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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Talking Shop: Paul McGann
Paul McGann
Paul McGann plays Nash in the BBC drama True Dare Kiss
Actor Paul McGann is best known for starring alongside Richard E Grant in cult film Withnail and I.

The 48-year-old, who started acting at school, appears in a new BBC One six-part drama called True Dare Kiss.

Known for keeping his personal life out of the media, McGann speaks to the BBC News website about playing Doctor Who and kissing Catherine Zeta Jones.

What attracted you to the part of Nash in One True Kiss?

He seemed somebody I could play, about my age, about my background. It is rather humorous, but also dark and dramatic. I also like it as it is rather grown up.

You played the eighth Doctor Who in 1996. What do you think of the recent BBC series of the show and the current doctor who is played by David Tennant?

I watched one episode and I liked it. I liked him actually, very much because he's so into it. He's such a fan as well as being a brilliant actor, so I think it's in safe hands. I'm just glad to see it back. The fans are thrilled to bits.

Is Doctor Who something you would have wanted to continue with?

At the time I would have liked to have continued it when we did the telly pilot, but you know when enough's enough, when it's over, it's over.

Paul McGann
McGann played the eighth Doctor Who in 1996

You broke rather a long standing tradition when Doctor Who kissed his companion. Were you surprised at the fans reaction?

I never saw the kiss and I wasn't really into the history of it. I wasn't really aware when I read the script that for him to kiss anybody was such a big thing, but I still get letters about it.

Why did you turn the part down originally?

I didn't want to do it as I didn't think I was suitable at all. I thought they were having me on.

At the time it was comic actors and comedians being touted for the job so I was just curious why they were asking me, I'm no comic actor. I managed to resist it for about a year and then took the job.

What made you change your mind and take the part?

A guy called Phil Segal (who was the executive producer of the film), whose enthusiasm finally swayed me. He basically exceeded all of my wishes. He was very clever and very diplomatic.

I would say "that's what I do, I would do it that way" and he would say "ok we'll do it like that then".

He'd seen me in something and I had long hair and I think he liked the look of me.

Richard E Grant
McGann and Grant worked together again recently

Withnail and I helped launch your film career, would you consider working with Richard E Grant again?

Actually Richard and I made a short together about six months ago. It was a laugh, you know we had a nice time.

It was good to work with him again. It is about two middle-aged business rivals who are incredibly childish and business rivals.

It's called Always Crashing in the Same Car which is the same title of a song by David Bowie. But it's a completely different project to Withnail and I and it's not a spin-off.

In the mid-90s you hit the headlines after being photographed with Catherine Zeta Jones. How do you feel about the media prying into your personal life?

I think you have to accept that it is how it is. If you're in the so-called public eye you have to watch your Ps and Qs.

If you're going to get photographed kissing the nation's sweetheart you're going to get it. It's fairly arbitrary - she's no longer the nation's sweetheart and nobody cares what I'm doing, so it's tomorrow's chip paper. It's really not worth losing any sleep over, nobody died.

Catherine Zeta Jones
McGann was photographed kissing Catherine Zeta Jones

Are you still in contact with Catherine Zeta Jones?

Wouldn't that be nice? We just lost contact as people do over 20 years or whatever it is.

Are you surprised at how well she has done in Hollywood after starring in The Darling Buds of May?

Not particularly surprised, as I worked with her and she is actually fantastic. She's a very brilliant actor, I mean deceptively good. In those days I think her acting was the last thing people probably concentrated on.

This girl was actually rather clever as has been proved. You've got to admire her, she went to Hollywood and worked hard.

She's a good professional. I remember her being honest, friendly and great to work with. She's a great success story and it should be celebrated as that.

Paul McGann was speaking to BBC News entertainment reporter Fiona Pryor.

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