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24 September 2014
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David Tennant, who plays the Doctor in Doctor Who

David Tennant's first interview about becoming the tenth Doctor

David Tennant has spoken exclusively to Doctor Who Magazine on the eve of filming about becoming the tenth Time Lord; how he felt about being offered the chance to take on the iconic role; and his love for the series as a child.


So how did it feel when you were asked to be the tenth Doctor?


It was funny, when I first got asked I just laughed! I found it hilarious and impossible! And I remember Russell, very perceptively, saying "Don't say anything now, because I know the experience is quite a weird one."


What did you make of [Series One] just as a viewer?


I thought it was exceptional, actually. As each week went on, I thought it got better and better. And I don't mean to suggest for an instant that it was bad to begin with!


It started so well, and was so sure of itself, and then it just seemed to grow on that, week on week.


It was beautifully judged by everyone. I guess that starts with Russell, who's the creative head, but everyone involved seemed to have such a grasp of what Doctor Who should be, and how it works, and they did it brilliantly I think.


Did the fact that you thought it was so good make it more daunting, knowing that it would be you on the screen come Christmas?


Oh without a doubt it makes you more daunted. With every passing week the series was getting better and better and fulfilling all its promise - and more.


And Chris was so good in it. So sure-footed with what he did. So it left me thinking, "There's an awful lot to live up to here."


And the press coverage just got bigger and bigger, and the audiences seemed to get more and more into it. It really was a television sensation, and that's so rare these days.


What about your lovely companion Rose? Have you been in touch with Billie Piper yet?


Yes I have - we've met up a few times now. I didn't know her before, but obviously I've been admiring her in the show. She's just great. Fantastic. Just absolutely perfect. Spunky and quick and sexy... just the ideal companion really. So I'm very very pleased that she's doing the whole series.


As the first actor to play the Doctor who could properly be described as a 'fan' of the show, do you find yourself constantly being pulled up by the realisation that actually, yes, this is real and you are the tenth Doctor?


Yes, I absolutely do. I don't think anyone who grew up in the Seventies or Eighties could not have those moments, but for me, who watched Doctor Who avidly, and loved the show, it is a bit surreal.


But you have to get beyond that quite quickly. That's what I've been discovering, that the moment of that slight 'out-of-body experience' ends when you realise you have to knuckle down and do it.


Who was your Doctor?


Well I grew up with Tom Baker. And Peter Davison really, 'cos I was - what? - ten, eleven when he was doing it. So they were my two Doctors.


Tom Baker is the one I have the earliest memories of, and then I was still watching it very avidly through Peter Davison.


Any final comments before you start filming?


I don't want to make any pronouncements because I don't think it's for me to do. It's weird all that, because inevitably...


Well, when I was announced, I admit, I did go on [Doctor Who website] Outpost Gallifrey to have a quick look, because I just couldn't help myself, and everyone was encouraging me to go on and see what the fans were saying about me.


So I went on there and the first comment I read was very nice, and the next comment was terribly flattering, and then the next one said something like "I can't bear the sight of him!" And the one after that said "Who?" The one after that said "I'd rather have David Morrissey." The one after that said "That's it! The dream is finished! Somebody who looks like a weasel could never play the Doctor! It's over!"


And then I thought to myself that maybe it's best not to read this sort of thing too much! [laughs] And actually it's not for me. These forums aren't there for the guy playing the part, so I wouldn't pretend to have any pronouncements to make to the fans really.


I just hope people like it. I hope they stick with it and give it a chance. I know everyone loved Chris, and so did I, but hopefully I won't disappoint people!


The full interview with David will appear in the August issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale 21 July.




Category: TV Drama
Date: 21.07.2005
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