"I believe the traditional answer is 'Splendid chaps, all of them.'"
— David Tennant (when asked which Doctor was his favourite, Comic-Con 2009)
A Lothian-born bloke, David Tennant
was born David MacDonald, but had to adopt a screen name for guild reasons
(the "Tennant" coming from the last name of Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys
, whom David read an article about while at school). Best known for being The Tenth Doctor
, as well as the lead role in a Casanova
miniseries. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
, his character is played by Brendan Gleeson for most of the movie, but Tennant does get a few scenes to display his..."eager
" face (his face is wonderfully expressive, as you can see in any of his TV or film work). Played "Dangerous Beans" in a BBC radio adaptation of the Discworld
novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
. Did manage to get a role as a very
convincing pre-op transsexual on Rab C. Nesbitt
. Has auditioned several times for Taggart
and failed each time.
In 2008, he played Hamlet in the Great Performances production of Hamlet
from the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside Patrick Stewart
. The film adaptation can be viewed on PBS
In 2011, he played Benedick opposite Catherine Tate
in a production of Much Ado About Nothing
. In 2013-2014, he played Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Tennant is also a Promoted Fanboy
. A Doctor Who
fan since childhood, he specifically went into acting to play the Doctor (in a strange case of irony
, his first big role was in something called Takin' Over the Asylum
) and has shown himself to be quite knowledgeable about the history of the series in interviews. He Jumped at the Call
for bit parts when Scream of the Shalka
and Big Finish Doctor Who
were produced. Contrary to rumour he did not audition for the role of the Ninth Doctor, but was working with Russell T Davies when the role became available and was asked to play the Tenth Doctor without auditioning. His Doctor is generally considered one of the two best Doctors by the fandom, and he is now regularly winning "Best Doctor" polls.
Contrary to an infamous question on The Million-Pound Drop
, he's not
the longest-running Doctor. That record still belongs to the seven-year run of Tom Baker, although how one counts the "Wilderness Years" makes this up for debate. He left Who
after the 2009 specials. When he initially announced his departure at the National Television Awards, the fangirl (and fanboy
) screams shattered glass fifty miles away. He was replaced by Matt Smith
's Eleventh Doctor.
He married Georgia Moffett
in December 2011 (and has three children with her, Olive born March 2011, Wilfred born May 2013, and he adopted her older son Ty, who Moffett had at age 16), who not only played his Opposite-Sex Clone
in "The Doctor's Daughter"
but is also ex-Doctor Peter Davison
's real-life daughter. (And guess what role inspired Tennant to go into acting? Right in one. David Tennant is now the ultimate Promoted Fanboy
.) Sorry, ladies (and gentlemen
Tennant was the host of Masterpiece Contemporary
for one season.
In 2013 he starred in the worldwide hit Broadchurch
, and is now playing the same role in the American remake, retitled Gracepoint
. As he is expected to appear in the second seasons of both shows, this means he will be playing different versions of the same character concurrently in two different shows, on both sides of the Atlantic.
He was hard to avoid on The BBC
on Christmas 2009 — he was even in the Station Idents
which were repeated concurrently on BBC America.
He is a public supporter of the Labour Party, delivering a very scathing criticism of David Cameron
in early 2010 as well as providing the voiceover for Labour's 2010 Election Broadcast, although he avoided political commentary during his tenure as the Doctor because he felt it was improper. In 2011, he played showy vampire slayer Peter Vincent in the Fright Night (2011)
remake, and romantically confused author James Neil Arber in The Decoy Bride
. In 2012, he had a minor voice role as Professor Huyang, the lightsaber construction droid, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
, a role for which he won a Daytime Emmy. In 2013, he played the role of DI Alec Hardy in Broadchurch
and announced his return for Who for the 50th Anniversary Special. He also hosted Comedy World Cup
, a Panel Game
based on comedy history and trivia.
He likes Kate Bush
, The Proclaimers
, Come Dine With Me
, and Honey Nut Shredded Wheat. Deal with it.
Tropes associated with this actor include:
- Actor Allusion: Referenced his most famous role in a Virgin Media advert, although it was swiftly pulled at the BBC's request. note
- Cast Incest: While playing the Doctor, he met (and is now married to) the actress who played the Doctor's daughter. And now they have a daughter and a son, and he adopted her older son. As noted above, for extra bonus points Georgia Moffett is the real-life daughter of Peter Davison. (Start thinking too hard about how the Actor Allusion works out and you may wind up in My Own Grampa territory.)
- Cuteness Proximity: "I'm not a big fan of cats, traditionally," noted David on an episode of Doctor Who Confidential over footage of him playing with a kitten and subsequently refusing to put it down. His wife bought a dog as a surprise Christmas present in 2013, despite Tennant's previous claims to disliking the idea of keeping animals and especially dogs as pets.
- Defictionalization: Due to the Tenth Doctor lighting the cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics in the episode "Fear Her", there were online petitions to have Tennant light it for real. (Such as this one.) The fans possibly did have something to do with a Doctor actually carrying the Olympic torch, but it was Matt Smith instead of David Tennant, and Smith only ran for one leg of it in Cardiff instead of actually lighting the flame in London. Also, the TARDIS was heard warping in during the opening ceremonies.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: His Beatrice in 2011's Much Ado was real-life close friend and former Who co-star Catherine Tate.
- Large Ham: THE LAWS OF TIME ARE HIS! AND THEY WILL OBEY HIM!!!
- Locked Out of the Loop: When the mysterious (and very important) character River Song first showed up in Doctor Who, Steven Moffat refused to tell anyone who she was. The Doctor's confusion is absolutely genuine.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: He has played a few aggressive, jerky alphas. Then you see him as himself. The disconnect is stunning. Tennant also played Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The sheer contrast between the homicidal lunacy of Barty Crouch Jr. and his adorkable and cuddly interview at the Goblet of Fire premiere is a sight to behold. In his early The Bill appearance where he played a kidnapper. Or for the ultimate example: see him as Brendan Block in Secret Smile. He has also been cast as Stoutlout in Dreamworks Dragons: Riders/Defenders of Berk.
- Older than They Look: He's 43, but could easily be more than a few years younger, like mid-thirties. It has its limits, though. He couldn't quite pull off the 19-year-old Barty Crouch Jr shown in a flashback in Goblet of Fire.
- One of Us: Being a Promoted Fanboy of Who, this is to be expected. Also visible in his video diary footage are Star Wars figures and The West Wing DVDs. He also said he was a fan of Firefly and Serenity at Comic-Con, unfortunately at the same time as denying that his long brown coat was a deliberate reference to them.
- Playing Against Type:
- Promoted Fanboy: Let's count the ways.
- Grew up a huge fan of the Doctor, and got into acting specifically to play him. From an interview from 1996:
"I was convinced from the age of three that I wanted to be Doctor Who. Then, when I discovered that Doctor Who doesn’t exist, I wanted to be the man who played him."
- When he was Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, Jeremy Clarkson asked him about this. Later in the interview, Tennant said that when he 'grew up a bit' he realized how absurdly unlikely such a dream was to come true. It did come true, David.
Clarkson: As a kid, is it true, you wanted to be Doctor Who?
Tennant: Didn't everyone? Who grew up in the 70s?
- Had his first Doctor Who roles in Big Finish and Scream of the Shalka.
- Was a big fan of Sarah Jane Smith; got to work with Elisabeth Sladen in "School Reunion" and "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", and was able to give Sarah Jane the "goodbye" from the Doctor she's been waiting decades for. Then was asked to write the foreword to Sladen's autobiography after her untimely death in 2011.
- Was a big fan of the Fifth Doctor, and got the chance to work with Peter Davison (as the Fifth Doctor) in the special "Time Crash", and then with Davison's daughter Georgia Moffett in "The Doctor's Daughter".
- His favorite doctor is "the one he grew up with", or the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.
- He's married to Davison's daughter Georgia Moffett, not only is he Davison's fan, he's also his son-in-law. Someone give him the Promoted Fanboy crown, please.
- During his "Doctor Who" wrap-up video, he got to march alongside The Proclaimers, who performed the song taking place in the video, "I Will Walk 500 Miles".
- The three of them were labeled as "The Proclaimers and their Biggest Fan".
- He wrote an adorable foreword to the Complete Specials DVD, tellin a short story where he went back in time to his younger self, and Older David has to disappoint Younger David by telling him that he never actually got to face the Zygons. Thanks to "The Day of the Doctor," that's not the case anymore.
- He's a big Star Wars fan, and played a role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During which he got into a pissing match with R2-D2.
- He is to the average Promoted Fanboy as Vespasian was to the average Roman politician.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Giving his incarnation of the Doctor these was his idea, in order to provide a hero for children with glasses (this trope was also originally called "Brainy Specs" after he described them as such in "Time Crash." Ironic, considering that he played an enemy of another hero with glasses.
- Romance on the Set: How he met both former girlfriend Sophia Myles ("The Girl in the Fireplace") and wife Georgia Moffett ("The Doctor's Daughter").
- What Could Have Been:
- He tried out for the part of Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, but lost out to Mads Mikkelsen. Bryan Fuller was so impressed by his audition, however, that he stated he would like to cast him in a guest role on the show playing a psychopathic serial killer one day.
- Back to Who: when asked why he left the show when he did, he said that with Russell T Davies stepping down, it simply seemed like a logical place for it to happen. Steven Moffat tried to convince him to stay for another series, detailing to him the plot for series 5, which caused him to have in his own words "a wobble" and nearly re-consider.