INTERVIEW: David Tennant Talks About Love In The 21st Century Back In 1999

The following interview with David Tennant was first published in the August 1999 issue of Essentials to publicise his role in the channel 4 series Love In The 21st Century...

Since his role in BBC's Takin' Over The Asylum five years ago, David Tennant, 28, has played a huge range of roles, from theatre work with the RSC to a transsexual barmaid in Rab C Nesbitt. Now, in Reproduction (14 July, Channel 4), the first in a series of six 30 minute morality tales entitled Love In The 21st Century he stars with Catherine McCormack who plays Fay, a young woman who wants a baby, but not a man.

So you play a sperm donor?
No, he's a junior doctor. Fay bumps in to him coming back from the night shift one day and they get chatting, she decides he's perfect and sets about securing his juices, as it were! She has a chart with gold stars and black marks against the potential candidates, but when she meets my character John, the chart is all gold stars.

So how does she get a spillage?
She seduces him, whips the condom off once they've finished and shoves it into a jar. He doesn't know anything about it - he just thinks he's met a really nice girl and scored!

Sounds a bit raunchy?
You do see us in bed. Love scenes are so embarrassing - I knew Catherine a bit which made it easier, but it's just a very silly thing to have to do with a relative stranger in front of a crew of 60 people on a freezing cold set. Pretending to come is one of the most embarrassing things I've ever had to do - you do it and then look around thinking, 'Is that what everybody else does or am I odd?'

Your co-star is getting quite famous...
Catherine is so unassuming. The way she is in everyday life is so normal that she doesn't get much hassle. But that can change, the more famous you get. I know Richard Wilson quite well and he handles it brilliantly - he's so generous and warm to everyone who shouts 'I don't believe it' across the street for the hundredth time. I think it's got a lot to do with your own personal karma, whether you can keep smiling. I worked on a film that Johnny Depp was in, and he is so enormously famous that when you suddenly find yourself doing a scene with him, you don't really think about it and then suddenly you'll do a double take and think 'God, he's famous!'

Do you prefer TV to theatre?
It depends, but getting a response from an audience helps. During a long run in the theatre, you can fine tune things and find out what works. On camera you don't really have a chance to find out what's going down well or if you're just making a berk of yourself.

What's next?
The new TV series of Randall and Hopkirk Deceased with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, I play a Damien Hirst type who hires them to keep an eye on his wife. I'm delighted to be doing something with them because I think they're geniuses.

A scan of the original interview can be seen below with thanks to @FireflyEllie7