David Tennant announces exit from Doctor Who

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Actor David Tennant made an announcement Wednesday at the National Television Awards in the United Kingdom that he will end his time portraying the Tenth Doctor on the long-running BBC science fiction drama Doctor Who in 2009. The announcement came as part of Tennant’s speech accepting the outstanding drama performance award at the program.

Tennant, 37, is currently portraying the lead in a production of Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and accepted the award by videolink. He was up against Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate, who portrayed his companion Donna Noble. Doctor Who was recognized with the award for most popular drama program.

I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair.

“I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair,” said Tennant in his address to the audience in attendance at the Royal Albert Hall. “TARDIS” refers to the time machine and spacecraft operated by Tennant’s character known only as “the Doctor”, and stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

Tennant will again inhabit the TARDIS as the Tenth Doctor for the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, “The Next Doctor“, and will portray the Doctor in four additional specials set to air in 2009. A new actor will play the Doctor for the program’s 2010 series.

Tennant had initially been interested in portraying the Doctor in the 2005 series, but that role went to Christopher Eccleston. The series had previously been dormant since 1996, with Paul McGann in the lead role. Tennant has said that it was his childhood dream to play the Doctor. This is not his first time being recognized at the National Television Awards for his role as the Doctor. In 2006 he received the award for most popular actor, and again in 2007. In 2006 Tennant beat out actor Tom Baker as the favorite doctor, in a survey of readers of Doctor Who Magazine.

The Doctor comes from a race of Timelords, and has the ability to “regenerate” and change appearance when his health is failing. Actors including Russell Tovey, James Nesbitt, Paterson Joseph, John Simm and David Morrissey have been mentioned in the media as possibilities to portray the 11th incarnation of the Doctor.

I’ve been lucky and honoured to work with David over the past few years.

Russell T. Davies, the program’s current executive producer, commented to BBC News on the end of the Tenth Doctor and his work with Tennant: “I’ve been lucky and honoured to work with David over the past few years – and it’s not over yet, the Tenth Doctor still has five spectacular hours left! After which, I might drop an anvil on his head. Or maybe a piano. A radioactive piano. But we’re planning the most enormous and spectacular ending, so keep watching.” Steven Moffat will replace Davies as executive director of Doctor Who in 2010.

Tennant began his work as an actor with roles in theatre, and progressed to starring roles on television programs including Blackpool and Casanova. He has recently returned to theatre roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has received praise for his work in Hamlet and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

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