NEW INTERVIEW: Meet Phileas Fogg - David Tennant Talks About His Around The World In 80 Days Character
David Tennant has been chatting about his Around The World In 80 Days character, Phileas Fogg, a 19th Century gentleman and adventurer who, with his valet, Passepartout takes on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days following an outrageous bet. They are swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail Fix, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.
Based on the classic Jules Verne novel published in 1872, Life on Mars co-creator Ashley Pharoah and Child of Mine's Caleb Ranson are bringing a new version to screens over the Christmas holiday with Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch co-starring as Passepartout and Abigail Fix.
David spoke at a press Q&A recently about the character that has previously been played by David Niven, Steve Coogan and Pierce Brosnan..
"There's a sense that he's wasted himself, that he has just been in stasis for years, and it's very easy for him to keep going to that [Reform] Club every day and having the same high cholesterol meal until he has a heart attack and falls over, and nobody would care.
"I think he feels, although he comes from this place of privilege, life is not difficult for him, but neither is it challenging. He's just in a place where there is nothing to kick against, and he feels like he will not even be a footnote in history. He's someone striving for a bit of relevance in this world, or a bit of grit in the oyster; something that makes him feel alive.
"He's not really temperamentally suited to that because he's quite scared of life and scared of challenge and everything feels difficult and alarming to him, it really does take this collision of moments in that first day that we meet him that allows him to take a deep breath and jump. And there are many points later where he would willingly give up, but it is the story of someone who goes on a journey to find himself.
He has a hope that perhaps there's something more to him, there's a human being worth discovering."
Asked what he hopes viewers’ reactions will be, he said: “I hope a bit of joy. I think it’s very apt that it’s set for a Christmas transmission. It’s that kind of a show, it’s got that kind of scale and that kind of ambition and that kind of warmth.
It’s a romp, but it’s got real heart to it, as well. It feels like a genuine – this phrase is overused – but it feels like a genuine piece of family entertainment, something that you can all, you know, grab a mince pie and enjoy together. It has that sense of something that everyone can come together, and it works. It’ll work for your five-year-old, it’ll work for your 85-year-old. I think it’s got a genuine kind of cross-generational appeal to it and that’s something very special I’ve been involved in, in that kind of a story.”
Watch a new preview video of David in action below:
Around The World In 80 Days, which will premiere in the UK on BBC One over the Christmas holidays.
The eight-part adaptation of the classic adventure novel by Jules Verne will also be shown in the USA on Masterpiece on PBS from Sunday 2nd January 2022 at 8/7c, with new episodes coming weekly. It will be available to stream in full on Germany's ZDFmediathek from 11th December 2021.
It will come to France Télévisions in late 2021. It will also be seen on Italy’s RAI and via Seven West Media in Australia, with broadcast dates to be confirmed.