Sylvester McCoy, most recently seen as Radagast in The Hobbit trilogy, thrilled the audience at Big Finish Day 6 in Slough with intriguing anecdotes and witty responses to audience questions.
The audience were as keen to discuss all things Doctor Who as well as Hobbit related. The mood was set when Sylvester compared Hollywood blockbusters to buses: you wait your whole career for one and three come along all at once. He reprised the story of auditioning for Lord of the Rings, acting with Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear and spending a weekend with Peter Jackson as a protracted audition before landing the part of the rabbit friendly wizard. He also had plenty to say about being upstaged by CGI hedgehogs in the films.
Away from Middle Earth, Sylvester shared memories of his early days as the Doctor – in 1987 when he came to the part, he had little understanding of the series but a few stories in had an apotheosis when he realised the character of the Doctor has almost infinite variety and subtlety built in and this needed to be integrated into the way the series evolved. Since coming back to the role for Big Finish, Sylvester has had plenty of time to explore the character both solo and with a range of companions.
Talking about the 50th anniversary and 2013’s Five(ish) Doctor’s Reboot he admired how Peter Davison saw the project through and it had been a gift for the fans with everyone giving their time for free. Sylvester wasn’t sure this could ever be repeated, so no Reboot 2 in the works. He did suggest Peter and he could be the next hosts of Top Gear if the BBC ever wanted to change that show’s hosts. Clarkson beware!
Back in November 1988, Sylvester appeared on the cover of STARBURST MAGAZINE #123 as part of the promotion for Remembrance of the Daleks (pictured). Who would have thought, over 25 years later, fans would still be as interested in the show as they are.
Elsewhere there was cosplay, a writers’ workshop and various panels covering a range of Big Finish products. Two new releases were announced – a new Eighth Doctor range for Paul McGann: The Doom Coalition with a new companion, and The Worlds of Big Finish (aka Big Finish Assembled) that joins various disparate ranges – Sherlock, Graceless, Dorian Gray, Iris WIldthyme and Vienna all capped off with Bernice Summerfield.
As ever there was too much to see, too many people to talk to and too much choice of bargains to buy. Roll on September and Big Finish Day 7!