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Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy addresses BBC pay complaint: 'The money was terrible'

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Sylvester McCoy, 77, made headlines back in the 80s after he made a complaint about his salary at BBC while he was playing the seventh Doctor in hit sci-fi series Doctor Who. His grievance was splashed across the front pages at the time but in a recent interview McCoy addressed how his concerns at the time faded away with the success of the show.

He was cast in the long-running TV series in 1987, where he starred as the Time Lord for two years until the final episode of the original run.

But he noted the money back than at the Beeb wasn’t good.

“The money was terrible at the BBC in those days,” he recalled.

“I complained about it to someone and it became a tabloid headline, ‘Doctor Who complains about his wages.’”

But he came round to the idea that the role would set him up for life.

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“A little later, the producer’s boyfriend came up to me and said, ‘The money’s not good, but think of it as fat dripping off a pig.’

McCoy added mischievously: “He wasn’t wrong; it’s been dripping ever since.”

It’s also remained one of the shows he’s best known for, but he doesn’t seem to mind still being associated to one of the most successful TV franchises in the world.

“Some actors try to get away from Doctor Who once they’ve left,” he shrugged.

“But you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well embrace it.

And even now, 25 years on, McCoy revealed he still tunes in from time to time.

Series 13 of Doctor Who is set to premiere this year, after creators announced a 10 month long filming hike had begun in November 2020.

Jodie Whittaker currently stars as the 13th Doctor, the first female lead to take over the role.

But like her many predecessors, the 38-year-old told bosses she intends to stick to the traditional rule of leaving after three stints in the TARDIS and revealed she will step down at the end of series 13.

McCoy admitted that at first, he wasn’t sure about the casting of a female in a male dominated role, but his concerns vanished after five minutes of watching her.

“My only criticism now is the overuse of the sonic screwdriver; it makes it too easy for the Doctor to get out of trouble,” he exclaimed to Radio Times.

“I didn’t have one – I only had an umbrella – which is maybe why I’m not so keen on it!”

McCoy’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

Doctor Who series 13 will return later this year.



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