EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - We Talk To David Tennant - 2007

David-Tennant.com are pleased to bring you this new exclusive interview with David Tennant.
How is filming on the new series of Doctor Who going?
Very good. We are on the final furlong now really. We're on the last block of episodes now. We should be finished in about three weeks.
We were filming in a quarry last night which is the stereotypical Doctor Who location shoot!  We haven't been in many quarries in this series though.
Episode One is finished and I've seen that. I was very pleased with it. I think everyone is quite pleased with it all.
Episode Two should be finished today, I think, so I should get to see that soon. 
The filming of this series seems to have gone a lot quicker than last year for some reason.

Are there any new monsters that you can tell us about?
There's the Judoon in Episode One. They are like space stormtroopers with heads like Rhinos. They are really impressive actually. They have a prosthetically made mask which is controlled by animatronics and Nick Briggs, who does the voice of the Daleks, is doing their voices and it just sounds fantastic.
In Episode Two there's the Carrionites and then in Episode Three there's Cat People. They are different to the Cat Nuns that were in New Earth though. Ardal O'Hanlon plays a Ginger Tom who has a wife.
Then the Daleks are back! I think it's pretty widely known that they will be back now. And they are back for the episode in New York.
Then there's Mark Gatiss (playing Professor Lazarus) he starts off ok and then becomes a monster!!
Then there's The Family Of Blood oh and Episode Ten by Stephen Moffatt has some very creepy monsters in it! You get to know them by their legendary name I think. They are very creepy though.
Episode Ten is a bit like Love & Monsters because we aren't in it that much,  although I think I am in it more than I was in Love & Monsters because of the way Stephen has written it.
And then there's the series finale and I'm not going to tell you what happens in that! You'll have to wait and see!

We're all really looking forward to seeing Freema as Martha. Will Martha and the Doctor have a similar dynamic to the Doctor and Rose?
It's similar because it's just the two of them travelling around together having these amazing adventures and that one of them is a human.
But Martha is different to Rose and the Doctor is in a very different place because of what happened with Rose.
There is a different dynamic because the Doctor is not looking for a new best friend. Or at least he thinks he isn't.
And Martha's story is very different from Rose's story. Different things will happen in Martha's story throughout the series.
It would have been boring to keep it the same and Russell is such a genius writer.

The last series was fantastic and was very well received by both the fans and the press alike. Did you have a particular favourite episode?
Not really. When you're filming each one you like that one the best and then you film another one and you like that one best. I suppose from a fanboy point of view then it would have to be Doomsday because of the Daleks and Cybermen battle.
And then of course it was Billie's last episode so it was very sad and very exciting. It was all just very dramatic.
The good thing about the series is that it appeals to everyone because the stories are very different. If you don't like stories that are set on a space ship it doesn't matter because the week after it will be set on a council estate or somewhere in the past.

There have been a lot of prestigious actors who have been given guest roles in Doctor Who. If you could choose any actor to guest in the series who would you choose?
All sorts of people would be fantastic to have. There are so many great actors. I would like to have friends in it, of course, there are so many of them haranguing me to get them parts, but I don't seem to very good at doing that!
Sarah Parish was great but I have to say that her getting the role had absolutely nothing to do with me. I can't take any of the credit!
Derek Jacobi has just finished filming with us and he said that he had two boxes left on his check list and they were Doctor Who and Coronation Street, so he is thrilled to be able to tick one of them off.

There have been rumours in the press about a possible film version of Doctor Who. Billie has said that she would love to come back to do it, but are the rumours true and would you be interested in doing it?
They are just rumours I'm afraid. We just don't have the time. Russell is working flat out on the scripts for the next series. So, no the film is not something that I am aware of.

You must have pages of scripts to learn. Is it difficult to remember all the technical jargon? Especially with all the strange alien names and planets?
It can be, yes. The Doctor does have some long speeches and he talks very quickly. Learning all his babble can take a while, but it's very well written babble so I don't mind and you do get quicker.
When I filmed Recovery during the break in Doctor Who I would sit down at the weekend and learn the script in an hour and I was like 'Hang on??'
You do get used to it though.

Tom Baker apparently wrote a script for a movie version of the show when he was the Doctor. Would you ever be tempted to write an episode of the show?
Yes I heard about this..Not really no! I really wouldn't. We have such good writers on the show. And I couldn't walk up to Russell and hand it over and say 'Here's 45 minutes for you' and then he would have to hand it back and say 'Thanks, but it's shit!'

What about going behind the scenes? You made an excellent video diary for the Series Two Box Set.
Do you have any aspirations to be on the other side of the camera?
Yes, I do actually. I would quite like to try my hand at directing although I would do it in the theatre rather than in TV or film. Theatre is more just about telling the story. I understand the way the theatre works. I will leave the TV to the experts. Doctor Who is very complicated to direct.
It would be impossible to direct that and act in it as well.

Doctor Who merchandise is absolutely everywhere at the moment, the shelves were just lined with it at Christmas.
Is it strange to see yourself as an action figure?
Yeah, very. It's quite surreal. It's very exciting though, especially as I was a kid who used to collect all the Star Wars and Millennium Falcon figures.
It's odd being rendered in plastic, to think that there are people in factories making little versions of you. But of course I do have it in pride of place. Possibly not as much as John Barrowman has his in pride of place though!

Is there a downside to being in such a popular TV series?
It would be churlish to say so. I'm very privileged to work on it. Obviously you do have to alter your lifestyle slightly. You know you have negotiate different things. It's such a unique show and it appeals across all generations, classes and societies. You get little old ladies and eight year old kids coming up to you. It just appeals to everyone and they all speak very generously about it.

You must get invited to lots of showbiz parties. Is that something you enjoy or do you prefer to stay out of the limelight?
I only go if it's something I really want to go. I don't go because it's a 'showbiz' party. I'm in Wales a lot and most of the things happen in London so I miss quite a lot of it anyway. I don't get invited that much actually!
I wouldn't go just to get my photo taken and put in a magazine. That doesn't appeal. I don't want to talk about where my shoes came from! I will go if it is something that sounds fun or is to do with a mate. I don't go just because I have a new frock to show off.
2006 was a fantastic year for you, you won lots of awards and your debut series of Doctor Who aired, what was the highlight?
There were lots of highlights, I can't pick one. It was just an ongoing rolling craziness. Obviously the show going out and people liking it was great! And to get prizes for doing that is great and very exciting. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. To do a job that you would happily do for free and to not only get paid for it but to get prizes is very nice.

Recovery will be airing at the end of the month. Can you tell us anything about the character you play and the research you did for the role?
Yeah, I play a character called Alan Hamilton who is married to Tricia. They have two sons one who is taking his A levels and one who is much younger.
He is a building site manager and one day he gets knocked over by a car. It's really the story of how he copes, even though he is obviously oblivious to a lot of it, and how his family cope with it. Their father and husband is a completely altered man indefinitely.
It's all about identity really and how a brain injury effects people.
I was surprised, to find out, when I researched the role, that it's much more common than I thought.
Obviously there was Richard Hammond and thank god he is ok. People with those sort of injuries often don't recover so well.
And it's there but for the grace of god, it could happen to anyone. Anyone could get knocked down or fall down the stairs today. And you don't even have to have an accident one man I spoke to suffered a blood clot in his sleep.
The show is principally about how the family cope though, it's how people deal with things like this, the shitty side of life.
It is actually very funny as well as moving though. And Sarah Parish is amazing in it. It really is compulsory viewing for Sarah's performance.

There are some harrowing scenes in Recovery. Did your portrayal of Alan effect you emotionally?
I don't know, I suppose you should ask the people around me. We filmed it very quickly, it was a three week shoot. Because of the nature of it, it was very full on. One day you would be breaking down, the next day flying into a rage.
There was no day that was just standing around acting or walking down a corridor acting.
We did have a lot of good times on the set, but we did go through the mill both physically and psychologically. I think because it was filmed over a short time you could allow yourself to go there and immerse yourself. It was a very hard place to visit.

You've worked with Sarah Parish a number of times now. What has been your favourite project and would you like to work with her again?
I'd really like to work with Sarah again. Although Sarah thinks the BBC won't let us because people will be sick of seeing us together! She might be right, so it could be a while before we do get to work together again.
It's great working with your mates though and it's quicker to work with people that you already know and like.
I enjoyed all our projects and they couldn't really get more different. Blackpool was the first one we did and we got on really well together. Doctor Who was the one where we spent the least amount of time together. Sarah filmed for 2 or 3 days and even in the scenes where the Doctor and the Empress are together they were filmed in different places. And Recovery was like a happy reunion really.

You've done various types of acting work, comedy, drama and sci-fi. Do you have a particular preference?
They aren't really separate. For instance there is comedy and drama in Doctor Who and there is comedy in Recovery. You have to approach them all in the same way to make them believable and truthful. It's all the same job just different flavours.
I would feel short changed if I stopped one type.

You took part in the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? last year. Did you enjoy taking part and has it inspired you to go further and find out more about your heritage?
I did enjoy it, but to be honest it was more difficult then I imagined it would be. I thought that I would go back and find my family from hundreds of years ago and it would be very interesting but not relevant to today.
But I ended up trying to tackle politics in Northern Ireland which isn't the least contentious issue on Earth.
I might not have done it if I had realised that I would be on national TV trying not to offend people as I made my way through Northern Irish politics. I dealt with it as well as I could.
Finding out about your gene pool is absolutely fascinating though. You get very attached to the people. They become very important to you. You want to be proud of them, and even though they don't exist any more, it's funny, because you want to think that they would be proud of you too.
You might not agree with the things that they stood for but you want to be able to understand them and to empathise with them. You want to try and find some sort of common ground. It was very difficult but I am glad that I did it.

Have you got any new projects lined up for you break in filming Doctor Who?
Yes, there are one or two things. They still depend on dates. I haven't signed anything yet.

You have a cameo in the new Comic Relief video for 500 Miles. Was that fun to film?
Yes, it was great fun! I got involved because Peter Kay asked Matt Lucas to do it and Matt is a great fan of The Proclaimers as am I. So he asked me. We always say how misunderstood they are and that they should be at the top of everyone's Desert Island Discs collection.
I was happy to go along and take part in the video. I did want to meet The Proclaimers actually! That's why I went!! But Craig and Charlie had gone back to Scotland so I just got to see a video of them. I did get to meet their manager and the rest of the band though.

We saw some pics of you with Timmy Mallet...
Yes, he came up to me with this thing (the mallet) and stuck it in my hand and I was like 'What's that?!'
I think I just missed out on the whole Timmy Mallet phenomenon. He was very keen for a picture. He is a lovely man.
Actually I'm a chocolate for Comic Relief! You can get these great chocolates (from Sainsburys or online at www.rednoseday.com )and when you hold them up to the light you can see the picture. I got Gromit from Wallace and Gromit the other day.
I think there are three from Doctor Who and three from Wallace and Gromit. So you can collect them all or just keep trying to get the one you want.
I'm actually doing something else for Comic Relief with Catherine Tate tomorrow.

What was Catherine like to work with on the Christmas Special?
She was great. She is a real talent. She is actually very quiet and unassuming in real life, which you don't expect because of all these wonderful characters that she creates. The more I got to know her the more I liked her. She is really funny. She is also a wonderful actress. I'm really looking forward to seeing her new drama. (The Bad Mother's Handbook.)

Quick Questions

What ringtone have you got on your phone?
I was looking for something that was just a normal ring but they don't seem to do them any more. They are all really odd electric ones. My friend tried to send me the old telephone ring ring one via blue tooth but it didn't work. So I have the West Wing theme tune. What do you have?

I have an odd beepy electric dance one that came with the phone it sounds like a naff euro dance track that should be danced to whilst wearing a boiler suit. But I used to have a Girls Aloud one.

Did you know Girls Aloud were going to be in Doctor Who but they were too busy?
Really?! Is Britney really doing it then?! It was in all the papers that she had been cast as an alien!

Yeah I heard about this. No, she's not doing it. I don't know where that came from. Probably Russell making a joke!

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
My boiler! It's broken, so if any plumbers are reading this and want to help please get in touch. It's the one in London at least if it was here in Cardiff it would be fixed because it's rented by the BBC. So yes that's what I would change my boiler!

What was the last film you watched?
I'm really rubbish at keeping up to date with films. The last film I saw at the cinema was Casino Royale. I started watching Munich but only saw ten minutes of it because I got called back on set so that doesn't count!
I watched All The President's Men in the back of the car on the way to Cardiff. It's about Watergate and I decided to watch it as I  had been to see Frost/Nixon in the theatre recently.

What makes you laugh?
All the stuff that makes everyone laugh. I like Catherine Tate, Little Britain, Ricky Gervais. I like arsing round with my mates. And John Barrowman makes me laugh. He is so filthy! That really tickles me.

What was your proudest moment?
There are lots of moments I am proud of. I can't really think of one. Getting awards is always nice but then you're up there making a speech and you're thinking 'Am I making an arse of myself here?' I will probably know in ten years time. I like to look back on work. When it is actually happening you are too close to it.
You remember more of the compromises you have had to make.
I look back on things that I did a few years ago and can feel more proud of them now, like Blackpool.

What is your favourite book?
I really like Winterson's The Passion and The Catcher In The Rye is another favourite from my teens. I think it was one of those books where you think 'He's writing about me'. I like all JD Salinger's books.
Apparently he lives a hermit now and there is this myth that he has some unpublished books in his safe and that when he dies we will get the books. Not that I am wishing the man dead just so I can read the books!

Do you have a favourite band?
I have a few. The Proclaimers are always up there! I really like the new song, Ruby, by The Kaiser Chiefs. I did an interview with them for NME last year and I felt so cool for a fleeting second.
I like The View as well and I have always been a big fan of U2.
I was really pleased to see Oasis getting the Lifetime Achievement award at the BRITS as I really rate them.

If you weren't an actor what other job would you like to do?
I don't know and I'm just delighted that I haven't had to answer that. At school my best subject was English so maybe an English teacher or a writer maybe.

If you could be anyone else for a day who would you be?
It's hard not to give a filthy answer to that question! I would be a woman just so what I could see it was like on the other side. Things in general, you know.

Do you have a favourite TV show?
Apart from Doctor Who, The West Wing is brilliant. I am devastated it's over. The consistency of the writing and the acting was amazing.
Interview conducted by Sarah Forbes Colley
Many thanks to David Tennant for this interview.
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Thanks :)