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Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

Publicity photo of David Tennant
David John MacDonald
Role: Tenth Doctor
Date of Birth: 18 April 1971 (age 38)
Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland
Other names: David Tennant
Notable Works: see credits section
This article is written from the Real World point of view. TARDIS

David Tennant (born David John McDonald, 18th April 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland) is the tenth actor to portray the Doctor, assuming the role from Christopher Eccleston at the conclusion of DW: The Parting of the Ways. He made his final regular appearance in the role in DW: The End of Time, a special two-part episode that concluded on New Year's Day, 2010.



Before Doctor Who

David grew up in Ralston, Renfrewshire, where his father was the local minister, and later Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. At the age of three, David told his parents that he wanted to become an actor, largely because of his early enjoyment of Doctor Who. Although such an aspiration might have been common for a Scottish child of the 1970s, Tennant says he was "absurdly single-minded" in pursuing his goal. He adopted the professional name "Tennant" — inspired by Neil Tennant, the lead singer of the Pet Shop Boys — because there was another David McDonald already on the books of the actors' union Equity.

Moving to London in the early 1990s, Tennant lodged with comic actress and writer Arabella Weir, with whom he became close friends and later godfather to one of her children. (He later appeared as a guest in her spoof television series Posh Nosh.) Tennant began his career in the British theatre, frequently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company for whom he specialised in comic roles such as Touchstone in As You Like It, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Captain Jack Absolute in The Rivals, although he also played the tragic role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.

He has appeared in several high-profile dramas for the BBC, including He Knew He Was Right (2004), Blackpool (2004), Casanova (2005) and The Quatermass Experiment (2005). In film, he has appeared in Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things, and as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One of his earliest big screen roles was in Jude (1996), in which he shared a scene with his Doctor Who predecessor Christopher Eccleston, playing a drunken undergraduate who challenges Eccleston's Jude to prove his intellect.

He has lent his voice to several supporting characters in Big Finish audio plays based on the 1963 version of Doctor Who. He was also a minor participant to the first "official" Ninth Doctor story, the BBC animated webcast Scream of the Shalka. Not originally cast in the production, Tennant happened to be recording a radio play in a neighbouring studio, and when he discovered what was being recorded next door managed to convince the director to give him a small role. He also played the title role in Big Finish's adaptation of Bryan Talbot's The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (2005).

Doctor Who

Tennant's name was put forward as a possible candidate to take on the role of the Ninth Doctor for the new series that began in March 2005, although the role eventually went to Christopher Eccleston. Even though he was considered for a part in The Unquiet Dead as the character Gabriel Sneed.With Eccleston's announcement on 30 March that he would not be returning for a second series, the BBC confirmed Tennant as his replacement in a press release on 16 April. He made his first, brief appearance in the episode The Parting of the Ways (2005) after the regeneration scene, and also appeared in a special 7-minute mini-episode shown as part of the 2005 Children in Need appeal, broadcast on 18 November 2005. He was the third choice for the role. The second choice was David Walliams who turned down the role because he was stuck in the tight schedule of the third season of Little Britain. The first choice was an unknown and unnamed by the BBC actor who spoke in a cockney accent, he didn't get the role because he moved with his wife and daughter down to Australia.

He began filming the new series of Doctor Who in late July 2005. His first full-length outing as the Doctor was a 60-minute special, The Christmas Invasion, which was broadcast on Christmas Day 2005, and followed by "Attack of the Graske," a special interactive story available to BBC Red Button subscribers. . He was also seen in early December in the ITV drama Secret Smile. In December 2005, The Stage newspaper listed Tennant at #6 in its "Top Ten" listing of the most influential UK television artists of the year, citing his roles in Blackpool, Casanova, Secret Smile and Doctor Who.

Unlike his predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, who confessed to having only a passing interest in the 1963 version of Doctor Who, Tennant is a longtime fan of the series, and has exhibited extensive knowledge of its history and trivia in interviews, podcasts and DVD commentaries (in March 2009 he gave a demonstration of his knowledge of the franchise during a mock edition of Mastermind during the BBC's Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon). He has often expressed enthusiasm about fulfilling his childhood dream. He remarked to an interviewer for GWR FM, "Who wouldn't want to be the Doctor? I've even got my own TARDIS!" Like Peter Davison before him, Tennant was knowledgeable enough about the program to ask for his character to be credited as "The Doctor" instead of "Doctor Who", as had been done during Eccleston's tenure. He also has the distinction of being the only Doctor actor to provide DVD commentary for another Doctor's story when he recorded a special "Easter egg" commentary for the DVD Special Edition release of DW: The Five Doctors.

Outside the TV series itself, Tennant is a ubiquitous presence on various ancillary productions related to Doctor Who, and it is not inaccurate to suggest he might be one of the most accessible actors to ever play the Doctor. He has regularly appeared in Doctor Who Confidential — a program for which he also notably picked up his first television directing credit - and in fact has conducted a number of the interviews for the program himself. He was the narrator for Doctor Who: A New Beginning, the effective pilot for Confidential, and an occasional guest on Totally Doctor Who. He also recorded extensive behind the scenes video diaries of his work on Doctor Who, which became highlights of the Series 2 and 3 DVD box sets; he only recorded two for the Series 4 set, but recorded more for the 2009 Specials DVD Box Set released in early 2010 relating to his final episodes (on some of the Series 3-related video diaries he recruited his then-girlfriend Sophia Myles to handle the camera). He has provided various video content for both the BBC's Doctor Who website, mainly in the form of short question-and-answer sessions. He has also taken part in licensed spin-off productions, recording audio-book readings of several BBC Books novels, as well as narrating several original audio books for BBC Audiobooks. Tennant also narrated Doctor Who: A New Dimension, which featured the various actors who portrayed Doctor Who over the years.

Technically speaking, Tennant has actually played four roles in the televised Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Cassandra O'Brien.Δ17 when she briefly takes over the Doctor's body (DW: New Earth), John Smith who may be technically the Doctor but is depicted in the episodes Human Nature and The Family of Blood as a completely different personality, and most recently a clone of the Doctor, referred to as the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor.

He has also parodied the Doctor on several occasions, such as in a Comic Relief skit with future companion Catherine Tate, a Dead Ringers skit in which he portrayed a "regenerated" Tony Blair, and as the Doctor himself in the final episode of Extras. His guest appearances on general entertainment programmes like The Friday Night Project and Jonathan Ross have also usually contained elements of Doctor Who parody.

In January 2006, Tennant took a one-day break from shooting Doctor Who to play Richard Hoggart in a dramatisation of the 1960 Lady Chatterley's Lover obscenity trial. Written by Andrew Davies and directed by Doctor Who's James Hawes for digital television channel BBC Four, Hoggart's son Simon Hoggart praised Tennant's portrayal in the drama in The Guardian newspaper. "[E]xtremely convincing — the suit, the hair, the Yorkshire accent, and trickiest of all, the speech rhythms. The only thing wrong is his sideburns. To do this film he had to take 24 hours off from making Doctor Who in Cardiff and, as he explained, the sideburns wouldn't grow back in a day."[1]

Also in January 2006, readers of the British gay and lesbian newspaper The Pink Paper voted Tennant the "Sexiest Man in the Universe" over David Beckham and Brad Pitt. Tennant has also on several occasions unseated perennial favourite Tom Baker in the "Favourite Doctor" category in recent polls conducted by Doctor Who Magazine.

In 2007 it was announced that, rather than air a full season in 2009, a series of specials would instead be broadcast, with the series returning as a weekly offering in 2010. This led to Tennant signing on to star in a production of Hamlet, opposite Patrick Stewart. In 2008 rumours began circulating as to whether Tennant would continue in Doctor Who; this was finally confirmed in October 2008 when Tennant, upon winning the 2008 National Television Award for favourite actor, announced that he would be leaving Doctor Who after the 2009 specials. It was subsequently announced that 26-year old Matt Smith will take on the role from 2010.

Tennant spent the last part of 2008 preparing to play Hamlet, although his run was interrupted due to a long-standing back injury. By January 2009 he had recovered and commenced filming the first of his final four special episodes. It was subsequently announced that Tennant would recreate his stage performance as Hamlet for a planned television broadcast/theatrical release. In the summer of 2009, Tennant became the first lead actor from Doctor Who to appear at the San Diego Comic Con.

Besides the five specials to be broadcast between 2008-2010 (beginning with The Next Doctor which was technically considered an extension of Series 4), Tennant has also been involved in a number of Who-related side projects. In October 2009 he appeared as the Doctor in a two-part episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.[2] He also appeared (as himself) in a Doctor Who skit involving John Barrowman broadcast during the series Tonight's the Night. Tennant also voiced the Doctor for a second animated serial, Dreamland, which aired in late 2009, and just before Christmas 2009 the BBC released a series of short holiday-themed promos featuring Tennant as the Doctor.

After Doctor Who

Tennant's post-Doctor Who career has begun to take shape. His first post-Who assignment was to film a movie version of his Hamlet performance opposite Patrick Stewart. This is scheduled for US theatrical release in the fall of 2009, followed by US broadcast on PBS and a UK network in 2010.

Also in the fall of 2009, Tennant began hosting the PBS drama anthology series Masterpiece Contemporary in the US (this is simply a presenter's position as it has not yet been announced if he'll appear in any of the productions featured).

Although fan and media rumors have linked Tennant to other high-profile projects, such as the Peter Jackson-produced adaptation of The Hobbit, none of these rumors have, as yet, been confirmed. At the July 2009 San Diego ComicCon, Tennant indicated he had major projects under consideration, but did not elaborate. Also in July, it was announced that Tennant would be appearing in St. Trinian's: The Secret of Fritton's Gold, the second film in the rebooted Trinian's franchise. The film also features at least two of Tennant's Doctor Who guest stars: Fenella Woolgar and Talulah Riley. He has also been signed to co-star with Simon Pegg in the upcoming John Landis film, Burke and Hare.

In November 2009 it was announced that Tennant will star in the pilot for Rex is Not Your Lawyer, a planned comedic law drama which, if accepted, will air on NBC in the United States. This makes Tennant the first Doctor actor to be given a lead role in an American TV series after leaving Doctor Who. In reporting his casting, the Hollywood Reporter compared the situation to Hugh Laurie moving from UK comedy series like Blackadder to American superstardom on House.[2] Production of the pilot episode, which pairs Tennant with fellow science fiction TV alumnus Jerry O'Connell (Sliders), was underway when Tennant's final Doctor Who episodes were broadcast in UK and America. In late January, it was reported that NBC had passed on the pilot for now, though the potential still exists that the series may be picked up later in 2010.[3]

List of credits

Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Dramas

As Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood




  • Jude (1996)
  • Bite (1997)
  • L.A. Without a Map (1998)
  • The Last September (1999)
  • One Eyed Jacques (2001)
  • Sweetnightgoodheart (2001)
  • Nine 1/2 Minutes (2003)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire (2005) (Barty Crouch Jr.)
  • 2027 (2005) (Valeri K.)
  • Free Jimmy (2006)
  • St Trinian's: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009) (Sir Piers Pomfrey)
  • Hamlet (2010)


  • Much Ado about Nothing Benedick BBC Radio 4 (2001)
  • Dixon of Dock Green PC Andy Crawford BBC Radio 4 (2005)


  • The Princess and the Goblin Curdie
  • Antigone
  • Jump the Life to Come
  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
  • Scotland Matters
  • What the Butler Saw Nick (1995) Royal National Theatre
  • Vassa — Scenes from Family Life Pavel (1996) Albery Theatre
  • As You Like It Touchstone (1996)Royal Shakespeare Company
  • The General From America Hamilton (1996) Royal Shakespeare Company
  • The Herbal Bed Jack Lane (1996) Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Hurly Burly Mickey (1997)
  • Black Comedy Brinsley Miller
  • Edward III (staged reading) Edward, the Black Prince (1999)
  • An Experienced Woman Gives Advice Kenny (1999)
  • Comedy of Errors Antipholus of Syracuse (2000) Royal Shakespeare Company
  • The Rivals Jack (2000) Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Romeo and Juliet Romeo (2000) Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Comedians (2001)
  • The Real Inspector Hound Moon
  • The Lobby Hero Jeff (2002) Donmar Warehouse
  • Push-Up Robert (2002) Royal Court Jerwood Theatre
  • The Glass Menagerie Tom
  • Long Day's Journey Into Night Edmund
  • Tartuffe Valere
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Nick
  • Hay Fever Simon, Edinburgh Royal Lyceum
  • Merlin Arthur, Edinburgh Royal Lyceum
  • King Lear Edgar
  • The Pillowman Katurian (2003) Royal National Theatre
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Slab Boys Trilogy Alan, Young Vic
  • Look Back in Anger Jimmy Porter (2005), Edinburgh Royal Lyceum
  • Hamlet Hamlet (2008), Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Love's Labours Lost Berowne (2008), Royal Shakespeare Company

BBC webcasts


  • Theatre Management Association Best Actor Award: The Glass Menagerie
  • 2000 — Nominated for Ian Charleson Award (Best classical actor under 30): Comedy of Errors
  • 2003 — Nominated for Olivier Award as Best Actor: Lobby Hero
  • 2005 — Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland, Best Male Performance: Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger
  • 2006,2007,2008,2009/2010 (awards ceremony shown in January 2010 instead of October 2009) — ITV National Television Awards, Best Drama Actor, The Doctor in Doctor Who


  1. [1]
  2. Hollywood Reporter story
  3. Entertainment Weekly report

External links

  • David Tennant at the Internet Movie Database
  • Official Site
  • Page focussing on Tennant's theatre work
  • "David Tennant Conquers TV" - BBC News Article (16th April 2005)
  • Profile BBC website
  • David Tennant: His days of blissful anonymity are numbered, The Independent, (07-December-2005), accessed 22-July-2008
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at David_Tennant. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "David Tennant" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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