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What Was David Tennant Doing When He Was Asked to be the Tenth Doctor?

David Tennant has revealed what he was doing when he was asked to play the Tenth Doctor – and it turns out, Russell T. Davies approached him for the role in a very personal way.
Because the pair had worked together on Casanova, and Davies knew what a big fan of Doctor Who Tennant is, he afforded him a glimpse at Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston in action. David said:

“I was in Russell T. Davies’s front room, who was the showrunner. He’d just completed season 1 and he was showing me bits of it. And I thought he was just showing me because I was interested and because we’d just worked together on another show, a show called Casanova, which he’d also written… So he showed me a few bits and then he sort of dropped the bombshell that they were looking for someone to take over – so it sort of knocked the wind out of me, really.”

You might think it would be an easy decision, but apparently not:

“I took a sort of week or so to really think it through. It’s exciting and then of course there’s a reality check that you go through. Where you go ‘Oh, I actually have to turn up and not break it, and not disappoint my 8-year-old self.’ And that’s the hardest thing… And then I did just one day wake up and think ‘What’s the debate?’ Because you go round the houses thinking of all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it, why it might be a good thing, and then I just thought ‘Come on, this is an extraordinary opportunity to work with an extraordinary writer on a show that you love’.”

It’s always fascinating to hear about the moment people’s lives change – for anyone taking the lead in Doctor Who, one of those moments is naturally when they receive that news. And Tennant’s seems to be in line with the experiences of many, including Steven Moffat, who took a few days to consider the offer of becoming showrunner after Davies departed the show.
Okay, so let’s imagine you’re an actor (well, you might be, for all I know) – would you take up the offer straight away or would you be like William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time and want to see scripts first? Or perhaps you’d consider the pressure too much…?
(And yes, the headline sounds more judgmental than I’d hoped. Twitter will pick me apart, damn it.)

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

What Was David Tennant Doing When He Was Asked to be the Tenth Doctor?

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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