Stay on target Happy birthday, Sylvester McCoy!Born Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith—a far cry from the name he made famous—the Scottish actor is more than a Panama hat and question-mark umbrella.From a young age, McCoy was decidedly undecided about what to do with his life. Varied interests led him down the path of the righteous: From age 12 to 16, he trained to be a priest. Hoping to gain a more worldly perspective, McCoy later decided to enter the monkhood. Luckily for the burgeoning teenager—about to discover the delights of his female pupils—he was rejected on account of his young age.Upon finishing his education, McCoy took a trip down to London, from which he never returned: He snagged a job working for an insurance company, where he stayed until he was 24.Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor (via BBC America)Restless as ever, the tenacious 20-something began selling tickets and keeping the books at London’s Roundhouse Theatre, where he eventually joined the Ken Campbell Roadshow, a small group that performed in unconventional venues like local pubs.Starring alongside the likes of Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Jane Wood (Legend), and Dave Hill (The Full Monty), McCoy was discovered by Joan Littlewood, who invited the actor to join her acclaimed Theater Workshop.The rest, as they say, is history.The Seventh Doctor and Ace (Sophie Aldred) (via BBC America)McCoy was starring in the National Theater’s production of “The Pied Piper,” when he learned the BBC was on the hunt for a new lead actor to replace Colin Baker in Doctor Who.He first appeared as the Seventh Doctor in 1987—wearing a Baker-esque blond wig during the regeneration scene—and stuck around until the show ended two years later with Survival, the final episode of the classic series.What began as a clown-ish character, playing to McCoy’s comedic strengths, soon turned much darker than his previous incarnations; the Doctor’s mysterious, cunning manipulator often used people like chess pieces to combat foe Fenric.Ace (Sophie Aldred) and the Seventh Doctor (via BBC America)Under the layers of humor and Machiavellian genius, however, lay a warm, affectionate alien time traveler who built a strong bond with many of his companions.McCoy’s personal bond with Doctor Who lingered for years, as he reprised his role as the Seventh Doctor in 1993’s charity special Dimensions in Time, the 1996 Doctor Who television movie (starring Eighth Doctor Paul McGann), and 2013’s one-off 50th-anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.Here’s to McCoy, who turns 74 today. (And, fingers crossed, will feature in the 75th anniversary Doctor Who special.)Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster
Falls Creek, Victoria, finally welcomes a ski lodge worthy of its pristine alpine surrounds. Astra Lodge has set new standards in the Australian ski industry with the family-owned hotel recently winning the title of Australia’s Best Boutique Ski Lodge 2016 at the World Ski Awards in Kitzbühel, Austria. The newly renovated ski-in, ski-out lodge seduces guests with exceptional features including panoramic mountain views, heated magnesium mineral pool and fine-dining restaurant.Located within the heart of Falls Creek Village, Astra Lodge is just a short private over-snow ride away from village parking. Boasting interiors that feature local design, the materials are robust and natural. Grant Amon Architects has achieved a refined European alpine look complete with leather, timber, stone and tiles all locally sourced and eco-friendly. Rooms feature views of the stunning surrounds, while interiors include luxury furnishings that have been hand-sourced from around the world with a keen eye for detail.Rosy Seaton – who co-owns the lodge with her husband, Seumas – grew up locally. Rosy has placed focus on Astra achieving world-class service while remaining family friendly, with a charming intimacy that puts the lodge in a league of its own.“We understand how important family time is on a ski holiday, when the kids aren’t in ski school they can enjoy playing in the communal kids’ room or toasting marshmallows on the open fire in the Astra lounge,” explains Rosy.The thoughtful and friendly staff are led by GMs Tom Simpson and his wife Sally who ensure that every guest receives a personalised experience that is tailored to their needs.“We love to see all guests relaxed and comfortable. We take customer service very seriously, beginning before they even arrive. It’s our privilege to have such a beautiful venue to host our guests within,” says Simpson.The lodge includes an Italian fine-dining restaurant and premium wine cellar that is sure to be a natural drawcard even for those who aren’t staying as guests. Helmed by hatted chef, Emma Handley, the restaurant focuses on the best locally sourced and seasonal produce with pasta made in-house daily.One of the most desirable attractions for insiders at Falls Creek are the services of world-renowned Skimetric Director, Adalbert Leibetseder. When he’s not training and fine-tuning the equipment of world champion skiers in Austria, Bert calls Astra Lodge his Southern-Hemisphere winter home and is taking bookings for his personalised, ski programme and boot fittings during the Australian ski season. This experience takes place only at Astra Lodge and complements a new state-of-the-art ski and boot drying room.Massages, physiotherapy treatments and wet and dry saunas will all help to re-energise weary skiers and riders at the end of the day. The day spa at Astra lets guests relax with a dram of whisky with the barber over a hot towel shave and moustache groom, or a glass of champagne while the onsite hair stylist completes a fresh blow dry or cut to help remove the dreaded helmet hair.Astra Lodge is currently taking bookings and will open 10 June for the 2017 ski season.