Harry Van Gorkum
ABOUT THE EPISODE
It’s a debate which has raged across space and time for decades, Who’s the Best Doctor Who? That question will be discussed and decided in the opening episode of this star-studded pop culture podcast. Host Sandro Monetti is joined by guests David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks) Michelle Collins (EastEnders and Doctor Who) and Amy Pemberton (Legends of Tomorrow) and reveals the result of the public vote. He also interviews actor Harry Van Gorkum who was cast as the Eighth Doctor only to be replaced in the part days later by Paul McGann. Hear his story and many more on the opening episode of Who’s the Best.
THE DOCTOR WHO WHO NEVER WAS
by Sandro Monetti, host, Who’s the Best Podcast
Imagine being handed the job of a lifetime and then having it snatched away from you.
As he reveals in this episode of Who’s the Best, that’s what happened to brilliant actor Harry Van Gorkum when he was cast of Doctor Who… only to be informed later that, following a change of mind at the top, the Eighth Doctor role was going to Paul McGann instead.
Even as a lifelong Whovian, this was a part of the show’s history I didn’t know, and it’s a credit to Harry that he could be so upbeat and funny on air when relating a situation which many would have found shattering.
In common with the other guests on this episode, he talks about how much the show had impacted him in childhood and that’s the thing with this wonderful series, it gets its hooks into you early and never lets go.
Another of my guests, Nicholas Briggs, has built a career around his love of the programme. Not only is he now the voice on TV of the Daleks but he’s also executive producer of Big Finish, the company which makes those wonderful Doctor Who audio dramas. I loved the story he told me about efforts to keep the show’s secrets – inspired by the fact that every time he is seen in Cardiff, where the series is filmed, fans know it means the Daleks are coming back.
Everyone has their favourite Doctor and the guests speak so warmly about them – case in point, the way Michelle Collins talks on the pod about David Tennant, and Amy Louise Pemberton’s affection for Sylvester McCoy. From William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker, every Doctor has excelled in the role. To quote that great character The Brigadier: “Splendid chap, all of them.”
But for me, the best of the bunch was David Tennant. For me, his performance as the Doctor showed that he really understood that the Time Lord has two hearts, and made a winning choice to bring so much heart to the performance. Of course, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out if the audience agreed!
I’m thrilled that David, whose own podcast features production work from our man Dave King, appeared on Who’s the Best Doctor Who, and pointed out that actually, all the Doctors have been great. Splendid chaps, indeed, all of them.