November 23 marks Doctor Who’s birthday – and over the years, a large number of well-known Scots actors have appeared in the cult BBC show.
Many have worked on the show, not just in front of the camera.
Here, we celebrate 10 guest stars of note from north of the border, who have appeared over the years.
Best known to a generation as the terrifying Maurice Bronson in Grange Hill, Michael Sheard, who was born in Aberdeen, was a regular Doctor Who guest star, appearing with William Hartnell in The Ark (1966), with Jon Pertwee in The Mind of Evil (1971), Tom Baker in Pyramids of Mars (1975) and The Invisible Enemy (1977), Peter Davison in Castrovalva (1981) and Sylvester McCoy in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988). He later worked with Paul McGann on The Stones of Venice (2001) an audio adventure. Sheard also featured in The Empire Strikes Back and Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. He died in 2005.
The Edinburgh-born actress has been one of the most familiar faces on TV for decades, and in 1966, she guest starred in Patrick Troughton’s second story as the Doctor, The Highlanders. The TARDIS landed in Culloden in the aftermath of the battle, and was notable as Frazer Hines joined the regulars at the end of the story as Jamie McCrimmon. Although she only made one appearance on TV, Hannah later gave her dulcet tones to play the voice of a computer in an animated online story, Shada, which can be viewed HERE, which also features fellow Scot Sean Biggerstaff.
Best known to TV audiences as the Procurator Fiscal in Sutherland’s Law, Cuthertson later found fame with younger audiences as Scunner Campbell in Supergran. He worked with Fourth Doctor Tom Baker in 1978 story The Ribos Operation, in which he played a galactic conman, Garron, trying to take a rare mineral, jethrik, from the people. He died in 2009.
Years before he was cast as the Doctor, the Oscar winner featured as a guest star in The Fires of Pompeii in 2008. The life-long fan of the series – who tried to run the show’s fan club in the 1970s – was cast as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius Iucundus opposite David Tenant. Capaldi’s performance led to him being cast as the conflicted civil servant John Frobisher in Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.
Although the Dundee-born star received a credit on David Tennant’s final appearance as the Doctor in 2009, he didn’t actually appear on screen. The star of Hannibal provided the voice of the Elder Ood, a tentacle-faced benevolent alien, who warned the Doctor that his old enemy the Master had returned to life. The Ood later sang a song, which helped the Doctor back to his TARDIS to regenerate.
The Sea of Souls star featured in Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s third story as the Doctor in 2010. Paterson played Professor Edwin Bracewell, a scientist who had invented Britain’s new line of defence in World War II – the Ironsides. These were revealed to be the Daleks, and Bracewell was an invention of the Daleks in an elaborate trap for the Doctor. Bracewell formed a bond with Amy Pond, the Doctor’s companion, played by another Scot, Karen Gillan.
The Glaswegian played Vincent van Gogh in 2010 episode Vincent and the Doctor. His similarity to the famous painter was uncanny, and he gave an outstanding performance in the episode, which looked at the issue of mental health, and was written by Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill writer Richard Curtis. He enjoyed a fliratious relationship with Amy Pond, but sadly, the character’s mental health saw him take his own life. Curran appeared in Netflix historical epic Outlaw King last year.
The actor, who starred most recently in Guilt on BBC Scotland, guest starred as Jimmy Wicks in The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People in 2011, also and his ganger doppelgänger. Jimmy was working as a 22nd century miner, where he and other people were copied genetically, to carry out dangerous tasks. He later died after being hit by spitting acid trying to hold the lid down. In his dying breath, he told his ganger self to be a father to his son. Since then, Mark has gone on to play recurring villain The Eleven, a rogue Time Lord who keeps his previous personalities when he regenerated, and has battled Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy’s Doctors on audio.
When Peter Capaldi was cast as the Doctor, the part of his arch-nemesis, the Master, was given to another Glaswegian by executive producer Steven Moffat (from Paisley). However, throughout Capaldi’s first series in 2014, Missy made brief appearances, before being revealed to be the Master, regeneratedin in female form. Gomez – now starring in the remake of Sabrina the Teenage Witch – brought a dangerous edge to the part, happy to kill at random. She now has her own audio spin-off series, Missy, produced by Big Finish Productions.
The Scottish BAFTA winner met Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord in the 2018 run of the show, playing King James VI in The Witchfinders. The TARDIS landed in 17th century Lancashire, where everything from a bad harvest to mental health problems are presumed to have a supernatural explanation. This wasn’t Cumming’s first encounter with an actor playing the Doctor, as one of his early acting jobs with The Airzone Solution, an independently-produced drama in 1993, starring Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.