NEW INTERVIEW: Old English Dinners and Cigarettes After Sex Amongst David Tennant’s Favourite Things


David Tennant has spoken to the New York Times ahead of the premiere of his new drama series Deadwater Fell on Acorn TV next week.

David is currently at home in London with his family and spoke to the paper about the 10 things he’d rather not do without. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.


1. Tim Minchin
I feel slightly proprietorial with Tim Minchin because he’s one of those people that I went to see in small comedy clubs when he wasn’t Tim Minchin, International Superstar. And I got to know his quirky, barbed, hilarious songs before most people did. Then he started writing Broadway musicals [“Groundhog Day,” “Matilda”] and starring in movies and taking over the world, quite rightly. He’s got one of those brains that I envy, and I adore listening to whatever chunk flows out of it.

2. “Dear Evan Hansen”
I managed to get tickets to see the original cast in New York maybe three years ago. My wife and my eldest son and I went knowing that this was very much the hot ticket but not really knowing why. And we just sat there transfixed. Ben Platt was extraordinary with his kind of chocolate voice, and there’s an amazing story that’s told with such energy and these fantastic tunes.
There’s something very exciting when you feel like you are ahead of the curve of your peer group — to go home and brag about having seen something very special — because it was years before it would come here. Then last year, I went to see the opening in London, with a brand-new guy called Sam Tutty, and he’s equally exciting.
As the world has politically gone to what some might call hell in a handcart, I find myself more and more obsessed with following the ins and outs on both sides of the Atlantic, and what happens next — because your politics are so inextricably linked to ours. Of course, [this podcast] is unashamedly partisan. The four guys [Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor] used to work for Obama, and it comes from a left-wing, Democrat perspective. But it does it with a wit and a clarity and a slight anarchy that I find very useful to understand how American politics works.
I used to get a Hulk comic when I was little, and it was always Marvel Comics over DC Comics. I never quite connected with Batman and Superman. I realize these are slightly preposterous words to use, but I find Marvel characters somehow more believable. I abandoned them for a bit as a young man trying to be windswept and interesting. But in my slightly more mature years, I’ve allowed myself to admit that I like having Marvel Comics in my life. Of course a few years ago I got to be one of those characters [Kilgrave in Netflix’s “Jessica Jones”], which was a strange through-the-looking-glass moment.
I’m doing this play called “Good” [scheduled to begin in October at the Playhouse Theater in London], which is about a genuinely good man in the run-up to the Second World War, the rise of Hitler, and how he comes to terms with life under that regime. And how human beings adapt and find what they formerly found appalling perfectly 
acceptable — to overlook the occasional immorality because it’s easier than standing up and fighting it. I’m trying to get my head as deep into that world as possible, so I’m reading the largest book I’ve ever tried to consume. It’s an absolute doorstop. And this extraordinary retelling of those events sends a chill. It feels much more like a warning of things that might come back.

This radio comedy series has run on the BBC for something like 15 years. I’d never really paid it a blind bit of attention, and then I caught a random episode. And it’s fantastic, about this very, very down-at-heel writer who had some mild success, and from then on life has been a series of disappointments. And he now finds himself living in a sort of manky bedsit, scratching around to find the next meal, the next cigarette, the next bottle of whiskey. It’s co-written by a chap called Christopher Douglas, who plays this part magnificently. He’s just this very unpleasant curmudgeon, a narcissistic, selfish man in his late middle age, and yet there’s something terribly endearing about him. It’s very funny, very dark, very bitter and bleak. And there’s something about the misery of it that I find it weirdly comforting.
I do mean the band rather than the act. I discovered them listening to KROQ in Los Angeles. Every time I would get in the car they’d be on heavy rotation, and I got absolutely mesmerized by their music. It just takes you somewhere that’s got an out-of-body, spine-tingling feel to it, sung by this wonderful androgynous voice. I mean, it’s not what you want to play to pull the cobwebs away. But if you want to lie down in a corner and be consumed by cobwebs, it’s that kind of a vibe.
It’s a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London, and I’d say that’s been my most exciting dining experience. All the food is based on the earliest English recipes they could discover. So there are items on the menu that were plucked from Richard II’s cookbook, but then given the Heston Blumenthal treatment. For instance, “meat fruit,” which is actually meat pâté constructed to look exactly like an apple or an orange. Because of the heritage of all these dishes, everything has got a story to it and a reason why it’s there, and it’s so beautifully crafted and tastes extraordinary. It’s a real journey into the unknown.
They’ve been the soundtrack of my life, and they continue to be. And with every new piece of music they release, I rekindle my love for them. People probably know them from one or two hits, and yes, they’re very good at making a big party. But they also have a way of writing love songs like nobody else and they put together these wonderful, heart-stopping melodies. I just think they are one of the undervalued pieces of art of our time.
It’s the best TV I’ve seen in ages. There’s just nothing touching it. It’s so good. Every part is so beautifully inhabited. They’re so vileand they’re so hateful — and yet you’re kind of rooting for them. I can imagine as an actor receiving one of those scripts and going, “I cannot believe this has landed in my inbox.” I mean, what a treat to get to say those words.


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