David Tennant really is an exceptional actor. That much is evident from his three (and a bit) series as the Tenth Doctor. His role as the Time Lord propelled him into the public spotlight, and led to him bagging some huge parts.
Seriously, look at his credits! United; How to Train Your Dragon; Einstein and Eddington; Extras; Scrooge McDuck in this year’s Duck Tales… If you’re an actor, it’s a truly enviable CV.
But what are his most iconic roles so far…?
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
His appearance as Barty Crouch Jr. is actually a pretty slight one; nonetheless, it’s a testament to Tennant’s performance that his remains one of the most memorable and haunting of the film.
This fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise was released in 2005, just as he was announced to be taking on the titular part in Doctor Who. But Crouch is a drastically different part: cruel, evil, and manipulate (okay, so the Doctor can be the latter). It really is a shame that the character wasn’t brought back for a further film.
Of course, his fictional father in Harry Potter is one Roger Lloyd-Pack, who would go on to play John Lumic in 2006’s Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel opposite Tennant.
Other familiar faces in the film include Mark Williams (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship); Jeff Rawle (Frontios); David Bradley (An Adventure in Space and Time); Shirley Henderson (Love & Monsters); and Michael Gambon (A Christmas Carol).
4. Jessica Jones
David plays a similarly sinister role in Marvel’s Jessica Jones, a Netflix exclusive starring Krysten Ritter as the titular character.
Tennant plays a figure in Jess’ past – and as she soon discovers, her present too: Kilgrave, known to comic fans as the Purple Man. He has the ability to make anybody do whatever he wants. It’s that simple. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as invincibility, super strength, or turning into a giant green bodybuilder, but it’s potentially more dangerous. In some ways, Kilgrave is more powerful than the Avengers.
And David really plays him beautifully. He manages to be truly scary. Horrifying, even. Yet, there’s still a charm somewhere underneath it. You’d never go so far as to say he’s a likeable villain, but at least you get his motivations, making him, at times, slightly sympathetic (not as much as the Kingpin in Daredevil, however).
Anyone who plays such a great enemy for Marvel deserves an iconic status.
Should this be higher? Probably. So many actors have played Hamlet, though, that his face might not be the first you think of when someone mentions the Shakespeare play. It might be Ian McKellan, or Benedict Cumberbatch, or Simon Russell Beale. Still, for scores of fans, Tennant is the tragic Prince of Denmark.
Indeed, it’s commendable that his theatrical parts have drawn new generations to the work of the great Bard; equally, David does so much for the Royal Shakespeare Company, it’d be wrong not to talk about his performances.
His Hamlet is a manic dancer; capricious, funny, moody, intimidating, and certainly fills up the stage. It’s a real tour de force, and you can see why it got a screening on Boxing Day 2009, just prior to his final regular episode of Doctor Who.
Sci-fi fans will enjoy seeing Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation; X-Men), while other Doctor Who names include Peter De Jersey (The Day of the Doctor); John Woodvine (The Armageddon Factor); and David Ajala (The Beast Below).
When assessing his most iconic roles, you have to factor in which parts carved a space in the public consciousness. DI Alec Hardy has definitely done that.
Penned by Chris Chibnall (42), this ITV production captured the nation when the first series debuted in 2013: it seemed that everyone had a theory about who killed Daniel Latimer. The main story, though, was how this murder ripper the seaside town of Broadchurch apart. Hardy was a key part of this – an outsider, trying to escape a troubled past, and living somewhat in disgrace.
Yet he found some redemption in his partnership with DS Ellie Miller, played wonderfully by Olivia Colman (The Eleventh Hour). Their dynamic captivated and entertained; without these two strong leads, who can say how Broadchurch would’ve been remembered?
With further Who alumni including Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Jonathan Bailey (Time Heist), and Eve Myles (The Unquiet Dead), the following two series might not be as critically acclaimed as the original run of episodes, but it’s been a key player in the televisual landscape for the past few years.
1. Doctor Who
Well, was there ever really any doubt? Of course, David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor will go down in history as his most iconic role – not just “so far”, but forever. He’s as synonymous with the show as Tom Baker, the Daleks, and the TARDIS.
Consider Doctor Who‘s monumental resurrection: Christopher Eccleston made it popular, and David Tennant took that success to heights not reached in decades. He’s really captured the public’s imagination, in a way few other TV characters can: that’s the power of the Doctor.
And it’s rather magical to think that the same power drove Tennant to become the Doctor, that it was his love for the show that made him pursue a career in acting, and become an icon.