Jackson, and as he put it, "we got along well." At that time though, the director of The Hobbit was to be, Guillermo del Toro, and he wasn't familiar with Sylvester McCoy. Mr. McCoy auditioned for the part of Radagast and he landed it. Del Toro ended up leaving The Hobbit project as director, and Peter Jackson came in to direct it. The rest for the wizard is history.
"It was 1987, and I attended my very first panel as a guest in Atlanta, Georgia, it was late summer, and all I can say is- WOW! It was a heatwave, and these girls with curly wigs, big hats, scarves, long coats came to meet me. I remember ladies wearing leather chamois... I fell in love with conventions, and twenty-eight years later..."
Mr. McCoy went on, "One time I was asked to ride in a parade in Maine, they put me in 'Bessie' (Bessie was the Third Doctor's mode of transportation while exiled here on earth) and I had no idea what to do."
Mr. McCoy turned to me and asked, "Do you remember Ronald Reagan? He was a Hollywood actor before he was president. Well, I remember what he would do... he would point at people, wave, and smile... so I did the same thing. It worked."
(At this moment, with a sly grin, Mr. McCoy proceeds to point at a passer by, smiles, and waves. Response? A huge grin from the receiver).
Never lacking in performing, Mr. McCoy appears in a short film, directed by Andy Collier, released in August, called, The Seventeenth Kind. A production about strange sale items on late night cable, he plays the part of Rusty.
In post-production be looking for: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, When the Devil Rides Out, and Journey Bound.
In addition there is a new BBC TV comedy with a working title of, Crims, where Mr. McCoy portrays a one-eyed, wooden legged teacher in a prison, and if that wasn't enough to leave his fans feeling exhausted, this juggernaut in the world of acting will be in a play due out this September, an adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters.
Without question, Sylvester McCoy, is a ball of energy that reaches for the stars! An absolute delight of zeal and passion for his beloved profession. Above all, in truth an artist of the highest degree, and a thespian who brings life to all his beloved character roles.