INTERVIEW: 60 Seconds With David Tennant

David Tennant has an impressive CV of theatre appearances including Romeo in Romeo And Juliet for the RSC. Originally from West Lothian, he now claims to be a fully paid-up Londoner thanks to his Tube knowledge, and describes himself as a geeky Doctor Who fan. He currently stars as Jeff, a goofy, wisecracking security guard in the West End play Lobby Hero.
How much are you and Jeff alike?I'd like to think wisecracking, but I've no idea. It's difficult to describe your own personality. I'd say tall, skinny and Scottish. That's the basic design of me and pretty accurate actually. I'm not painting a pretty picture am I? Shall I lie? I'm devastatingly handsome - honest.

A policeman in the play is having an affair. Have you ever had to cover for a mate or been covered for?
I couldn't possibly comment on that - I'd be arrested. I don't think I've ever covered for anyone, not even at school. Not consciously anyway. No-one ever asked me to; I don't think they trusted me. I was a right square at school. I was the boy with my NHS specs and my bowl cut. Honestly, I'm deadly serious and I wish I wasn't.

Kenneth Lonergan wrote Lobby Hero and also co-wrote Gangs of New York. Why didn't you play the lead in that, too? What's Leo Di Caprio got over you?
He hadn't met me yet. That was the only thing that stood in his way, unfortunately. I mean I spoke to him about this and he bitterly regrets it. It's just such a shame, it should have been me on that big screen.

Reviews for your Shakespearian roles are usually pretty good...
I think that's 'cos I'm just brilliant [laughs]. No, that's a crap answer. Actually, I don't read the reviews so I can't really comment on them. I stopped reading them years ago. I used to be a junkie for them, and after the first night I would buy every single newspaper and pore over them, but you only need to get kicked in the face a couple of times to know better and that it doesn't really help you.

If you could be anyone, who would you be?
Doctor Who, without a shadow of a doubt. That was always my obsession when I was growing up. I had all the figures, the Daleks and even a little Tom Baker doll.
Did you also have the Tardet thingy?
The Tardis! I can't believe you got that wrong. Yeah, that too. I was devoted to it.
Have you ever had a journalist delve into your personal life?
No. I think you need to be a lot more famous than me to experience that. Obviously, you want everyone to like you and think what you are doing is good, so it's a bit miserable to pick up a paper and see comments that you've been miscast or that you've got it all wrong or you're ugly. The good stuff always flatters your ego, but I don't think it helps you to be any better.

Do you get sent any freebies?
No, but I wish I did. Listen, if anyone wants to send me anything free I would happily wear it anywhere they want me to wear it.

Where do you go out socially and, most importantly, do you get guest-listed?
[Laughs] I think the last time I went out was to do a theatre review, which isn't very funky. It's more that I have famous friends who get me into things now and again. I'm a member of Soho House so I go there a lot. And I'm a good friend of Arabella Weir, whose boyfriend refuses to go to anything remotely showbizzy, so I tend to be her standard escort.

Who's the most famous person you've met?
It depends what you call famous. I've met the Royal Family, but I don't think they really count. They're a bit naff. Celebrity-wise I went to Gwyneth Paltrow's press night the other week and she was very sweet. I've also been to Johnny Depp's LA club, the Viper Room. I'd just been doing a film with him so that was pretty cool. It's been a downhill slope since then, though.

What's the most expensive item in your fridge?
A bottle of Bollinger I got for my first night. I might ask Tom Baker round to drink it with me and thank him for being a genius. Or perhaps I could entertain a lady. I might ask Winona Ryder over after her court case. I could help her bury her sorrows a bit.

You're meant to be good at making people laugh. Tell us a joke.
I can't tell you a joke. I can only tell you other people's jokes from the script. I'm not a comic. I literally don't know any jokes. You can't do this to me [laughs] - I'm not funny at all.

Useless, we're telling everyone you're rubbish at gags. 
OK. I give you my full permission.

You are always described as 'lanky'. How tall are you?
Ahh, how flattering. I'm 6ft 1in so that's not too bad. I'm just the right height for most girls.

Did you always want to be an actor when you were younger?
I liked the idea of being someone else and telling the stories that were on television.

You don't sound very Scottish. Do you find it easy to portray a London accent? I have been told that when I go back up to visit my family my Scottish accent gets stronger, but I don't really notice it. I was up there last week for my mum and dad's 40th wedding anniversary so we had a big get-together and I would have thought it would be quite strong at the moment.
Source: The Metro 23rd July 2002