David John McDonald (better known under his stage name David Tennant) is a Scottish actor who portrayed Bartemius Crouch Junior in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He is best known for his role as the Tenth Doctor in the long-running BBC series Doctor Who.
Tennant made his professional acting debut while still in secondary school. At 16 he acted in an anti-smoking film made by the Glasgow Health Board which aired on television and was also screened in schools. The following year, 1988, he had his first TV role, playing Neil McDonald in an episode of Dramarama.
Tennant's first professional role upon graduating from drama school was in a staging of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui co-starring Ashley Jensen, one of a few plays in which he performed as part of the agitprop 7:84 Theatre Company. He also made an early television appearance in 1994 in the Scottish TV sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt as a transgender (MtF) barmaid called Davina.
Tennant's first major TV part was as the manic depressive Campbell in the Scottish drama series Takin' Over the Asylum (1994). During filming, Tennant met comic actress and writer Arabella Weir. When he moved to London shortly afterwards he lodged with Weir for five years and became godfather to her youngest child. He has subsequently appeared alongside Weir in many productions; as a guest in her spoof television series, Posh Nosh; in the Doctor Who audio drama Exile- during which Weir played an alternate version of the Doctor- and as panellists on the West Wing Ultimate Quiz on More4.
From 1996, Tennant developed 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 (a role he recorded for the 1998 Arkangel Complete Shakespeare production of the play) and Captain Jack Absolute in The Rivals. Albeit he also played the tragic role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, showing his versatility as a professional actor.
In 2000, Tennant appeared at the Royal National Theatre, London, playing the role of Nicholas Beckett in Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw. The plot required Tennant to appear near-naked on stage.
Tennant appeared in several high-profile dramas for the BBC, including Takin' Over the Asylum (1994), 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 Jnr 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.
In 2005, soon after his appearance in Goblet of Fire, Tennant was signed to take over as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who after Christopher Eccleston chose to leave after a single season. Tennant is has been identified by Doctor Who Magazine and other media as one of the most popular actors to play the iconic SF character. In October 2008, he announced that he would be stepping down as The Doctor after appearing in four special episodes scheduled to air by the end of 2009; he was replaced by relative unknown Matt Smith, though Tennant was then confirmed to be reprising his role as the Tenth Doctor alongside Smith and John Hurt in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, Day of the Doctor, in November 2013.
In 2008, coinciding with his announcement regarding Doctor Who, Tennant performed in Hamlet the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. His co-star was Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame. A back injury forced Tennant to undergo surgery towards the end of 2008, but he recovered in time to complete his run on Hamlet and film his final Doctor Who episodes.
Since completing his final scenes in Doctor Who, Tennant has filmed his performance of Hamlet for eventual TV broadcast, and is reportedly being considered for a number of high-profile movie roles. He is also scheduled to host Masterpiece Contemporary, a new version of Masterpiece Theatre, for the American PBS network in the fall of 2009.
Tennant performed alongside Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) in Much Ado About Nothing between May 2011 and September 2011.
He also did voice work opposite Imelda Staunton again playing a protagonist in the Aardman film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!. Her voicing Queen Victoria and him voicing Charles Darwin.
From 2013-2017 Tennant starred as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy on the widely popular BBC series Broadchurch. He is also the voice of the latest incarnation of the Fugitoid in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and of inventor Tycho Reeves in Thunderbirds Are Go!, the 2015 CGI reboot of Gerry Anderson's cult Sci-Fi franchise, Thunderbirds.
In 2013, the miniseries The Politician's Husband aired, in which Tennant starred as power-hungry politician and husband Aiden Hoynes.
Since 2015, Tennant has portrayed Kilgrave in the Netflix original series, Jessica Jones. He has also reprised his role as the Tenth Doctor for a series of Doctor Who audio adventures released by Big Finish Productions.
From 2017-2021, he has starred in a Disney reboot of DuckTales as Scrooge McDuck, airing on both Disney XD and Disney Channel, which ended on 15 March 2021.
In 2019, he voiced Dr Rufus Weller and Caliban, an AI assistant with an early copy of Well's mind, in the Rooster Teeth series gen:LOCK.
Behind the scenes
- Coincidentally, the last chapter that Tennant's Crouch Jnr appears in The Goblet of Fire is called "The Parting of the Ways" - as is the Doctor Who revival Series 1 finale where Eccleston's Ninth Doctor regenerates into Tennant's Tenth Doctor. The amount of time the characters appear in is also very similar, as Crouch Jnr appears for just the first page of the chapter, while the Tenth Doctor appears in the final scene of the episode.
- Tennant's first true solo appearance as the Tenth Doctor occurred in a (canonical) mini-episode entitled Born Again in some circles, set immediately after his regeneration and produced for the 2005 Children in Need Appeal. This episode was first broadcast on 18 November 2005—the same day Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in cinemas.
- Tennant and Freema Agyeman (companion Martha Jones) mention Expelliarmus, J. K. Rowling and the seventh Harry Potter book in the Doctor Who episode The Shakespeare Code.
- During the two-part Doctor Who story Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel, he appears along with Roger Lloyd-Pack - who in Goblet of Fire, appeared as Barty Crouch Snr. Ironically, their roles from Goblet of Fire are reversed in the episode, as Lloyd-Pack is a hero in Goblet of Fire but a villain in Doctor Who while Tennant is a Goblet of Fire villain but the hero in Doctor Who.
- In 2013, IGN ranked Tennant as the best Doctor, along with the Daily Mail and Radio Times
- His wife Georgia (neé Moffett) is the daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison.
- Tennant, David Bradley, John Hurt, have all appeared as the Doctor in Doctor Who.
- Tennant and Bradley also appeared together in the ITV murder series Broadchurch.
- Tennant, Jim Broadbent and Rupert Grint voiced characters in Postman Pat: The Movie.
Notes and references
- Georgia Moffett
- Doctor Who: Vote for your favourite Doctor. IGN (13 November 2013). Retrieved on 2013 November 13.
- David Tennant is voted your favourite Doctor Who of last 50 years in landslide result. Daily Mail (22 November 2013). Retrieved on 2013 November 22.