Today In DOCTOR WHO History: August 20th - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Today In DOCTOR WHO History: August 20th

It's a big day for birthdays today in Doctor Who history...

Click on any red text to read our full retrospectives/reviews for that episode. All viewing figures are for UK premiere broadcasts unless otherwise stated.

August 20th
August 20th sadly doesn't bring with it any new episodes of Doctor Who receiving their premiere broadcast at any time throughout the show's long history, but what a day it is for Who-related birthdays.

Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and the late Anthony Ainley were all born on August 20th. Of course, the three of them appeared together in the final Doctor Who adventure from the classic years, Survival.

Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith was born on August 20th 1943. You likely know him better as Sylvester McCoy who played the Seventh Doctor from 1987 to 1989 and briefly returning in the television movie in 1996.

So you may well be wondering how Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith settled upon the stage name of Sylvester McCoy (you likely aren't wondering to be honest, but I'm going to tell you anyway). Before his Doctor Who days, Kent-Smith was part of the experimental theatre troupe "The Ken Campbell Roadshow" where his best known act was as a stuntman character called "Sylveste McCoy". He appeared in a play entitled An Evening with Sylveste McCoy (the name was coined by actor Brian Murphy, part of the Roadshow at the time), where his stunts included putting a fork and nails up his nose, stuffing ferrets down his trousers, and setting his head on fire. As a joke, the programme notes listed Sylveste McCoy as played by "Sylveste McCoy" and, after a reviewer missed the joke and assumed that Sylveste McCoy was a real person, Kent-Smith adopted this as his stage name. Some years later, McCoy added an "r" to the end of "Sylveste", in part because of the actors' superstition that a stage name with thirteen letters was unlucky.

So now you know.

Born August 20th 1962, Sophie Aldred's big break came when she was cast as Ace, initially just for Dragonfire but staying on as companion throughout the remainder of the Seventh Doctor's era.

Nowadays you're more likely to hear Sophie Aldred than see her as she voices numerous animated Bananas in Pyjamas, El Nombre, Peter Rabbit, Noddy in Toyland, The Magic Key and Dennis & Gnasher.

Born August 20th 1932, Anthony Ainley had some big shoes to fill when he took over (after a couple of crispy critters) the role of the Master opposite the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors. For a generation he is their Master.

Although Ainley had an extensive resume of roles on both the big and small screen before joining the Doctor Who family, reportedly the Master was the part he'd long coveted. In the commentary and documentary for The Mark of the Rani, both Colin Baker and Kate O'Mara say that "He only ever wanted to play the Master." Baker remarked that he could afford this luxury because he had built up a private income by the mid-1980s and had inherited a considerable sum of money from his father.

It sounds like, in many ways, Ainley lived and breathed the part 24/7, much like Tom Baker did as the Fourth Doctor during the 1970s. Script editor Eric Saward claimed that Ainley would introduce himself over the phone by saying "This is the Master" and then would laugh. In "Cat Flap - Making of Survival", Sylvester McCoy confirms that all he ever wanted to be is the Master, and he kept his role active, even not on set. "He was as scary off camera as he was on it."

Ainley reprised the role of the Master for the 1997 BBC computer game Destiny of the Doctors. It was to be his final appearance as the character before passing away at the age of 71 on May 3rd 2004.

Altogether now...

Join us again tomorrow for another round-up of the episodes broadcast, the spin-offs, the special events, the birthday's celebrated and anything else of note that went down on this day in Doctor Who history.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad