(Doctor) Who's on our stage?

9 Feb 2023
Pete MacHale will join Time Lord Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who (BFI/BBC)

We're lucky to be welcoming the amazing talents of Bristol writer and performer Pete MacHale to the Studio later this month with his debut play Dear Young Monster. But Pete is also going to pop up in the next series of Doctor Who - with new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa - and will be making history as the first out trans man cast in the long-running series.

This gave us the perfect opportunity for another vigorously researched "Tenuous Link to Bristol Old Vic" blog from BOV's resident historian and tour guide Andrew Stocker - all things Doctor Who! 

You want time travel? You got it..

William Hartnell

Starting with William Hartnell the actor who was the first Doctor Who, he stood down from playing the part due to ill health in 1966. He then toured theatres across the country. 

Then in 1967, Val May Artistic Director of BOV gave Hartnell the chance to play a part in the production Brother & Sister at Bristol Old Vic but this sadly was his final stage appearance. 

He retired soon after,  and died in April 1975 aged 67.  

Next up is Patrick Troughton the second actor to play Doctor Who.

Patrick Troughton joined the Bristol Old Vic Company in its first season, and it was here that he learnt his classical training.

He appeared in the world premiere of JB Priestley's Jenny Villers, The Seagull by Chechov, Keep in a Cool Place by William Templeton, Weep for the Cyclops by Denis Johnstone,  Shakespeare's Macbeth and Twelfth Night - unbelievably all in  1946. 


Patrick Troughton as Doctor Who (1960s)
Twelfth Night, 1946. Photo courtesy of Bristol University Theatre Collection

Sylvester McCoy appeared in two productions at Bristol Old Vic in 1985 - Bedtime Story by Sean O'Casey (playing Daniel Halibut) and played Androcles in Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw.

He must have been excellent as the BBC snapped him up to play the seventh incarnation of our favourite Time Traveler and he stayed in the role from 1987 - 1989.

Christopher Eccleston played the ninth Doctor Who in 2005 when the TV Series had its major revival. Who can forget that leather jacket?

He appeared in two productions at Bristol Old Vic at the start of his professional career after leaving Central in London. 

In April 1989 he played Pablo Gonzales /Sailor in Tennesse Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

In October 1989 he played The nephew in Donna Rosita. 

Christopher Eccleston in a cast photo for A Streetcar Named Desire, 1989
The Crucible, 2015

It's not just Doctors though. Acclaimed theatre and screen actress Neve McIntosh had quite the time of it playing Silurian character Madame Vastra in 2010 - a sword-wielding, human-eating late Victorian crime fighter (of course).

In November 2015 Neve appeared at Bristol Old Vic in The Crucible playing the part of Elizabeth Proctor (about as far from a sword-wielding, human-eating late Victorian crime fighter as you can get).

Louise Jameson played companion Leela to Tom Baker's Doctor Who from 1977 to 1978. Louise is currently playing Mary Goskirk in Emmerdale on ITV.

Louise joined the Bristol Old Vic Company to play Portia in The Merchant of Venice in 1975. 

Pearl Mackie played the companion Bill Potts to Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor.

Pearl trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and graduated in 2010.

During her time at the Theatre School, she appeared on our stage just once, in a BOVTS production of The Crucible, playing Tituba in 2009.


Faye Marsay

Faye Marsay played Shona McCullough in the Doctor Who Christmas Special in 2014 alongside Peter Capaldi 

She trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and appeared in The Good Soul of Szechuan in Bristol Old Vic's Studio in 2012.

Faye played Steph in the film Pride and was a regular in Game of Thrones. She hasn't managed to escape sci-fi completely and currently stars in the Star Was TV series Andor as Vel Sartha.