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Spotlight On: David Tennant

David Tennant in Broadchurch


Date Of Birth: 18th April 1971

Born: Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland

Birth Name:  David John McDonald

Height: 1.85 metres (6.1 feet)


Biography


At an early age David Tennant (then called David McDonald), the son of a Presbyterian minister, decided he wanted to become an actor after watching the cult sci-fi series Doctor Who. David was brought up in Bathgate, West Lothian and Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland where he attended Paisley Grammar school and whilst there he wrote about his desire to become a professional actor and to play the role of The Doctor. Years later his dreams would come full circle when, in 2005, he would take over the role of The Doctor in the relaunched show following the departure of Christopher Eccleston. He would star opposite former pop star Billie Piper and would become a household name.

 

David made his first television appearance (which was also his first professional acting job) when he was 16, after his father sent some photos of him to a casting director at Scottish television. He attended a youth theatre group at weekends run by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD - now renamed the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland [RCS]) and, when he was 16, he auditioned for and won a place at the RSAMD; the youngest student to ever do so.

 

He worked regularly in theatre and TV after leaving drama school, and his first big break came in 1994 when he was cast in a lead role in the Scottish drama 'Takin' Over the Asylum'. He then moved to London where his career thrived and, most notably, he spent several years as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and took lead roles in the critically acclaimed TV dramas 'Blackpool' and 'Casanova' and later 'Doctor Who'.

 

Since leaving Doctor Who in 2010 his career has gone from strength to strength, with lead roles in films such as 'Fright Night', 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' and 'St. Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold' and in TV series including 'Broadchurch' and 'Spies of Warsaw'.

 

Filmography


1987: Anti Smoking film (Glasgow Health Board) played the part of Jim

1988: Dramarama (TV Series) played the part of Neil McDonald in Series 6, Episode 13 (The Secret Of Croftmore) 

1992: Bunch Of Fives (TV Series) played the part of 'Policeman' in Episode 5 (Miles Better)

1992: Strathblair (TV Series) played the part of 'Hitchhiker' in Series 1

1993: Rab C Nesbitt (TV Series) played the part of Davina in Series 3, Episode 2 (Touch)

1993: The Brown Man played the part of 'Ventriloquist'

1993: Spaces (Short Film) played the part of Vinny

1994: Takin' Over The Asylum (TV Series) played the part of Campbell Bain

1995: The Tales Of Para Handy (TV Series) played the part of John MacBryde in Series 2, Episode 2 (Para Handy's Piper)

1995: The Bill (TV Series) played the part of Steve Clemens in Series 11, Episode 128 (Deadline)

1996: A Mug's Game (TV Series) played the part of Gavin in Series 1, Episode 4

1996: Jude (Film) played the part of drunken undergraduate

1997: Holding The Baby (TV Series) played the part of Nurse in Series 1, Episode 2

1997: Conjuring Shakespeare (TV Series) played the part of Angelo in Episode 6 (Like A Virgin)

1997: Bite (Film) played the part of Alastair Galbraith

1998: Duck Patrol (TV Series) played the part of Simon "Darwin" Brown

1998: L.A. Without A Map (Film) played the part of Richard

1999: The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (TV Series) played the part of Max Valentine in Series 2, Episode 1 (Death At The Opera)

1999: Love In The 21st Century (TV Series) played the part of John in Episode 1 (Reproduction)

1999: The Last September (Film) played the part of Captain Gerald Colthurst

2000: Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (TV Series) played the part of Gordon Stylus in Series 1, Episode 1 (Drop Dead)

2000: Being Considered (Film) played the part of Larry

2001: People Like Us (TV Series) played the part of Rob Harker in Series 2, Episode 4 (The Actor)

2001: High Stakes (TV Series) played the part of Gaz Whitney in Series 2, Epsiode 1 (The Magic Word)

2001: Only Human (TV Series) played the part of Tyler in the Pilot episode

2001: Sweetnight Goodheart (Short Film) played the part of Peter

2002: Foyle's War (TV Series) played the part of Theo Howard in Series 1, Episode 3 (A Lesson In Murder)

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2002: Nine 1/2 Minutes (Short Film) played the part of Charlie

2003: Terri McIntyre (TV Series) played the part of Greig Millar in Series 2

2003: Trust (TV Series) played the part of Gavin MacEwan in Series 1, Episode 6

2003: Posh Nosh (TV Series) played the part of Jos-Luis in Series 1, Episode 3 (Paella) and 8 (Comfort Food)

2003: Spine Chillers (TV Series) played the part of Dr. Krull in Series 1, Episode 1

2003: Bright Young Things (Film) played the part of Ginger Littlejohn

2004: The Deputy played the part of Christopher Williams

2004: He Knew He Was Right played the part of Rev Gibson

2004: Blackpool (TV Series) played the part of DI Carlisle

2004: Traffic Warden (Short Film) played the part of Traffic Warden

2004: Old Street (Short Film) played the part of Mr. Watson

2005: The Quatermass Experiment played the part of Dr. Gordon Briscoe

2005: Casanova (TV Series) played th part of Giacomo Casanova 

2005: Secret Smile (TV Series) played the part of Brendan Block

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2005: Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire (Film) played the part of Barty Crouch Jr. 

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2005-2010: Doctor Who (TV Series) played the part of The Doctor 

2006: The Romantics (TV Series) played the part of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2006: The Chatterley Affair (TV Series) played the part of Richard Hoggart

2006: Free Jimmy (Film) provided the voice for Hamish

2007: Recovery (TV Film) played the part of Alan Hamilton

2007: Comic Relief Sketch played the part of The Doctor / Mr. Logan

2007: Dead Ringers (TV Series) played the part of a regenerated Tony Blair

2007: Learners (TV Film) played the part of Chris

2007: Extras (TV Series) played the part of Himself / The Doctor 

2007: The Human Footprint (TV Series) Narrator

2008: Einstein and Eddington played the part of Sir Arthur Eddington

2008: Everest ER (TV Series) Narrator

2009: The Sarah Jane Adventures (TV Series) played the part of The Doctor in Series 3, Episodes 5 and 6 (The Wedding Of Sarah Jane Smith)

2009: Rex Is Not Your Lawyer (TV Series) played the part of Rex Alexander in the NBC Pilot Episode

2009: The Catherine Tate Show (TV Series) played the part of The Ghost Of Christmas Present in Nan's Christmas Carol

2009: Hamlet (TV Film) played the part of Prince Hamlet

2009: Glorious 39 (Film) played the part of Hector

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2009: St. Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold (Film) played the part of Sir Piers Pomfrey

2009: Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions (TV Series) Narrator

2009: Troubled Young Minds (TV Series) Narrator

2010: Single Father (TV Series) played the part of Dave Tiler

2010: How To Train Your Dragon (Film) provided the voice for Spitelout

2010: Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man (TV Series) Narrator

2010: Diet Or My Husband Dies (TV Series) Narrator 

2010: Stealing Shakespeare (TV Series) Narrator

2010: Polar Bear: Spy On The Ice (TV Series) Narrator

2011: United (TV Film) played the part of Jimmy Murphy

2011: This Is Jinsey (TV Series) played the part of Mr. Slightlyman in Series 1, Episode 1

2011: The Decoy Bride (Film) played the part of James Arber

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2011: Fright Night (Film) played the part of Peter Vincent

2011: The Itch Of The Golden Nit (Film) provided the voice for Stretchy McStretch

2011: The Father Of Australia (TV Series) Narrator

2011: The TA and The Taliban (TV Series) Narrator

2011: Earthflight (TV Series) Narrator

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2011-2012: Twenty Twelve (TV Series) Narrator Series 1 and 2

2012: Playhouse Presents (TV Series) played the part of Will in Series 1, Episode 1 (The Minor Character)

2012: True Love (TV Series) played the part of Nick in Series 1, Episode 1 

2012: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (Film) provided the voice for Charles Darwin

2012: Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger (Film) played the part of Donald Peterson / Roderick Peterson 

2012: Wild About Pandas (TV Series) Narrator

2012: We Won't Drop The Baby (TV Series) Narrator

2012: Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell (TV Series) Narrator

2012: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV Series) provided the voice for Huyang

2013: The Spies Of Warsaw (TV Series) played the part of Jean-François Mercier

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2013: The Politician's Husband (TV Series) played the part of Aiden Hoynes

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2013: Broadchurch (TV Series) played the part of Detective Inspector Alec Hardy

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2013: Penguins: Spy In The Huddle (TV Series) Narrator

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Trivia

 

* Chose his acting surname Tennant after reading an interview with Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys in Smash Hits magazine shortly after learning that he would have to change his professional name in order to join the actors' union, Equity, as there was already a registered member with his real name, David McDonald.

* David's heroes are John Cleese and Derek Jacobi and he is a big fan of the director Alfred Hitchcock. His favourite actress is Audrey Hepburn

* David's favourite Doctor Who was Tom Baker.

* His father is Alexander (Sandy), a retired minister (his mother Helen died of cancer in July 2007). He has a brother  called Blair, and a sister, Karen.

* From taking the role of The Doctor in 2005 to when he gave the role up in 2010, he became the second longest actor to play the title role on television and the third longest overall.

* David is married to Georgia Moffett whom he met on the set of Doctor Who in December 2007. She is the daughter of former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison. They have one child called Olive (David also adopted his wife's son Tyler in 2011).

*David's all-time favourite Doctor Who characters are the Zygons.

 

Personal Quotes

 

On talking to the Guardian regarding the rumours that he'd dated every woman on the Doctor Who set:

"You know, my bedpost really has very few notches compared with other actors of my erm, erm, pedigree. Hehehehehe!"

 

On being asked which one person (living or dead) he'd like to swap places with for a day:

"It's hard not to have slightly impure thoughts when you're asked a question like that. In fact, I can't think of anything that wouldn't be totally prurient and unprintable."

 

His response to being asked what he would have done professionally if he hadn't become an actor:

"I was always going to act, literally ever since I was tiny. In fact, I have Doctor Who to thank for that. I wanted to become an actor after being obsessed with Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor Who, in the 1970s. His was the definitive performance of all time in anything."

 

On life after the Doctor:

"You can’t ever shrug it off...Sometimes it’s a really lovely thing – even people who don’t watch the show love the idea of it. But you can’t switch it off when you’re buying a coffee and want to get home quickly, and five kids want a photograph taken...That makes it sound like a trial, and it’s not, but you can’t choose it. It’s part of the deal and it changes the practicalities of your life"