6th Doctor Sylvester McCoy - The Seventh Doctor 8th Doctor
Time and the Rani - Doctor Who (Television Movie) 
Sylvester McCoy
The Seventh Doctor
(1987 - 1996)
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The Sound Vault
Seventh Doctor Intro Screen
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 In many ways, the Seventh Doctor is the Doctor that changed the most over the course of his life. When he began his travels through time and space, he appeared to be an almost clown-like figure, demonstrating a certain resemblance to his second incarnation due to his relatively short stature and his slightly jocular personality, as well as his slight uncertainty about his own identity; when selecting his clothing he initially tried on variations of the clothes worn by his fourth, third and fifth incarnations before settling on his own attire, and even after that he made various subtle changes to his clothing as time went on, ranging from changing from a cream jacket to a brown one to switching from a question-mark-covered sleeveless pullover to a blood-red waistcoat (Although this last was worn for only a brief period at the end of his life).

Time and the Rani
Time and the Rani
 This Doctor’s apparently developing personality was reflected in his early days by his apparent habit of making his plans up as he went along while relying on the skills of others to bring events to a satisfactory conclusion, such as when he recruited the inhabitants of Paradise Towers to defeat the insane ‘Great Architect’ ("Paradise Towers") or relied on the various skills of his new friends - including a beekeeper, a couple of mechanics, a holiday camp owner, and a couple of American secret service agents - to avert the Bannermens’ attempts to destroy the Chimmerons ("Delta and the Bannermen"). During this time period, The Doctor also demonstrated a rather friendly, relaxed persona, casually showing a couple of relative strangers around the TARDIS - albeit to convince them that he was telling the truth about an alien presence - and playing the spoons in the Intergalactic Song Contest - performing in front of billions of people - to buy his associates time to disarm a bomb that had been hidden inside the original performer ("Bang-Bang-A-Boom!"). This incarnation’s short stature and habit for attempting to take his companion Mel on holidays further reinforced this seemingly casual attitude towards the universe, his only bleak moment at this time being a trip to Pompeii where he believed that he would lose the TARDIS after witnessing its discovery in an archaeological dig in the future (Only to work out a loophole at the last minute that allowed him to retain the TARDIS while leaving history unchanged) ("The Fires of Vulcan"); he was once even forced into helping a couple of soldiers attempt to change their planet’s history, creating two alternate timelines that were apparently stuck in a loop (The Doctor’s actions to change one history created the other, forcing its inhabitants to make The Doctor take them back and restore the other timeline, resulting in inhabitants of the ‘original’ timeline forcing this timeline’s Doctor to take them back…) ("Flip-Flop").

Delta and the Bannermen
Delta and the Bannermen
As time went on, however, The Doctor became more obviously intellectual and increasingly darker in personality, known for manipulating even his companions when the situation called for it, treating his companions and the people they met more like chess pieces in an elaborate game rather than the individuals he had once valued so highly. Indeed, during the events of "Head Games", it was revealed that he had actually deliberately influenced his sixth incarnation’s old companion Melanie Bush to leave him ("Dragonfire") so that he could continue his new role as ‘Time’s Champion’ without her morality holding him back. On a later occasion he also influenced his companion Ace to leave him ("Love and War") so that she could later return and help him eliminate a virus that had infected the TARDIS ("Deceit"), having previously taken her back to a mansion that had given her nightmares as a child - driving her to blow up the house when she was thirteen - simply to satisfy his own curiosity ("Ghost Light"), later casually describing her as an emotional cripple and little more than a pawn in his plans (Albeit as part of a scheme to stop the nigh-omnipotent evil known as Fenric) ("The Curse of Fenric"). He even lied to his companions about such details as why he was visiting particular locations, such as when he took Benny, Chris and Roz to the realm of the People ("The Also People") - a race so powerful that they had a non-aggression pact with the Time Lords - claiming that he had taken them there for a holiday when in reality he was tracking renegade time traveller Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart (First encountered in "Transit"), a genetically-engineered adopted by the descendents of his old friend The Brigadier and apparently ‘evolved’ by Earth in response to The Doctor’s interference in the planet’s history, although she went on to become an ally and aid to The Doctor after he had treated the damage done to her DNA. On one occasion The Doctor’s guilt over this attitude towards his companions drove him to try and slip away alone while various past friends and companions were attending Benny’s wedding, but Benny stopped him from leaving by convincing him that he didn’t deserve to be alone ("Happy Endings"). His skills of manipulation were hinted at by the skills in sleight-of-hand that he demonstrated on several occasions, most notably when keeping the powerful Gods of Ragnarok occupied with magic tricks while Ace disposed of an amulet that they needed to control their power ("The Greatest Show in the Galaxy"), as well as more practical uses, such as stealing and altering the forged identity papers of renegade time-traveller Klein without her noticing ("Colditz").

Dragonfire
Dragonfire

His actions on a larger scale further reinforced his darker nature in contrast to other Doctors. While his past selves would only kill their enemies if they were certain that no other option was available, this Doctor was not only far more willing to kill - albeit by arranging large-scale traps rather than taking direct physical action himself - but was even known to allow innocents to die in the name of a greater cause, such as when he destroyed a planet (Although the planet in question was Skaro, homeworld of the Daleks, and The Doctor only destroyed it after giving Davros all due warning about the potential consequences) ("Remembrance of the Daleks"), a whole galaxy ("The Pit"), and an entire alternate timeline ("Blood Heat"), as well as condemning a civilisation to the loss of its main source of power ("Head Games"), in the name of the ‘greater good’ (Although in all cases the destruction had to take place to either end a serious threat to reality and to ensure that history remained on its proper course). He even proved willing to make more morally compromising personal decisions than his previous selves, aiding in Hitler’s rise to power while tracking the time-altering Timewyrm ("Timewyrm: Exodus"), officially joining the Nazi party in order to destroy a Nazi superweapon he had unintentionally inspired ("Just War"), arranging the destruction of a laboratory to eliminate a genetically engineered race known as the Kiseibyaa that had been created to destroy the Daleks (Reflecting that he had once had the chance to do the same to the Daleks ("Genesis of the Daleks") and had refused to take action at the time) ("Enemy of the Daleks"), and damaging the journalistic reputation of his old companion Sarah Jane Smith in order to protect her from a ruthless Japanese triad ("Bullet Time"). However, his manipulations did not always result in destruction; one notable example of this was when he returned to Peladon, a world that he had become fond of in his third incarnation, manipulating events to convince Peladon to temporarily withdraw from the Galactic Federation to ensure that it would be kept out of an upcoming war with the Daleks ("Legacy").

This need to put the big picture over the desires of his fellow travellers was reflected by his current choice in companions. Even in the Third Doctor’s days with UNIT, when working as their scientific advisor, he regularly encouraged his military allies not to kill, whereas the Seventh often took advantage of his companions’ military-related abilities and knowledge of conflict, even if he still encouraged them to find other ways of solving their problems. While Mel - who had travelled with his previous self - was particularly non-violent, preferring to go on various holidays with The Doctor rather than face monsters - although she still stood by him in times of crisis - her immediate successor Ace demonstrated a keen expertise for devising explosives, later going on to become a hardened veteran of the Dalek war after spending three years away from The Doctor after he apparently allowed a young man she had developed feelings for to die simply because he was jealous ("Love and War" and "Deceit"). His companion Bernice Summerfield ("Love and War") marked a shift from this approach, as she disdained her past military training as a conscript during the Dalek Wars in exchange for a focus on her research skills as an archaeologist, although she was still more capable than Ace of understanding some of the moral compromises The Doctor had to make at times. Later companions Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester ("Original Sin") continued this trend of The Doctor selecting companions capable of resorting to more permanent measures than he himself might rely on, as both were experienced Adjudicators used to using force to solve their problems, although Chris in particular displayed a less violent side as time went on and he spent more time with The Doctor. The Doctor’s darker nature was particularly reflected during a meeting with his fifth incarnation ("Cold Fusion"), the Seventh referring to the Fifth as ‘bland’ when asking Adric which Doctor he was travelling with - referring to his fourth self as ‘boggle’- and later saying that the Fifth Doctor wasn’t even one of his ‘good’ incarnations in their final confrontation with the ruthless Feratu, inhabitants of an alternate timeline who sought to ensure the creation of their world by destroying Gallifrey in the distant past, only for the Seventh Doctor to manipulate events to destroy their universe (An action that left the Fifth Doctor appalled at this vision of his future). When an attack by the ruthless Word Lord resulted in two different versions of the Seventh Doctor being present at the same time, with the younger Doctor dying to destroy the Word Lord ("A Death in the Family"), the paradoxical future Seventh Doctor took Ace and Hex to different locations while claiming that he intended to set them up for a peaceful life after his death as there was nothing he could do about his changed past at that time. However, when Ace and Hex realised that they could set up a chain of events that would restore The Doctor to existence, they were each left wondering if the future Doctor had really been trying to help them or just wanted to save their lives, although they concluded in the end that all that mattered was that the Word Lord had been defeated and The Doctor was restored. However, he still respected some of his past selves; when a visit to a museum inspired him to go back and offer some advice to his second incarnation, the Seventh Doctor simply told the Second that he should sometimes plan things out more rather than relying on chance as often as he did, encouraging the younger Doctor to do things a different way without dismissing his usual methods the way he had the Fifth’s ("The Colony of Lies").

Remembrance of the Daleks
Remembrance of the Daleks
Despite his darker persona, The Doctor’s rejection of violence remained perhaps particularly strong in this incarnation, only resorting to direct physical violence on extreme occasions, such as when he was engaged in a final showdown with The Valeyard, his own dark side, on top of an old church in 1888 ("Matrix"). On at least two occasions The Doctor walked away unharmed from face-to-face confrontation with armed enemies by actually challenging them to shoot him, forcing them to recognise the scale of what they would do if they killed him ("The Happiness Patrol" and "Colditz"). This rejection of violence was also demonstrated in his last televised appearance as he confronted The Master; even when ‘contaminated’ by the ferality-inducing planet of the Cheetah People, The Doctor refused to resort to physical violence against his enemy, loudly proclaiming ‘If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!’ ("Survival"). On some occasions he used particularly alien abilities against his foes, once rendering Mordred unconscious simply by pressing his fingers against Mordred’s forehead ("Battlefield"). Even when he briefly turned himself into a human - apparently in order to better relate to his companion Benny’s grief over the death of a man she loved ("Sanctuary") - The Doctor’s human identity of John Smith refused to resort to the use of weapons even when he himself was uncertain whether he was truly John Smith or The Doctor, demonstrating his strong opposition to violence ("Human Nature"). He was also known for more than once talking his opponents to defeat, essentially ordering a Black Dalek to self-destruct as he informed it that it was the last of its kind ("Remembrance of the Daleks"), convincing the powerful being known as Light to destroy himself by showing him that his attempt to catalogue all forms of life would never be complete ("Ghost Light"), even talking a Nazi officer into committing suicide ("Just War"), while on another occasion he convinced Hitler to expel the powerful entity known as the Timewyrm from himself by convincing Hitler it was useless when in reality the Timeywrm was all that kept Hitler stable in the early days of the war ("Timewyrm: Exodus").

Although he could be cold towards his companions at times, his compassion for them nevertheless remained, The Doctor demonstrating evident grief when he witnessed The Brigadier nearly die in his attempts to help The Doctor ("Battlefield"); indeed, on two occasions - "No Future" and "Happy Endings" - The Brigadier genuinely perished and was only saved thanks to time being altered by outside influences, both occasions causing The Doctor great pain before his friend was restored. When a temporal accident resulted in the Fifth and Seventh Doctors materialising on the same planet at the same time ("Cold Fusion"), although the Seventh Doctor was dismissive of his past self, he was clearly grateful for the chance to see Adric again, Roz reflecting that the Seventh Doctor treated Adric like a grandfather doting on a grandson. Even when he was forced to abuse her faith in him to prevail against the ruthless Fenric, The Doctor clearly regretted his actions towards Ace and regularly displayed a genuine affection for her, many fans regarding his bond with her as more of a father/daughter relationship than the typical Doctor/companion dynamic. When The Doctor was forced to work with his predecessor's companion Evelyn Smythe ("The Marian Conspiracy" to "Thicker Than Water") to defeat the villain the Word Lord, Evelyn criticised The Doctor's new willingness to lie to his companions and manipulate others to suit his own ends, as well as warning him about what he was turning his young companions into, but The Doctor countered that his predecessor's habit of improvising at short notice had led to further problems, citing such examples as his history with the Forge ("Project: Twilight" and "Project: Lazarus"). Despite this, when Evelyn died to take the Word Lord with her, she died thinking warmly of her travels with the Sixth Doctor, and the Seventh Doctor spoke at her funeral, praising his friendship with her. After Ace moved on, The Doctor also developed a strong friendship with archaeologist Bernice ‘Benny’ Summerfield, describing her on one occasion as one of his longest-running companions and inspiring her to take a job at the Braxiatel Collection - a collection of various historical artefacts run by Time Lord Irving Braxiatel, rumoured by some to be The Doctor’s brother - after her departure and divorce ("Eternity Weeps"), which allowed her to continue helping others using the methods she had learned from The Doctor. Although not as obviously close, he also formed a strong bond with Chris Cwej, at one point asking Chris to replace him when he contemplated allowing himself to die out of guilt at his actions in this life ("The Room With No Doors"), Chris later becoming a ‘guardian’ of The Doctor’s older memories when the TARDIS transferred them to Chris’s subconscious to help its owner ("Lungbarrow"). In the latter days of his life, he was also profoundly affected by the deaths of present and former companions Roz Forrester ("So Vile a Sin") and Liz Shaw ("Eternity Weeps"), Liz’s death being particularly hard for The Doctor when he and Chris only realised that she had provided them with information that could have saved her when it was too late for them to use it.

Silver Nemesis
Silver Nemesis
This Doctor is also remembered for the air of mystery that constantly surrounded his actions. While other Doctors either avoided discussing their pasts - particularly the First Doctor - or simply shared the occasional story without discussing anything explicit such as names or family members - the Third Doctor, particularly with the tales of his visit to an old monk who lived in the hills behind his house - the Seventh Doctor almost deliberately cultivated an air of mystery, showing relative strangers around the TARDIS while simultaneously dropping hints that he might have developed the Hand of Omega at the dawn of Gallifreyian civilisation ("Remembrance of the Daleks") and ‘provoking’ Ace to ask him ‘Who are you?’ after Lady Peinforte hinted that he was more than a Time Lord just so that he could refuse to answer ("Silver Nemesis"). Later on, however, it was suggested that not even he was consciously aware of his connection to Gallifrey’s past, such as when a collision with an old Gallifreyian time capsule gave him a chance to briefly speak with the Pythia - last of the old rulers of Gallifrey before Rassilon - leaving The Doctor with a unique chance to gain answers about his questions regarding Ancient Gallifrey, although he was forced to end the questioning in order to prevent the Pythia from learning too much about her future ("Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible"). An investigation into the mystery of the Seven Planets - worlds which mysterious vanished at some point in the 25th century - resulted in The Doctor learning from an ancient Gallifreyian general that early Gallifreyian time-travel experiments tore holes in the fabric of reality, allowing beings such as the Great Vampires to gain access to this plane of existence ("The Pit"). A later trip to the twentieth century resulted in them dealing with the activation of an ancient Gallifreyian weapon called an N-Form being activated partially by the psychic bond between twins who had been separated at birth ("Damaged Goods"), while a later fight pitted The Doctor against the representation of the irrationality that the Time Lords had banished from the universe, The Doctor vowing to defeat it as otherwise the sacrifices of those who had died in his travels would become pointless ("Christmas on a Rational Planet"), each case featuring The Doctor showing some awareness of Gallifrey’s past without even entirely certain how he knew it.

As well as exploring the mysteries of Gallifrey’s past, this Doctor also found himself facing the return of some old foes from both his own past and the distant beginnings of history itself, facing various challenges from all corners of the universe. The most personal of these was the Timewyrm, a powerful time-manipulating entity that was unintentionally created when The Doctor gave a ruthless cyborg access to the TARDIS’s secondary console ("Timewyrm: Genesys"), although another interesting encounter saw him pitted against two men who personified the universe’s pain at the histories that were erased by the actions of time travellers ("Falls The Shadow"). One of the most personal returning enemies he faced at this time was his first incarnation’s old friend-turned-foe the Meddling Monk, a Time Lord who had initially sought to ‘improve’ history, driven nearly insane at the idea that he was seen as the villain for simply wanting to improve history while The Doctor was a hero for meddling everywhere he went and attempting to gain revenge on The Doctor, only to be defeated by Ace when she overcame her current issues with The Doctor ("No Future"). He was also briefly reunited with the Second Doctor’s foe the War Chief when tracking the Timewyrm, attempting to continue the program he began in the War Games by using the Nazi soldiers, but he was apparently killed in an explosion ("Timewyrm: Exodus"). An intriguing long-term enemy at this point was the Brotherhood, a group of human psychics who attempted to gather human psis together at various points across human history, their earliest recorded encounter being in 1799 ("Christmas on a Rational Planet") and ending with the Brotherhood’s attempt to use old Gallifreyian technology to trigger psychic powers in all of humanity during a revolution for control of the Earth Empire ("So Vile a Sin").

The Curse of Fenric
The Curse of Fenric
In keeping with his new title as ‘Time’s Champion’, and the status this gave him among higher beings, this Doctor also had regular dealings with the personification of Death, once making a deal with Death to give her one of his lives to save his companion Ace ("Love and War"), this deal being fulfilled with the ‘death’ of his human identity Doctor John Smith ("Human Nature"). On another occasion The Doctor made a deal with Death to free The Master from his role as Death’s Champion for a decade, allowing him to live the life he would have lived, in exchange for The Doctor killing The Master at the conclusion of that time, but he was unable to complete the deal in the end, leaving The Doctor with increased guilt after he was made aware that a deal he made with Death as a child was the reason for The Master’s current life (Although the ‘good’ Master forgave The Doctor for his youthful mistake) ("Master"). Another adventure saw him engaging in a rematch with his old enemy The Toymaker ("The Magic Mousetrap"), revealed in a previous confrontation to be the Guardian of Dreams (Although the evidence suggests that, for The Toymaker, this encounter took place before The Doctor’s past encounters with him).

In many ways, however, it was his deal with Time to become Time’s Champion that left The Doctor most troubled, his guilt over the actions he had to commit to fulfil his duty made even worse by the ‘memory’ of his sixth incarnation. As the Sixth Doctor in his mind resented the Seventh for cutting his life short to become Time’s Champion, while the Seventh gradually came to associate his previous self with the Valeyard due to that incarnation’s innate hubris, the Sixth Doctor’s mental representation in his mind became increasingly twisted to the point where The Doctor kept his sixth self permanently locked in his subconscious out of fear of what he might become, the Sixth Doctor even transforming into the Valeyard when The Doctor was exposed to residual energies from the Land of Fiction that caused his guilt to physically manifest as his previous self ("Head Games"). Increasingly doubting his worth and abilities as the universe’s defender after he was forced to sacrifice a significant portion of Earth’s population to save the rest of the planet from a virulent airborne toxin ("Eternity Weeps"), The Doctor nearly allowed himself to die after he was shot by an arrow during a war in sixteenth century Japan ("The Room With No Doors"), believing that this was the only way to prevent his sixth self’s memory being used to create the Valeyard. However, after waking up in his own coffin when he was shot with an arrow while saving a child, he recognised that he was The Doctor no matter which incarnation he was in, leading to him forgiving himself for his past sins and removing the guilt that had so mutilated his memory of his previous self, thus ‘curing’ the Sixth Doctor’s memory of the ‘taint’ that would have resulted in the memory of that incarnation being used to create the Valeyard.

Survival
Survival
However, even with his personal issues resolved, towards the end of The Doctor’s life, he faced his most challenging confrontation; six hundred and seventy-three years after he first left Gallifrey, The Doctor at last returned to his family House of Lungbarrow, where he learned that his Cousins had been trapped inside the House when it sank into the ground on the day he left, Quences - the head of the House - having been murdered… by a man who Chris, who witnessed the murder in a telepathic vision he experienced after being ‘attacked’ by the dust in the House, identified as the First Doctor, the situation made even more complex as the Celestial Intervention Agency attempted to interrogate his old companions for information about him. Despite facing the rejection and suspicion of his family, The Doctor was nevertheless aided by his old companies Leela, Romana, Dorothee and Chris, who travelled into his mind to learn the truth about the secrets that were being sought by the other Time Lords, discovering evidence that The Doctor was actually the ‘reincarnation’ of the Other, the third of the three founders of Time Lord society - the other two being Rassilon and Omega - who had sacrificed himself to protest against Rassilon’s brutal regime by throwing himself into the genetic looms created to escape the ancient curse of sterility, later being apparently reborn as The Doctor. Although shocked at this latest revelation about his past, The Doctor nevertheless resolved to move past that period of his life, recognising that it didn’t matter who he’d been and the only thing that mattered now was his identity as The Doctor, trusting his old companions to keep his secrets. He also managed to clear his name of Quences’ murder, learning that Glospin - his old childhood rival - had used a sample of his DNA to forcibly regenerate himself into the physical double of the First Doctor, murdering Quences and then regenerating again after the murder to conceal his guilt. With his family freed - although The Doctor declined to become the new Head of the House - The Doctor departed from Gallifrey once more, having been assigned by Romana the task of collecting The Master’s remains from Skaro after his execution by the Daleks ("Lungbarrow").

Doctor Who: The Movie
Doctor Who: The Movie
Travelling alone for a time before he attended to the mission he had been given, this Doctor mellowed significantly, initially appearing to forsake his role as Time’s Champion. Although he retained his old cunning, he now tended to resort to less manipulative means of dealing with his enemies, showing an increased awareness of others and a greater desire to find a solution that would result in the least amount of death - once willingly spending years as a prisoner of the Daleks to develop a virus that would defeat their attempt to master the Spiridons’ secret of invisibility rather than take a quicker solution that would have put his current allies at risk ("Return of the Daleks") - keenly regretting it when he was unable to do so, such as when he was forced to destroy a ship belonging to Vilgreth, a being who had been recreated from the DNA of the Titanthropes - evolutionary offshoots of the Neanderthals - who didn’t understand the damage he was causing to other planets ("Last of the Titans"). However, this lack of his old sense of control could often work against him, such as his final trip to the planet Artaris and the city-state of Excelis, which saw his old foe the immortal Warlord Grayvorn destroy the entire world in revenge for The Doctor thwarting his plans ("Excelis Decays"). The Seventh Doctor's new reluctance was best demonstrated in a meeting with his fifth and sixth selves where he proved unwilling to allow the legendary time beast the Temperon to sacrifice itself to stop the ruthless Sirens of Time even after it expressed its willingness to do so, the Sixth Doctor releasing the Temperon instead ("The Sirens of Time"). When a later adventure saw him once again dealing with Elizabeth Klein - a Nazi scientist from an alternate version of 1965 where the Nazis won the war whose attempts to capture him in 1944 erased her history ("Colditz") -, The Doctor actually attempted to give her a chance to reform by inviting her to travel with him rather than simply taking her to a prison where she could do no harm, hoping that he could open her mind to new ideas beyond her Nazi perceptions ("A Thousand Tiny Wings"), although he was finally forced to erase her from history after she stole the TARDIS and created a Reich that lasted until 2044 ("The Architects of History "), The Doctor evidently mourning the necessity of that choice no matter how clear it had become that Klein would never abandon her goal. Seeking further attempts to escape his bloody past, The Doctor even attempted to make a deal with Death herself to release The Master from her hold over him so that he could live a peaceful life for ten years on the condition that The Doctor would kill The Master at the end of that decade (The Doctor most likely trying to exploit the fact that he only knew of The Master's death without knowing the specifics of it), but in that final meeting The Doctor was unable to bring himself to kill the kind 'Doctor John Smith', allowing Death to manipulate Smith into becoming The Master once again ("Master").

However, as The Doctor's travels continued, he began to demonstrate a renewed awareness of the necessity of his current incarnation's role as Time's Champion. Becoming aware that his own 'death' was imminent, The Doctor began to actively seek out threats to the universe, even setting up a complex surveillance network to help him identify and eliminate particular threats, concerned that his successor would be less equipped to deal with such dangers ("Persuasion"). A particular crisis at this point in his life saw him working with the version of Klein that existed in the prime universe and a man who claimed to be his own future self, The Doctor joining them and UNIT in dealing with various cross-dimensional incursions, but this collaboration ended when it was revealed that the 'other' Doctor was in fact a future incarnation of The Master, attempting to charge up dimension-manipulating technology to persuade another species to become his own private army, although The Doctor was quickly able to convince The Master's would-be allies to stand down. Having made a degree of peace with Klein, The Doctor would recruit her and her assistant, Will Arrowsmith, as his new companions when tracking former Nazi scientist Kurt Schalk, whose brain had been imprinted by higher beings with instructions on the creation of the Persuasion Machine, a dangerous device that could make anyone believe the orders that were programmed into it, forcing the new TARDIS crew to fend off the Sontarans, the Daleks, and even the entities that gave Schalk the original instructions before all trace of the Persuasion Machine was destroyed ("Starlight Robbery" and "Daleks Among Us"). Another encounter with The Master pitted The Doctor against the unique threat of two Masters in one place as the universe collapsed around them due to a complex paradox created by the Cult of the Heretic, a group dedicated to a renegade Time Lord who sought to unmake the universe, although The Doctor was able to use the Cult's equipment to reset reality and undo the original paradox ("The Two Masters").

When The Doctor finally retrieved The Master’s remains from Skaro, however, The Master managed to escape his ‘death’, reanimating himself in the form of a ‘deathworm’ which had absorbed his intelligence after his physical demise, disrupting the TARDIS’s systems and forcing it to make an emergency landing in San Francisco on December 30th 1999. As The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS into the middle of a gang shooting, he was shot by a gang who had been about to kill a young man called Chang Lee, who had been standing just behind the location where the TARDIS materialised. Although the bullets were safely extracted, The Doctor’s unusual physiology prompted the doctors treating him to conclude that there was something wrong with his heart, resulting in them attempting to operate on him. The resulting anaesthetic, combined with the surgeons’ ‘ineptitude’, resulted in The Doctor dying on the table, alone and surrounded by well-meaning strangers who could do nothing to help him - as had been ‘foretold’ by a young woman who had been trapped in a ghost-like state after becoming unstuck in time ("Return of the Living Dad") and promised by Death for the times he had cheated her ("So Vile a Sin") Due to the anaesthetic interfering with the normally automatic regenerative process, the Seventh Doctor remained 'dead' for several hours before he finally regenerated into his eighth incarnation, a poor fate for a Doctor who had faced challenges and tasks that previous Doctors would have hesitated to resort to in order to preserve the universe that he had left Gallifrey to explore and protect so many centuries ago.

Although he only ever did what he had to do, and came to accept the necessity of his actions, the Seventh Doctor has generally been poorly regarded by his other selves. When the First Doctor once found himself needing to reach out to his future incarnations for help dealing with a complex situation involving a golden bow and arrow, he deliberately avoided calling his seventh self for help ("Short Trips: Zodiac - Five Card Draw") as he was uncomfortable with what he saw of his future. During a conversation with his companion Lucie Miller ("Deimos" and "The Resurrection of Mars"), the Eighth Doctor unfavourably compared his immediate predecessor to the Meddling Monk, stating that they were both 'men with a plan' that focused on their perception of the 'greater good' while ignoring the innocent people caught up in their plans, even if the Seventh Doctor never deliberately sought to sacrifice innocents and generally acted to preserve history where the Monk would set up any amount of death if it would lead to what he thought would be 'good' results later.

Book - Timewyrm: Exodus
Timewyrm: Exodus
(Terrance Dicks)
Book - Lungbarrow
Lungbarrow
(Marc Platt)
Book - Illegal Alien
Illegal Alien
(Mike Tucker & Robert Perry)
Book - Atom Bomb Blues
Atom Bomb Blues
(Andrew Cartmel)
       
BBC BOOK
BBC BOOK
BBC BOOK
BBC BOOK
       
Audio - The Sirens of Time
The Sirens of Time
(Nicholas Briggs)
Audio - The Fearmonger
The Fearmonger
(Jonathan Blum)
Audio - Dreamtime
Dreamtime
(Simon A. Forward)
Audio - The Angel of Scutari
The Angel of Scutari
(Paul Sutton)
       
Big Finish Productions
AUDIO

Sylvester McCoy - The Actor
Vision On (1965)
Vision On
(1965)
Sylvester McCoy was born in Dunoon, Scotland in August 1943 – though he spent much of his childhood in Dublin, Ireland. He attended St. Mun's, a local Dunoon school. After leaving school he joined Blair's College, a seminary in Aberdeen, to be trained as a priest. On finishing his education he took a holiday to London, from which he never returned. At first he found a job working for an insurance company and then a job selling tickets, and keeping the books, at the London's Roundhouse Theatre box office.

He started his acting career as a part of the Ken Campbell Roadshow, performing a range of plays with the umbrella theme of "modern myths". At first he used the name Kent Smith before changing it first to Sylveste McCoy and then to the more familiar ‘Sylvester’.

Dracula (1979)
Dracula
(1979)
One of his first television roles was in 1965 in Vision On – a programme, co-hosted by artist Tony Hart, that catered for death children. Then in 1977 he joined Tiswas - appearing as various characters in various episodes until 1982. He also stared in the MCA/Universal Pictures 1979 version of Dracula.

It was while starring at the National Theatre in The Pied Piper of Hamelin - a play written especially for him, that Sylvester McCoy learned that the BBC was looking for a new lead actor to replace Colin Baker.

Noises Off (2003)
Noises Off
(2003)
Sylvester McCoy is technically the longest-serving Doctor. His term as The Doctor stretched from 1987 until 1989. He then reprised the role in the 1993 special "Dimensions in Time" and again in the 1996 "Doctor Who: The Movie" where he is seen to regenerate into the Eighth Doctor played by Paul McGann. During the period 1989 – 1996 the Seventh Doctor was used in many comic strips and, books. However, as no new work was produced by Sylvester McCoy during this actual period means that Tom Baker is still the longest continuously-serving Doctor.

After Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy worked extensively in theatre and on television. In theatre he appeared in The Government Inspector twice in tours during 1993 and 1994, and in between these he starred as the Narrator, Thomas Marvel, in the stage version of H.G. Wells's The Invisible Man. In 1995 he starred in Zorro: The Musical. More recent theatre appearances include; Noises Off (The National Tour Piccadilly Theatre, London in 2003), Arsenic and Old Lace (2006), The Pocket Orchestra (at the Trafalgar Studios, London in 2006) and King Lear (2007/2008).

Arsenic and Old Lace (2006)
Arsenic and Old Lace (2006)
On television his credits include; Rab C. Nesbitt (1990), Frank Stubbs Promotes (1993), Jackanory (as the Storyteller in 3 episodes, 1979 and twice in 1993). In 1995 he created the character of Crud in the cult television series Ghoul-Lashed for Sky TV. He also appeared in 2 episodes of The Bill (2002 and 2006) and 2 episodes of Casualty (2001 and 2008). He also appeared in the 2000 film Mumbo Jumbo.

In 1993 he appeared in the BBV Video productions video specials; "The Airzone Solution" and "The Zero Imperative". Then in 1996 he devised and presented Reeltime Pictures' I Was a Doctor Who Monster - a special video tribute to the men and women who had played the monsters in Doctor Who.

Sylvester McCoy is still on the theatre circuit and is still playing the part of the Seventh Doctor in the Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish Productions.

The Pocket Orchestra (2006)
The Pocket Orchestra (2006)
King Lear (Theatre 2007/2008)
King Lear
(2007/2008)
TV Movie (1996)
TV Movie
(1996)
 
The Television Companions
Melanie Bush The Trial of a Timelord (Terror of the Vervoids) (6th Dr story) - Dragonfire Bonnie Langford
Ace Dragonfire - Survival Sophie Aldred
The Brigadier The Web of Fear (2nd Dr story) - Battlefield Nicholas Courtney
The Book and Audio Companions
Sergeant Benton The New Adventures John Levene
Liz Shaw The New Adventures  
Jo Grant The New Adventures Katy Manning
Sarah Jane Smith The Past Doctors Stories & The Big Finish Short Trips  
Leela The New Adventures  
K9 The New Adventures & Short Trips and Side Steps  
2nd Romana The Big Finish Audio Stories Lalla Ward
Peri The New Adventures Nicola Bryant
Bernice Summerfield The New Adventures, The Big Finish Short Trips & The Big Finish Audio Stories Lisa Bowerman
Roslyn Forrester The New Adventures & The Big Finish Short Trips  
Chris Cwej The New Adventures & The Big Finish Short Trips  
Hex The Big Finish Audio Stories Philip Olivier
Monsters & Villains
In keeping with his new role as Time’s Champion, this Doctor regularly found himself facing foes who posed a threat to the very fabric of reality itself, whether because of their sheer power or because of the extent of their schemes. Along with such classic foes as the Cybermen, the Daleks - The Doctor apparently destroying Skaro in his first fight with them, although it was later revealed to be part of an elaborate plan on the Daleks’ part to maintain history while saving Skaro - and The Master, The Doctor also faced new foes such as the Timewyrm, a mythical time beast who fed on changes in history, unintentionally created by his own actions when he gave the insane Qataka access to the secondary TARDIS console. Another long-term enemy included the Brotherhood, a group of psychics who sought supremacy over the galaxy, but were eventually defeated as part of a revolution against the corrupt Earth Empire. He also faced old enemies such as The Toymaker ("The Magic Mousetrap"), the War Chief ("Timewyrm: Exodus") and the Meddling Monk ("No Future"), one notable adventure featuring a confrontation with Morgraine Le Fay , a foe from his own future ( "Battlefield").

Memorable Moments
Book - Timewyrm: Genesis
Timewyrm: Genesys
(John Peel)
This Doctor’s strength and determination was most keenly demonstrated during his search to find and defeat the Timewyrm, a powerful evil from Gallifreyian myth that was unintentionally created by his own actions ("Timewyrm: Genesys"). Having tracked the Timewyrm across time and space, from ancient Mesopotamia to Nazi Germany ("Timewyrm: Exodus") to the end of the universe itself ("Timewyrm: Apocalypse"), the final battle against the Timewyrm was waged in The Doctor’s own mind, the Seventh Doctor saving his third incarnation’s ‘memory’ from the Timewyrm’s attempts to establish a foothold in his mind while Ace freed his fifth self, buried out of what The Doctor believed to be necessity, culminating in The Doctor risking everything to take the TARDIS to the interface between reality and imagination to vanquish the Timewyrm and save Ace ("Timewyrm: Revelation").

Another prominent event in the Seventh Doctor’s life was his return to Gallifrey, the TARDIS materialising in the House of Lungbarrow, his old Family home, giving us a unique look at The Doctor’s past and answering several questions about his origins and his reasons for leaving Gallifrey with Susan all those years and lifetimes ago (Although obvious details such as his original name remained a mystery) ("Lungbarrow").

 
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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