McGann has been a working actor almost continuously since finishing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1981. He immediately played John the Baptist in a production of "Godspell" in Nottingham. Other stage credits include Finn in "Oi, for England" at London's Royal Court Theatre, Dennis in a production of Joe Orton's "Loot," Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing" and a co-starring role with his brothers Joe, Mark and Stephen in "Yakety Yak."McGann had also begun to make inroads in British TV, appearing in the 1983 series "Give Us a Break." He again played John the Baptist, this time in a modern-dress version of "The Gospels." McGann earned some notice as Jack Worthing in a 1986 TV production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" but garnered more notice the following year in the BBC series "The Monocled Mutineer." Subsequently, he had a featured role in "Catherine the Great" (1994) and co-starred with his brothers in "The Hanging Gale" (1995), a saga about an Irish family struggling in the 1840s during the Great Famine. In the US, he gained new fans when assumed the role of "Doctor Who" in a 1996 Fox TV-movie.On the big screen, McGann has typically played cads or heroes. His first US role was as the soldier who kills the Japanese pilot befriended by Christian Bale in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" (1987). He was the rough, dashing officer Skrebensky in Ken Russell's "The Rainbow" (1988), a caddishly reckless banker romancing Rebecca De Mornay in "Dealers" (1989) and the contemptuous working-class father in "Tree of Hands/Innocent Victim" (also 1989). The latter further demonstrated McGann's subtlety and keen intelligence. He was again able to show this to form in "The Monk" (filmed in 1990; released in the UK in 1992), in which he was a priest pursued by a woman during the Spanish Inquisition. McGann followed with a supporting role in David Fincher's dark "Alien3" (1992) and the rough 'n' tumble remake of "The Three Musketeers" (1993).