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Interview in Vortex Magazine - April 2009

 
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scribble



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:19 pm    Post subject: Interview in Vortex Magazine - April 2009 Reply with quote

Below is the link to Vortex, The Big Finish Magazine, April 2009 issue.
There's lots of Big Finish related articles to enjoy and a great interview with Paul is found in pages 10 and 11 that was conducted in October 2, 2008.

To view, go to page 10/11 and click on the "1:1 actual size" button on the top of the page, then drag the page around.
http://vortexmag.com/magazine/VM-02/default.html

INTERVIEW
PAUL McGann


Itís eight years since Paul McGann made his debut at Big Finish, playing the Eighth Doctor in Storm Warning. Many, many stories down the line his Doctor is now paired with Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller, and their brilliant partnership is enjoying another season of new adventures. These new episodes can be downloaded each Saturday night at 6pm, only from bigfinish.comÖ

Vortex recently spoke to McGann, during the recording of OrbisÖ

What was your initial approach to Doctor Who?
Thatís perhaps best explained by my frustration that Iíd left the TV film with, and Ďthwarted possibilitiesí is probably the best way to describe it. The TV movie was a pilot, so the possibility was there that we might get to make a series and, should it be successful, Iíd go on and examine all these different ways of playing this character and these adventures that weíd talked about. I say we Ė me and Phil Segal, the producer Ė and it never happened.

So I felt frustrated. And when the audios came along, it was simply a chance to address that, not right that wrong, but do exactly what weíre doing now. And of course with audio the possibilities are even more immediate. That is, the possibilities for different interpretations, because youíre not hampered by having to look the part, get in the gear and all that protean skill you need as a visual actor; you can just turn up and itís all in the voice. We can take the Doctor where we like.

So the appeal is the fact that we can take these audio adventures in so many different directions?
Thatís its main attraction and its greatest strength, certainly from where Iím sat. Itís what finally persuaded me it was worth doing because itís what you make of it, itís never-ending. Itís as multi-faceted as we are or certainly the actors that are playing it, the people who are writing it. Who knows where this is gonna be in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years.

We were just chatting outside in the corridor about Bill Hartnell and Barry [McCarthy], whoís in today, was talking about having seen the first episode; he remembers sitting watching the first episodes in the Sixties, and weíd been talking about how much has changed since then. The stories have changed, not just in their form, but also in their spirit over the decades. And perhaps Ė I donít wanna make extravagant claims for these stories, they are what they are, but perhaps they reflect us. The times that we live in. Thatís the beauty of this kind of fiction, isnít it?

Do you like the fact that you have Doctor Who on your CV?
If Iím honest I filled a CV in for something, for publicity purposes, only last week and I left Doctor Who off. I only say that because there were times when I donít need to mention it, or perhaps, well, letís be brutally honest, itís not so cool to mention it. It depends who Iím talking to. Sometimes itís the first thing I mention. It depends, it just depends. Because it takes all sorts.

Letís take you back to the very first stories you recorded with Big Finish Ė Storm Warning, Sword of Orion, The Stones of Venice and Minuet in Hell. They were made over a week in Bristol. What do you remember of that?
I donít remember a lot about the first wodge of them in Bristol except they came thick and fast. The Bristol lot mainly I remember Shada, perhaps because there was a kind of shift in the scope, in the scale, maybe they just spent more money or something on the story, but suddenly there were posh actors in. Iím not denigrating my friends here but it was that kind of thing. So qualitatively it was a bit different. And because the story was an old one; it was a Douglas Adams story, soÖ So thatís what I remember from those early Bristol days, but thatís five, six years ago now and my memoryís usually terrible about such things. I met my girlfriend at that time as well, I remember that. I have to say that or sheíll kill me. But thatís about it.

What have you learned about Doctor Who since first playing the role?
Iím still only coming to terms with it. Never having been a Doctor Who fan as a child; other than seeing them, I was never committed to them, and still Iím surprised year in, year out, at the involvement, the fervour, the zeal that the fans, the adherents, the people who are making the stories, and all these references, all this history, Iím still surprised at how complex and important it is. I say that genuinely, honestly, and every now and again Iím reminded because every now and again I ask, ĎWhy are we doing this like this?í and I need to be given a lesson, brought up to speed because I simply donít know, itís a gap, and that will continue. For me, anyway. Because Iím the slowest person in the room here in that regard.

Are you a fan of anything?
Iím a fan of plenty. Iím passionate about music; I couldnít live without music, for example. But fiction-wise, literature, though I adore and am passionate about, say, certain poetry, certain books, certain ideas, it might surprise you that Iím a very private individual, temperamentally. I have my own version of intellectual pursuits and it means a lot to me. I tend not to admit to a lot. I sound like some furtive idiot. For example, Iím not a sci-fi lover, I wasnít from the start. So perhaps I miss that passion for other worlds, other dimensions, that sort of scope and that magnitude of storytelling, thatís not my thing though I meet plenty of people whose thing it definitely is. Mine is more Earthbound than that; I prefer fiction, stories, probably more like I was describing before, things that are maybe rooted in our collective traits, simple, human, what makes as tick as human beings; I love a good novel. What do I love? What are my favourite novels? Iím reading James Joyceís Ulysses again right now and canít think that thereís a better novel written for 100 years. Iím passionate about that, but in my own way. I couldnít talk in a learned fashion about it. I have my own relationship with these things, and I get tongue tied. Iím not an intellectual, but Iím sure I have my own love for these things. I love The Great Gatsby. Perhaps Iím quite 20th Century in my tastes. I love David Bowie. I love Ted Hughes. I love Louise Brooks. Liverpool Football Club. Canít get away from that one. Silent movies. Thomas Tallis. William Shakespeare. Probably pretty catholic tastes really.

Youíve played so many roles in your career so far. Are there any that are milestones to you?
I canít separate the time that I had making something from the work itself. For me itís important. For example, the movie Withnail and I is now hugely popular, itís a film I was in 20 years ago. But because it was the first picture I was ever in, it was also the first picture for probably all of us who were in it except Richard Griffiths. I have a particular sentimental attachment to having done it because it was the culmination of an ambition: ĎIím in a movie! Fantastic!í Iíd wanted to be in a movie when I was a kid, and there we were in a movie. I was certainly proud of myself in the best way and being cock-a-hoop for having made it into a movie. Even if thereíd never been another one Iíd still have that.

The film happened to be a good film as well and thatís a kind of bonus. Thereís been times Ė I think a lot of performers would say the same thing Ė thereís been times when itís felt great, itís felt easy, it worked out, it was a hit, people liked it, and of course itís due to a combination of things, not all of them to do with you. But if I had to put my hand on my heart and perhaps mention the best things I think that I was ever involved in, it would be the earliest things. That one, Withnail, the First World War thing, The Monocled Mutineer, things that I did when I didnít know better. This is how I see it: things that I did when my enthusiasm for the job, for the game, for the craft, was perhaps more innocent.

Are you happy to keep talking about the roles that have stuck with you over time?
If you did it and you were happy to do it, provided you did it in kind of the right spirit, then you should be prepared to admit it, talk about it. Listen, itís horses for courses. I know some performers that donít wanna talk about them afterwards. Fair enough, people have different temperaments. Again, I can only speak for myself and personally; while weíve all been in a few dogs; just by the law of averages youíre gonna be in things which perhaps Ė well, how can we be kind Ė that perhaps didnít meet the standard that you may have imagined when you read the thing and when you first turned up on set; weíve all been in those things. The best thing that can be said is that few people get to see them to spare our embarrassment, but embarrassment certainly happens and you can only laugh about it; theyíre only pictures, itís only acting, you know?

Iím a private and kind of shy individual. Iím not the easiest person temperamentally, you wonít get me doing requests or regaling you with anecdotes or that sort of thing. But that said I donít hesitate to talk about work if people ask me about it. Itís good to engage with your audience; it teaches you a couple of things. Itís often surprising.

As someone who is shy, how do you feel about Doctor Who conventions?
I was wary of it to start with, through simple shyness, I hadnít a clue what it might be like except I imagined it would be scary to be in a roomful of people having to just make stuff up. Iím like most actors; Iím best when you give me a bunch of words to say, particularly if theyíre very good words. Iíll wear other peopleís clothes and say other peopleís words till the cows come home, but when you turn up in your own clothes and have to speak your own words, itís quite a different matter. We end up often tongue tied and embarrassed and Iím no different.

Is there anything youíd like to do with your Doctor at Big Finish that we havenít done yet?
Thatís a very good question. I wonder. Weíve taken him to places, and weíll take him to plenty more, but without labouring the point, the place that I keep coming back to and that personally Iím most interested in is the one here inside. Itís the Doctorís own psyche. What happens when this person is alone? How does this character live with himself? What is this characterís view of themselves? This is the world of the interior, and I tell you what, if you think that this present universe that we fly around in spacecraft is big, itís minuscule compared to that.


Last edited by scribble on Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tegan



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great find scribble
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msandusky



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though it was the April 2009 issue, I think it may be an old article that they just got around to publishing. He mentions his girlfriend and Shada (I assume Susannah Harker) and didn't they split in September 2008? Or, did I hear that wrong?
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scribble



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I think you're right that this is an older interview.Smile

Vortex Magazine interviewed him on Oct. 2, 2008, during the time BF recorded Orbis. IIRC, they split up sometime after this interview. Of course, I may be wrong Confused
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I thought I read somewhere.
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