Scots Doctor Comes Home
If this was the 1970s, the BBC would be expecting a call from Mary
Whitehouse in a couple of weeks. Thirty years ago, the bespectacled president of the National Viewers and Listeners Association
made a nice little career from spitting her tweedy disgust at anything on television that breached The Standards (as established
by her, of course). And one programme in particular, a popular family show called Doctor Who, was often the target of her
bilious distaste. It's probably just as well she's not around to see episode two of the new series.
The episode, previewed
at a screening in Glasgow yesterday, is scary. Dark, sinister, malevolent and scary. It's as if Russell T Davies, the 6ft
4in Big Man of TV drama and executive producer of the show, has turned the dimmer switch down to make the second series of
Who's comeback as black as possible. Thirty-five-year-olds might think it's too much, but five-year-olds will adore it.
werewolf/alien thing stalks all 45 minutes of the episode, snarling at David Tennant's Doctor and doing traditional chasing
of the companion, played by Billie Piper. The werewolf's target, though, is Queen Victoria, whom the Doctor bumps into after
landing the Tardis in the Highlands of the 1890s.
The setting of the episode was a special treat for Tennant, the show's
Scottish new boy. In fact, the 34-year-old actor, who comes from Paisley and did his actor training in Glasgow, was keen from
the beginning that the Tardis should come north. "For personal reasons, it's great to bring it to Scotland," he said at the
preview, which was also attended by Piper and Davies. "Cardiff's had a shot, so I thought I was quite keen that Scotland got
Except that it's not really Scotland. It's Wales – where the series is actually made – after the
special-effects lads have got their hands on it and added a bit of heather. "We didn't have enough budget to come up to Scotland,"
says Davies. "But we can make Wales look like London, we can make it look like Mars, so we can make it look like Scotland."
even gets to speak in his own accent for about 10 minutes of the episode when he pretends to be Scottish. For the rest of
the series he uses a kind of nice-boy English pronunciation. "That was what I was asked to do so it didn't bother me," he
says. "I've always felt that part of working as an actor is that you take on different roles. It doesn't make me any less
Scottish because I'm not using the accent."
As well as the Scottish setting, Tennant is particularly proud of the sinister
darkness of the episode. It's a darkness that never stops, from the first appearance of Queen Victoria, played by Pauline
Collins (Doctor Who cut-out-and-keep fact: it's the second time she's been in the series, the first being a Patrick Troughton
story) to the sinister, high-kicking monks, and the perfectly sinister, salivating alien. Mothers and great-aunts will love
all the comforting hugs children will need in two weeks.
"Being scared is part of growing up," says Tennant. "That's what
Doctor Who has done since 1963 and I'm glad to see it continue. The show has had horror for as long as I can remember."
like all good Doctor Who episodes, the horror is cushioned by the ordinariness of the companion and the chumminess of the
Doctor. Tennant and Piper are great together, in their roles and out of them. You do realise when you meet her that Piper
is very young to have a CV that includes an ex-husband and an ex-pop career. Maybe that's why she's got a slouch-in-the-chair
confidence about her for someone who's just 23.
Tennant, on the other hand, has a kind of cross-legged shyness about him
that they only hand out in Scotland, and which means he finds talking about anything personal really, really difficult. "Nobody
teaches you how to deal with the press interest; you just have to kind of decide where your own lines are going to be drawn
and hope that preserves your own personal integrity. You just have to figure it out as you go."
On screen, the relationship
Piper and Tennant have is very different from the teacher and pupil one the Doctor had with his companion in the 1970s and
1980s. Now they are more like mates exchanging pub banter between thwarting plots to conquer the galaxy. "Rose has had adventures
and she's a lot more confident as a companion," says Piper. "She's on a par with the Doctor, more so than last year. She's
seen some incredible things, terrifying things. This time she's more experienced as a woman, as a companion; she does everything
with more conviction. There's stuff that she understands a bit more, so it's a natural progression."
The Doctor, too, who
was always a wanderer, a man without family, has moved on in this series. "Russell writes the relationship between the Doctor
and the companion with an emotional depth that maybe the programme didn't have before," says Tennant. "It's a lot more domestic.
Rose's family almost becomes the doctor's family."
That closeness is obvious. So, too, is the fact that Russell T Davies
has got his hands firmly on the secret of the format: the fact it works on three, or four or five levels of funniness, scariness,
quirkiness, slyness and silliness. And there's an extra, hidden intelligence for adults as well. Through it all is the obvious
love Davies has for the doctor and the idea of him. In every other show, the hero will solve a problem with a gun or a threat
or a big bang or a punch or even sex. Doctor Who doesn't do that. "He never picks up a gun, which makes him different from
every other science-fiction hero," says Davies. That said, the wholesomeness can get tiresome for a writer who made a tabloid-provoking
reputation on shows such as Queer as Folk. "Believe me," he says with a laugh, "as soon as I've done with Doctor Who, there
will be an outpouring of filth from me."
Not that he avoids entirely a bit of provocation. As a red-blooded opponent of
everything blue-blooded, he can't resist a dig at the royals by turning them into werewolves. Which is perhaps the most unbelievable
part of the episode. Everyone knows the royal family are really lizards.
Doctors and their travels in Scotland
and Claw, the episode of Doctor Who previewed in Glasgow yesterday, isn't the first time Scotland has featured in the long-running
In the 1975 story, Terror of the Zygons, the Doctor discovers the Loch Ness monster is really a
cybernetic creature being
controlled by a race of aliens stranded on Earth.
The second incarnation of the Doctor (Patrick
Troughton) landed the Tardis in the middle of the battle of Culloden. The young piper Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines) ended
up joining the Tardis crew.
The Brigadier who headed UNIT, the international organisation that helped the Doctor fight
alien threats, was a proud member of the clan Stewart.
The city of Aberdeen gets a name-check twice in Doctor Who:
once in the new David Tennant episode and once in the Tom Baker story, Underworld.
Source: The Herald 07/04/06
DOCTOR WHO stars David Tennant and Billie Piper were in Glasgow
today for a special screening of an episode from the show's new series.
The actors - along with writer Russell T Davies
- held a question and answer session after the preview at the CCA on Sauchiehall Street.
The intimate screening of the
second programme in the new series, called Tooth and Claw, was attended by around 50 press and industry figures.
45-minute episode, the Doctor and Rose, played by Piper, arrive in their Tardis in 19th century Scotland where they meet Queen
Victoria - played by Pauline Collins - and take on a pack of werewolves.
Paisley-born Tennant, 35, dropped his west of
Scotland accent to star in the latest instalment of the long running BBC series, because the show's producers thought it wasn't
right for the part.
Tennant is the tenth Doctor Who. He took over the starring role from Christopher Eccleston during
the Christmas special of the sci-fi show.
He had previously linked up with scriptwriter Davies for drama Casanova.
new series is due to begin at the end of this month. Other preview screenings are taking place in England and Wales.
Glasgow Evening Times 07/04/06
THERE is a moment near the beginning of the second
episode of the new series of Dr Who when Rose, the Doctor's pretty sidekick, attempts a Scottish accent. Held at gunpoint
by a procession of 19th-century Scottish soldiers, she tries out a pitiful "hoots mon" and is quickly shushed by the Doctor,
who then proceeds to converse with the soldiers as if he were one of their own. Which in real life, of course, he is. Indeed
it is perhaps one of the only times in the new series that viewers will get a hint that the latest Dr Who hails from Paisley,
rather than the distant planet of Gallifrey. On this sunny Thursday afternoon in Glasgow, however, David Tennant - television's
newest Doctor Who and quite possibly the only one to also have played the role of Casanova - is wearing his Scottishness on
his sleeve, excitably leaping up to thank everyone for coming and telling them how much it means to be able to bring the Dr
Who team (Billie Piper - with boyfriend Amadu Sowe in tow - Russell T Davies and an assortment of writers and CGI folk are
here too) to Scotland. Tennant even utters the word "jings".
We're all here to watch "Tooth and Claw", an episode from
the new series that is set (although sadly not filmed) in Scotland. It is a terrifying romp through the gloaming that features
Queen Victoria (played by Pauline Collins, aka Shirley Valentine), a particularly fearsome werewolf, and some monks who have
clearly rented Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon one too many times. Beautifully shot, stylishly executed and also rather funny,
it proves that Sydney Newman's 1960s creation is most definitely still on form, even if his main character has changed in
both shape and voice over the decades. Tennant adopts a mockney twang for the role, a move that has led to accusations that
it was deliberately changed for a world that wasn't ready for a heavily Scottish-accented Dr Who. It's a charge both Tennant
and Davies deny. "It didn't bother me one way or another," says Tennant. "It doesn't make me any less Scottish not doing a
Scottish accent. But it was nice to have one episode where Russell came up with the idea of the Doctor having a Scottish accent
- which remarkably the doctor could do..." Davies, for his part, strenuously denies that it was a result of any sort of BBC
dictat. "I absolutely swear to you on my life!" he protests. In fact the writer is obviously a Tennant fan. He gave, Davies
says, "one of the best auditions I'd ever seen" for Casanova - another Davies vehicle - and, since then, the writer had kept
him at the back of his mind for the Dr Who role. He seems thrilled with his choice. "He's fantastic," says Davies. "The thing
with great actors is that you don't know quite what you're going to get. They always take you by surprise." The feeling is
obviously mutual. "I'm delighted to be doing [Dr Who]" Tennant says. "It's a huge thrill and a huge privilege. It's been a
fantastic nine months, it's been a really special time." He happily defends accusations that "Tooth and Claw" is perhaps a
little too scary for some of Doctor Who's younger audience members. "Aaah come on," he says, his voice lapsing into pure Paisley
(his father is the Very Rev Sandy McDonald, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland and he is a former alumnus of Paisley
Grammar). "He pushes it quite far but it's still responsibly done. It's a fantasy environment and children understand that
too. "Part of growing up is being scared. That's what all Doctors have done since 1963. I mean, there's no blood. I think
it was just far enough." He says he loves the diversity of the role - the fact that the characters can move from the year
five billion to the 1870s from week to week - but admits that some of the plot lines, and the indubitable fact that he is
not Christopher Eccleston - may not appeal to everyone. "A show like this receives so much attention and so much analysis,
you're not going to please all of the people all of the time," he says. Piper, meanwhile, is diplomatic when it comes to comparing
her new doctor with Christopher Eccleston, who left at the end of the last series. "They're different people," she says. "They're
going to bring different things to the role. David's doctor is a lot more emotional, whereas Chris's was more intense. David
is quite light-footed whereas Chris was more deep-rooted. They have different approaches." As for the process of a working
relationship with Tennant, Piper describes it as "an organic thing. A new person rubs off on you". "We only had a week to
rehearse, but I just think we found a natural groove. That's what happened. It seemed to work perfectly, it just happened
and we got on with it." So has Tennant ever worried about being typecast? "I did remember being thrilled to bits when I got
asked and then a few days later thinking, 'oh, is this a terrible idea?'" he says. "But that didn't last very long. Time will
tell. The only option is you don't take these jobs when they come up. You've got to just roll with the punches." There has
been speculation about Tennant's love life (he's been pictured with Thunderbirds actress Sophia Myles and there were rumours
about a relationship with actress Keira Malik), and he obviously struggles with the attention. "No-one teaches you how to
deal with all that sort of stuff," he says. "You have to decide for yourself where the lines will be drawn. It's about your
own personal integrity. You just have to figure it out as you go." He says he's keen to do theatre again - he trained at the
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and has a background at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum, the RSC and the Donmar - and says
he'd love to do something at the new National Theatre of Scotland. "Nine months of the year you're filming, so it's difficult
to do anything else," he admits. "But I fully intend to go back to the theatre at some point and, if it was something for
the National Theatre of Scotland, all the better." As for a third series, both Piper and Tennant have signed up, although
there is speculation over whether Piper will appear in every episode. But that's all still some time away in the future. So
what can you look forward to in this latest series? Well there's a peek inside the Torchwood Institute, domain of Captain
Jack and the place that, later this year, gets its own spin-off series on BBC3. Then there's your usual scientific cats, men
who turn into werewolves, an episode where Rose and the Doctor fear they may never return to Earth, and a fair few close-to-the-bone
jokes about the bloodlines of the Royal family that have anti-royalist Davies's pawprints all over them. Shame really. "They're
fans of the show," Piper says at one point, turning excitedly to Tennant. Well, they were, at least.
The Scotsman 07/04/04
Doctor Who Brings His Partner Home
DOCTOR WHO star David Tennant and screen partner Billie Piper landed in
Glasgow to talk about the upcoming
series of the Time Lord's thrilling adventures.
But Tennant, the Paisley boy who attended the Royal Scottish Academy of
Music and Drama in Glasgow, proved as enigmatic as the iconic television character he is playing.
He neatly dodged inquiries
about his girlfriend, actress Sophia Myles, who played Lady Penelope in the movie Thunderbirds.
And he was a little guarded
about the fact he doesn't use his own accent when playing the Doctor. But he did reveal that when he was offered the part
his first reaction was not to take the job because of the profile it carries.
"I thought 'Oh no!'.
A show like this
does attract so much attention. But a couple of days later I changed my mind. And now I think it's a huge thrill and a huge
privilege to play the character. I am having a ball."
Billie Piper blushed when asked whether David or previous star Christopher
Eccleston was the best Doctor.
She said: "David's is more emotional while Christopher's was more intense - but I've had
great fun working with both."
•The first episode of the new series will be shown on Saturday, April 15, at 7.15pm.
Source: The Evening Times 07/04/06
Doctor Wha's Just Like Us
QUEEN VICTORIA COMES FACE TO FACE WITH THE TIMELORD IN THE BBC'S NEW SERIES Scots star David Tennant
uses his own accent as the TV time traveller takes on werewolves in the Highlands
By Paul English
THERE'S a werewolf
loose in the Highlands, a monarch under siege - and a Doctor from Paisley pretending he's Scottish.
The new Doctor Who
might come from Renfrewshire - but as far as Rose Tyler and Queen Victoria are concerned, he's only kidding on.
preview of episode two of the new series yesterday, revealed how Doctor Who pretends to be Scottish to throw suspicious royal
guards off his scent after inadvertently hijacking Queen Victoria's royal entourage.
The news will disappoint Scottish
fans after rumours spread that the new Timelord would be speaking in his natural tongue by the end of the second series.
Tennant's time-travelling predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, played the Doctor with an obvious Mancunian accent, with writer
Russell T. Davies even jokingly referencing his strong northern twang in Eccleston's first episode.
And there was even
less chance of tartan in the Tardis when BBC bosses decided that Wales would have to stand in for Scotland.
producer Davies denies he was put under pressure by BBC bosses to avoid any obviously Scottish overtones which may put off
viewers in middle-England - where Scots movie Sweet Sixteen was shown with subtitles last year.Speaking at Glasgow's Centre
for Contemporary Arts where cast and crew gathered for a special Scottish screening, Davies shot down suggestions of a three-line
whip from BBC bigwigs.He said: "I swear that was never said to me, and I didn't ban the Scottish accent."We had immense freedom,
and it was basically just a matter of choice."I think if David found out there was some boss at the BBC who insisted on him
not using a Scottish accent, then he would have gone off and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company or something."But we talked
about the accent just as much as we discussed costume design."An explanatory scene was originally planned for last year's
Christmas special, alluding to the fact that Tennant's accent was different from Eccleston's despite the language being English.However,
it was never shown.Despite his background, Royal Scottish Academy graduate Tennant maintains he's not fussed that he wasn't
following Sylvester McCoy's lead by playing the iconic alien in his native tongue.He said: "It didn't bother me one way or
another, it's just what I was asked to do."Part of being an actor involves taking on various accents, but it doesn't make
me any less Scottish."So it really didn't bother me, although I think it's nice we've got this one episode where Russell came
up with the idea of the Doctor speaking in a Scottish accent which, remarkably, he could do."Pauline Collins, who starred
in Shirley Valentine, plays the stoic Queen Victoria, who's lured into a Highland bolt-hole where she comes under siege from
a team of power-hungry monks with a ferocious pet - a werewolf.And even she's confused by the Doctor's tones."Should I trust
you sir?," she asks. "You who change your voice so easily? What happened to your accent?"The episode, which also co-stars
Scots Michelle Duncan (Sea of Souls), Jamie Sives (One Last Chance) and No Angels' Derek Riddell, was shot last year in Wales
rather than Scotland to cut costs.Davies said: "We just didn't have a big enough budget. But there was no need to go to Scotland
because we've made Wales look like London, France and Mars. So we could make it look like Scotland too."Doctor Who, Tooth
& Claw, will be shown on April 22 on BBC1. The new series starts a week on Saturday at 7.15pm.
WEREWOLF BEASTIE COULD HAVE YOUR KIDS HIDING BEHIND THE SOFA
THIS isn't just Doctor Who - it's Doctor Awhooooo...David Tennant and Billie Piper (Rose) are blown off-course
on their inter-galactic adventures.Having decided to go back to Sheffield in 1979 for an Ian Drury f and The Blockheads gig,
our Doc miscalculates by 100 years - and instead lands the Tardis on a Scottish hillside.But who do you think just happens
to be passing by?Queen Victoria.And why not. This is Doctor Who after all - a deliciously OTT slice of post-dinner escapism
for Saturday nights.What follows is a surprisingly dark 45 minutes of good versus evil, which writer/producer Russell T. Davies
yesterday described as "as scary as we ever get".Taking refuge in Torchwood House (niftily sowing the seeds for the forthcoming
Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood) Queen Victoria is attacked by a gang of renegade monks with a secret weapon - a werewolf
with a thirst for BBC blood.But mums and dads beware - you might have to bribe your brood out from behind the sofa after this
big beastie's wolfed his way through the supporting cast.RTD and the boys at the Beeb have upped the ante in Tooth & Claw.Out
goes the wobbly-yet-lethal campness of The Slithene aliens, in comes a slick special effects monster in the moonlight.And
how's this for an explanation for Queen Victoria's sickle-cell anaemia which she passed down the generations - our Royals
go hunting and love bloodsports. Could they be half werewolf?
Source: The Daily Record 07/04/06
New Doctor Pleased to Play Scot
Doctor Who actor David Tennant has spoken of his joy at getting to play a Scot in one episode of the new
The star was in Glasgow for a preview of episode two from the second series. The episode, entitled Tooth
and Claw, sees Tennant time travel to Scotland during Queen Victoria's reign and save the monarch from a werewolf on a Highland
estate with help from his companion Rose, played by Billie Piper.
The 34-year-actor, who trained at Glasgow's RSAMD, ditched his Scots accent to take on the role of the Doctor
at the request of writer Russell T Davies. But he gets to use his own accent in the new episode as he pretends to be a doctor
trained in Edinburgh.