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Give Him a Break!--2002

 
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Rollyb



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 302
Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:13 pm    Post subject: Give Him a Break!--2002 Reply with quote

Give Him a Break!
Jayne Dowle. The Times. London (UK): Apr 13, 2002. pg. Play.5

He may still cause a flutter in women of a certain age, but Paul McGann has never fulfilled his potential, says Jayne Dowle.

You have to be a woman aged approximately 35 to appreciate fully the effect that Paul McGann first had on the nation in 1986. To us, he is for ever The Monocled Mutineer, a uniformed lust object, especially for A level history students. He achieved this despite playing a character called Percy (Toplis). Percy, though, commandeered a band of soldiers to mutiny in true lions-led-by- donkeys style, and McGann was tall, blond, blue-eyed and Liverpudlian, at a time when Liverpool was enjoying one of its periodic moments of cool.

It was fitting that he consolidated his reputation the following year in one of the cult movies of the Eighties, Withnail and I, playing Peter Marwood, the "I" to Richard E. Grant's Withnail. Boys fantasised about being as cynical and clever as Grant and practised rolling their Camberwell Carrots. Girls just fantasised about McGann, especially when it transpired that he had three equally handsome brothers. As Grant pointed out: "Women love the McGanns, while my admirers are mostly old men in trenchcoats."

That the name Paul McGann still raises a frisson of excitement is no surprise. But what has he done to deserve it? He hasn't been fashionable for about 15 years, yet such was the impact of his early successes that he is still a by-word for brooding intensity the English way. Or, as he demonstrated in 1995's potato famine drama The Hanging Gale, in which he appeared with brothers Joe, Stephen and Mark, the Irish way.
McGann's career seems to have been dogged by bad luck. His roles in Empire of the Sun (1987) and Alien3 (1993) ended up mostly on the cutting room floor. He ruptured his knee while filming ITV's Sharpe in 1994 and lost the lead to Sean Bean.

As an actor McGann is an oddity, but he has never been out of work for long. He is picky about the work that he chooses. Yet he has never become the huge star that he promised to be. He is rather bland looking now, a well-preserved version of any dad down the DIY store, but there is a dark, slightly twisted quality that contributes to the mystique. He admits himself: "Whenever there's a fixation, the phone rings for me."
Despite maintaining that he came out of RADA with a stronger Scouse accent than the one he went in with, he has eschewed the tortured tough- nut roles favoured by Christopher Eccleston. He hasn't, like Hugh Grant, attempted a serious assault on Hollywood, citing family life in Bristol as being more important to him. His main shot at transatlantic success, the title role in Doctor Who (1996), fizzled out. Well received here, the joint BBC-Universal Pictures-funded pilot bombed in America, and the planned series never happened.

He could have settled for joining the legions of jobbing "know his face, can't place his name" thesp-lites who litter television mini-series. Yet, unlike his brothers (Joe appears in Night and Day, Stephen was in Emmerdale and Mark recently popped up in the Kenneth Branagh vehicle Shackleton), McGann seems to have found more satisfaction in edgier work, with predictably mixed results.

He has done the rounds, playing Marcus Bannerman in The Grand, ITV's historical saga set in a Manchester hotel. But he also portrayed a mystical Arthur Wright, the father whose two girls believe that they have found evidence of fairies in the film Fairytale: A True Story (1997), and more recently he has been a history professor with a sideline in nasty retribution (in BBC One's Sweet Revenge). His latest role, all 15 or so minutes of it, is in Queen of the Damned (see review, opposite), as a vampire expert, in the style of a character out of an old Hammer film. He doesn't look comfortable.

An interviewer once asked McGann if he wished that he had been born at a different period in history. "Any one in which there was an indigenous British film industry," he replied. "Because people like me would be definitely more suited to that -working close to home, helping to tell our own stories." McGann's frustration was plain. And you can't help thinking that with his combination of looks, regional cred and classical grounding, he would have definitely given Tom Courtenay or Alan Bates a run for their money. It's our loss, and his.
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Grace



Joined: 11 Feb 2006
Posts: 472
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He has done the rounds, playing Marcus Bannerman in The Grand, ITV's historical saga set in a Manchester hotel.


*shakes head disdainfully*

Shame, shame! Do your research, people! Or better yet, hire me to do your research for you. Very Happy
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Teri



Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 473
Location: Sussex, WI USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couldn't you just-- Evil or Very Mad Mad write her a letter or something?? Laughing

It is so annoying! What do these people write this stuff five minutes before deadline after a night of binge drinking?

It's kind of important to get the facts comprising the 'tentpoles' of your piece straight. Confused
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Teri



Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 473
Location: Sussex, WI USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: Give Him a Break!--2002 Reply with quote

And another thing...

Quote:
He is rather bland looking now, a well-preserved version of any dad down the DIY store,

Exsqueeze me?? 'Bland'??? Shocked

Well if those are the kind of men that are hangin' around the DIY store, I just remembered a slew of home-improvement projects I really should be getting to right about now... Cool

Who writes this stuff anyway? I think most would agree that Paul has improved with age, if that's even possible. Like Jo (Blackhound) says, he's a portraitist's dream--he's got more character and interesting planes to his face than Jellie Bellies has flavors.

Tsk. Rolling Eyes
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Down East



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Location: Maine & CT, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only line worthwhile in her pointless article is:

>And you can't help thinking that with his combination of looks, regional cred and classical grounding, he would have definitely given Tom Courtenay or Alan Bates a run for their money.<

Well...doh!

But really, what was her point? She didn't seem to be know much about what she was saying....just tossing out remarks and getting paid for them. Shocked

She looked at the IMDB list, and at the time it listed The Grand, and she looked no further.
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