This month’s Doctor Who Magazine features an extended interview with the Seventh Doctor himself Sylvester McCoy, who shares what it was like to craft a ‘dark’ Doctor, his ‘underrated’ first season, and the shows early attempts to reach out to its LGBTQ audience.
Regarding how he and Script Editor Andrew Cartmel approach the show at the time, McCoy said:
“And so we both went in and we started from the beginning. A lot of people didn’t like that. But then we didn’t know that we were breaking rules. And I think we were also blessed by the fact that we didn’t have all that baggage of the past to get in the way…
“Steven Moffat said to me that we changed it… that we turned it into something that is reflected in the present, in the twenty-first-century Doctors. I remember when he said that to me, I thought, ‘Wow! I mean that wasn’t the intention.’”
When asked by DWM if he thought that first experiment season was ‘underrated’, McCoy was inclined to agree:
“Yes, I do. I mean, some say it was too funny at the beginning. But we changed that, and made it the darkest the Doctor had ever been. And I think that’s rather good too.”
Addressing the impact of his companion Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, McCoy also spoke of her sexuality and how it didn’t fall into easy categorisation. McCoy believes that, even then, Doctor Who was connecting with its LGBTQ audience:
“Oh, absolutely! I remember we thought that very strongly. No, no, it was there…
“That is how we interpreted it in the 80s. And I celebrate that. I’m delighted now that people say it changed things because, as I said, we didn’t really know how it was before.”
Doctor Who Magazine #517 is available to buy now.