1. He came to prominence for portraying Percy Toplis in the 1986 television serial The Monocled Mutineer.
2. He later starred in the 1987 dark comedy Withnail and I, and as the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television film, a role he reprised in more than 70 audio dramas and the 2013 mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor”.
3. McGann was born in 1959 in Liverpool, His parents encouraged him and his siblings to develop their talents from an early age.
4. Acting on the advice of one of his teachers, McGann successfully auditioned for a place on the acting course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
5. All three of his brothers are also actors and the four of them starred together in the 1995 TV serial The Hanging Gale about the Irish Famine.
6. The same year he played the role as Grigori Potemkin in TV film Catherine the Great, with Mark and Stephen too.
7. McGann played a good snooker player who got into scrapes with Robert Lindsay, who played his wideboy manager.
8. The series was a comedy drama in the vein of the popular ITV series of the time, Minder.
9. The series only lasted for one season and it was concluded by a one-off special.
10. The film was based on the 1978 book of the same name, written by William Alison and John Fairley.
11. Although McGann received praise for his dramatic performance, the drama was never re-broadcast on the BBC.
12. This is because the BBC came under fire from the Conservative Government due to the sensitivity of the subject matter of the Étaples Mutiny in 1917 at the “Bull Ring”, a harsh British Army training ground in Étaples, France.
13. The events that occurred at the Bull Ring remain the subject of debate; the relevant documents will remain sealed until 2017.
14. The critics claimed that the film was inaccurate and displayed a “left-wing bias”.
15. Toplis was a mysterious figure and the film, like the source book, depicted him as an active participant in the Étaples Mutiny, before he was tracked down and killed some years after the end of World War I after he went on a violent criminal rampage.
16. As a result, a minor political crisis in Britain was launched which prompted the BBC to remove all planned repeat screenings of the film.