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As David Tennant takes his post-Richard II performance bow, the audience erupts into cheers. Well, really just one cheer. Okay, it was just me that was yelling in excitement–but can you really blame me? Sure, it might seem odd to be expressing enthusiasm to an actor who can’t hear me (him being an ocean away–alas for unrequited love), but the gesture was probably appreciated all the same. Some people laughed, at least, as they did when the woman interviewing the play’s director, Gregory Doran, joked about the “lesser known” actor performing the lead role.

During the performance, Tennant pronounced the line, “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Of all people, Tennant should be more careful, given that he spent five years as a lord of time. For forty-seven episodes, David Tennant took on the role of the Doctor in the British television show Doctor Who, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was this show that inspired Tennant to be an actor, when he was only approximately four years old!

Although at that time, he was watching the show under a different name then the one he is known by today, his birth name: David John McDonald. Tennant wouldn’t take on this stage surname until the actor’s union he was joining forced him to change his professional name since they already had a David McDonald registered. Growing up in Scotland, Tennant developed the brogue that he so often has to hide while playing British characters–though in a moment of excitement during Richard II, the Scottish in his voice could be heard quite clearly. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and eventually moved to London. There, in 2005, he finally achieved his dream of  following in the footsteps of his childhood inspiration by becoming the tenth Doctor. Climbing aboard his newfound vehicle, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), Tennant zoomed around the universe. In fact, on his travels through time and space, he managed to run into Shakespeare, played by Dean Kelly, whose plays Tennant has been performing since joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2008. In the same episode, Tennant had to call upon the writings of J.K. Rowling in order to beat back the impending threat of an alien-witch invasion. As Harry Potter fans know, Tennant pops over into Rowling’s magical realm to play the role of the insane wizard, Barty Crouch Jr.

Tennant’s role in Doctor Who crosses over with his life in other ways, as during an episode titled The Doctor’s Daughter, he met his future wife and daughter of one of his childhood idols, Georgia Moffett. The title is a pun, as Moffet’s father is Peter Moffet, who played the Doctor in 1981 (when Tennant was still only ten years old ). Tennant and Moffet married three years after the episode aired, and are raising three children together.

Now that his time on Doctor Who is over, though he did reprise the role for a special 50th anniversary celebration episode, Tennant has traded the Doctor’s signature trenchcoat for the gaudy robe of Richard II, and will continue to take audiences on travels through time and space with his performances on the stage.

David Tennant as the Doctor giving Shakespeare a friendly writing tip. credit to:


Nicholas Anastasia

I'm currently a Senior at the University of Michigan's school of LS&A, double majoring in English and the Residential College's Creative Writing Program. I have written and published several poems and short stories in student-based publications such as the RC Review, Cafe Shapiro, and the literary edition of the Michigan Daily's The Statement.