William Hughes (born 1998)

William Hughes (12 May 1998 – 9 July 2018) was a Welsh boxer and child actor from Mumbles, Swansea.[3]

William Hughes
Welsh Boxer William Hughes in a Spring 2018 fight.jpg
Hughes (left) landing a blow in February 2018
Born(1998-05-12)12 May 1998
Swansea, Wales
Died9 July 2018(2018-07-09) (aged 20)
Corfu, Greece


As a child, Hughes appeared in several episodes of the television programme Doctor Who as the boyhood incarnation of the Doctor's greatest rival, the Master, a character he played simultaneously alongside John Simm, appearing in the episodes "The Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords" in 2007, as well as in the two-part special "The End of Time" in 2009-2010 through archive footage.[4] He then appeared in the spin-off Torchwood in 2008, as a different character called Alex Grainger in the serial "Sleeper".[4] From the Master's first appearance in 1971, Hughes was the youngest actor to portray the character.


Hughes began boxing at age 9[5] in Bon-y-maen, at the ABC Boxing gym[3] and won three Welsh titles. He became the protege of Enzo Maccarinelli, the Welsh World Champion boxer, and won a British Championship at the GB Amateur Boxing Championships in 2011 for Wales, in the 42 kg class.[1] He continued with the sport, and in early 2017 he fought in a charity white-collar boxing exhibition match, raising money for cancer research, working with sports company Ultra White Collar Boxing.[6] From autumn 2017, he joined the Elite Athlete Programme at Queen Mary University of London,[5] also studying a degree in Finance there.[3] In 2018, he also fought with the club Repton.[7] With Queen Mary's, he won Gold at the 2017/18 British Universities and Colleges Sport championships.[8] He shares a name with the 1930s Welsh champion boxer William, or Billy, "Kid" Hughes.


In July 2018, Hughes took a trip to the Greek island of Corfu to celebrate finishing his exams from his first year of studies at Queen Mary's. On 9 July - the last night of his holiday - Hughes was found unresponsive following an attempted suicide. He was transferred to hospital but could not be resuscitated. Following an inquest, which concluded the 20-year-old had taken his own life, his body was flown back to the UK.[9][10]

His former school in Swansea, Bishop Vaughan Catholic School, released a statement sending their thoughts and prayers to his family and saying that he was "an exceptionally talented sportsman" during his time there. His coach and friend, Enzo Maccarinelli, posted a tweet and released statements calling his "little protege" "a tremendously talented kid" with "dreams of competing as a professional [boxer]" and "everything going for him", and saying that he was "heartbroken"[11][12]

Among other tributes shared by fans and supporters was a quote from the 2007 Doctor Who episode "The Lazarus Experiment", where the Doctor discusses immortality and concludes that "Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It's not the time that matters, it's the person".[13]


Year Title Role Notes
2007-2010 Doctor Who The Master (age 8) 3 episodes
2008 Torchwood Alex Grainger Episode: Sleeper


  1. ^ a b "2011 GB Schoolboy 3 Nation Championships". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  2. ^ "BUCS Boxing Championships 2018 – Men's Competition". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c News, Doctor Who. "William Hughes 1998-2018". doctorwhonews.net. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "William Hughes Doctor Who Guide". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b "QMUL Elite Athlete Programme: William Hughes". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  6. ^ "William Hughes is fundraising for Cancer Research UK". JustGiving. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Evening of Amateur Boxing Sunderland Stadium of Light". GB Boxing. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ "BUCS 2017-18 Boxing Day Three". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Promising boxer dies in Corfu celebrating end of first year uni exams". Metro Online. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Dad's grief after son, 20, took his own life on last night of Corfu lads' holiday". Mirror Online. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Tributes paid to young Swansea boxer who died in Greece". BBC Wales. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  12. ^ "A 'tremendously talented' young Swansea man is understood to have been found dead on a Greek island". Wales Online. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Fan responds to Doctor Who Cast and Crew account on Twitter". Retrieved 15 July 2018.

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