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Published on October 4th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

David Tennant Feared Doctor Who Fan Resentment

Can you ever really go back? For a Time Lord it’s as easy as flicking the wrong switch but for David Tennant, there were some reservations about donning the old pinstripe suit once more for the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

At last weekend’s Tenth Doctor BFI event, a ponytailed Tennant said:

Part of me would have stayed doing it forever. But it’s one of those things where you just have to take a deep breath and think: ‘If I don’t leave this show now, people will resent me still being there in 25 years.’

Unsurprisingly, returning to the show was a fraught business for Tennant. Not only were there nervous to contend with but also the floppy-haired presence of his successor, the equally popular Matt Smith.

The Doctor: His Lives and Times

As reported earlier this week, in recently published extracts from The Doctor: His Lives and Times, Tennant spoke of the trepidation he felt as filming approached.

I thought, ‘Oh this’ll be great’. As the day approaches, I then think, ‘What if Matt feels like I’m stepping on his toes?’ Or, ‘What if I can’t remember how to do it? Surely I’m too old to be doing this now?’

The Day of the Doctor will be simulcast across the globe on the 23rd November.

The Doctor – His Lives and Times is available to order now for just £12 from Amazon UK.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

12 Responses to David Tennant Feared Doctor Who Fan Resentment

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    I can understand his nervousness. But from some comments I have seen in various fora, he is as likely to encounter resentment that he ever left. I for one am looking forward to seeing him as the Doctor again.

  2. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Yeah, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t with the fans, that’s why it’s smart that they usually don’t pay any attention to the ‘net. It’s the best for the mental health.

  3. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I hold no resentment toward David. As a long-time fan who is used to Doctors coming and going, and the occasional multi-Doctor crossover, I,m excited at seeing him and Matt working together.

  4. avatar BOJAY says:

    As long as the stories good, I don’t ever mind the prospect of a return. It’s not going to hurt his career, and it’s not like he’s doing it because he can’t get any other work. I’m grateful that he’s open and willing to revisit the role.

    • avatar Andrew Dick says:

      Unlike his predecessor.

      • avatar Geoff says:

        Indeed! I have no problem with the fact Chris Eccleston doesn’t want to revisit Who, it’s his career and his choice, but I’m also very glad not every 21st century Doctor feels that way!

  5. avatar Geoff says:

    I was very sorry to see David move on and I feel the same about Matt. I think as an actor you can only do so much in a part like Doctor Who before you’re just retreading your past performances. Much as I love Tom Baker his first three years are without doubt his best and that retread/ boredom is visible in some of his later performances. I guess David and Matt both decided to go while they were at the top of their game which makes sense whatever trade or position you’re in. What I love about Matt is comparing the nervous young man of 2010 to the self assured film star in waiting he is today. It’s daft but I feel a glow of pride even though all I do is watch! A friend of mine is very good friends with Matts mum and I am assured that he is exactly the same sweet considerate guy today he was then. It’s no wonder he and David apparently got on so well. They are both generous people and actors…..unlike some of the previous multi doc fests!

  6. avatar lara says:

    i think david hasn’t really left doctor who, appearing in SO many panels and events all talking about his tenure as the doctor. it is if he can’t let go. some of the other doctors have occasionally been around as well, but tennant really is just everywhere! he played a very important role in “the doctors revisited” taking on the part of expert in a few episodes. i hope he gives it all up after the 50th is aired and just concentrate on his other work. it is time for him to move on.

  7. avatar Geoff says:

    I disagree a little bit Lara. David has been in constant work since he left Who. What you call failing to move on I’d call being proud of the shows heritage and his role in it. Don’t forget David is a lifelong fan so he’s bound to feel more ties than an actor like Chris Eccleston for example for whom The Doctor is but one role in a very broad body of work. Also if David was desperate to come back he wouldn’t have had the insecurity he mentions about stepping on Matts toes. In short DT is simply a top fella and is welcome back anytime he wants to squeeze into the suit and pumps as far as I’m concerned.

    • avatar lara says:

      understood. :-)

  8. avatar Eva Koudela says:

    Love David Tennant. would have loved him to stay forever!

  9. avatar Terry says:

    David Tennant is the best of the new doctors, his companions were intelligent and thoughtful and his story lines much better than the amy pond show under Matt Smith. Would love to see more doctor who 10 episodes

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