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Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

McCoy’s Tormented Role

Fresh from embarking on An Unexpected Journey Sylvester McCoy is back on stage in Scotland embarking on another unexpected journey playing against type as a tortured father grieving for his son killed in a terrorist attack in J. C. Marshall’s Plume.

Speaking to The Herald McCoy finds that Scottish audiences are more open to him playing darker characters sighting characters from Scottish productions like the Hermit from Still Game and Rab C. Nesbitt’s lunatic brother – more so than English audiences:

“Most of the other work I’ve done isn’t like that. Not in England, anyway, where they don’t seem to see me like that, but in Scotland it’s different. I didn’t get cast up here at all for a long time, and then I played a character on TV called Angus, and that’s when people up here realised I was a Scot.”

After Plume makes its début audiences (Scot’s or otherwise) will have seen another facet to McCoy’s repertoire. In the play he plays Mr. Peters, a father on the verge of suicide, who’s life ended 20 years ago when his son was killed in a terrorist attack on an aeroplane.

Ready to throw himself out of a hotel window, where below a gathering media circus awaits an important announcement, only Mallor, a bellboy and former student of Mr Peters stands between him and his desperate conclusion.

Needless to say Plume is challenging stuff:

“It’s a beautifully written play about loss and sadness, and the change in a human being because of that loss. The man I play is a retired teacher, who’s widowed, and his son being blown up in a plane affects and changes him from being a lovable, nice, kind, caring human being into an angry person.”

Despite drawing on the Lockerbie tragedy where 270 people in total lost there lives when a bomb was detonated on board Pam Am Flight 103 McCoy doesn’t believe the play has serious political overtones despite its angry nature, rather he was drawn to the emotional damage of the incident:

“Lockerbie is there but it’s not principal to the story. It’s not a political play in that way, but there’s the final straw that releases all this anger in him. One of the reasons for me wanting to do it was that I’ve got sons, and when I was reading it, I thought, well, how would I feel if that happened to me. I was touched.”

Plume – written by J. C. Marshall – runs until 14th March at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow. For information on availability and tickets head over to the Tron Theatre’s site.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

3 Responses to McCoy’s Tormented Role

  1. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    I have to laugh—here’s this note about a very serious play with Syl in Scotland where he plays a tortured father on the verge of suicide. I imagine it’s a very powerful, gripping drama.

    Then right underneath in the “you may also like” area, a shot of him laying on the floor with a Colin Baker wig on.

    • It’s automated so no getting out of it, but I too laughed when I saw your post, Rick!

      • avatar Rick Lundeen says:

        Yeah, I know it’s just how the elements role but omg, I laugh every time I see that shot. I think, if you were to pile together all the lame elements of the ’80′s JNT incarnation of doctor who, that shot right there pretty much encapsulates all the problems. Poor Syl, laying on the floor, forced to wear that suit and that wig.

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