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Sci Fi Interview

Going into the second series, what were your feelings about taking on such an iconic role? Did you feel massive amounts of pressure?

Tennant: Well, of course, taking over a role from someone who's been very successful in it is daunting, and taking on a character that people have such fondness for and such expectations of can feel a little overwhelming, but of course it's those very pressures that make it such an exciting job to take on.

Each actor has played the Doctor a little differently, and made the character his own. How did you develop your particular take on him?

Tennant: I've been watching Doctor Who since I was 3 years old (along with just about everyone else of my generation who grew up in Britain), so I had probably made a whole host of unconscious decisions about how I was going to do it years before it was an actual possibility. But to be honest, when it actually happened, I didn't sit down and draw up a list of quirks that I wanted to fit in to my performance. As with any other part, you take your lead from the script and what that character says and does. Once that is filtered through your own perspective and experiences, then hopefully it will be particular and unique. I was always aware of avoiding any kind of self-conscious eccentricity. The Doctor may be a 900-odd year old Time Lord from the other side of the galaxy, but he still has to be a believable character, or the whole thing collapses.

Did you do any commentary or special features for the upcoming release of your first season on DVD?

Tennant: I did commentary on five episodes, and I also contributed about an hour and a half of video diaries. I'd been filming bits and pieces of the production for my own amusement, really, and then they asked if they could look at what I'd got for the DVD release. I think I handed over about 20 hours of stuff eventually.

Which episode of the second series is your favorite to watch and why?

Tennant: Oh, I don't have favorites. That would be like ranking your children.

That final beach scene with Billie Piper was so moving. What was it like to film that?

Tennant: Of course, that scene meant that Billie was leaving the show (although it wasn't the final scene she shot), and that was very sad, because she is a great actor and had become a great friend. It's also a beautifully written scene, and even when we ran through the lines together on the makeup bus that morning, we started sniffling. In fact, in the video diaries on the DVD you can see us both have a good old weep about the whole thing.

It seems that the appeal of Doctor Who is reaching across the pond now more than ever. Were you aware of or surprised at the response to the show overseas?

Tennant: To be honest, I'm so caught up in making the show down here in Wales that I'm not always aware of what it's doing around the world. I've heard that Canada have taken to us in quite a big way, which is great, as I've got family there. I believe we've also sold to South Korea, which isn't the first place you'd expect to find Doctor Who, but I'm delighted that it's there. I'm not sure of all the other countries that have taken the show, but it would seem to be just about everywhere. And, of course, I'm really chuffed that we're showing in the States now, too.

Moving on to the upcoming third series, you have a new companion now—Martha Jones. What does Freema Agyeman bring to the show?

Tennant: Well, you'll have to wait and see. The Doctor and Martha have a very different relationship to the Doctor and Rose. The Doctor doesn't really think he needs a new traveling companion at the moment, but Martha makes herself indispensable.

Freema's position now is somewhat similar to yours going into The Christmas Invasion. You both came in to replace a popular outgoing cast member, and you both had to essentially win the audience over. Did you have any advice for her?

Tennant: Oh, she doesn't need any advice, and I wouldn't be pompous enough to offer it. Freema hit the ground running and has inhabited Martha Jones from day one without a hint of trepidation or nervousness. I found myself quite envious of her confidence. She is going to be brilliant.

You dealt a little with the Doctor's loss of Rose in The Runaway Bride. Will that continue? Or do you come to a point where you just need to move on and concentrate more on the future, rather than dwelling on the past?

Tennant: As with any big relationship, it takes time for the scars to heal. Perhaps the Doctor feels like he's dealt with it, but Martha might disagree.

It appears from the trailer that the Daleks are coming back in the third series. Any other blasts from the past?

Tennant: Oh yes, but it's more than my job's worth to reveal what they are.

You've done a lot of Shakespeare, so what was it like filming the episode where the Doctor gets to meet him?

Tennant: The Shakespeare that the Doctor meets is a bit more rock and roll than you might expect. Very much the Elizabethan celebrity enjoying his status and his wealth, not the more traditional enigmatic Bard of legend. But the Doctor is absolutely thrilled to meet him and for once recognizes someone almost as brilliant as he is.

What's the production schedule like for you? Do you have any time between seasons?

Tennant: Uncharacteristically for a British show, we make 13 episodes plus a Christmas special every year. So when we finish on the final episode our Christmas show has already gone out, and the first is being broadcast. By the time the 13 episodes have transmitted, it's time to start work on the next lot.
Source: Sci Fi Weekly Feb 2007