Doctor Who News David Tennant starred with Olivia Colman in Broadchurch

Published on October 4th, 2013 | by Jonathan Appleton

Will Tennant’s American Accent Work For Broadchurch Remake?

David Tennant is to reprise his role in the US version of hit drama Broadchurch… and he’ll be adopting an American accent.

Fox has signed David up to star in the remake of the ITV1 drama which, as in the UK original, will revolve around the effects on a community of the murder of a young boy.

The series was a massive success in Britain, due in no small part to the leading man’s performance as the detective in charge of the investigation who has secrets of his own.

There’s no word yet as to whether Tennant will return in series 2 of British Broadchurch. On BBC Radio 4′s Front Row this week he told Mark Lawson to ask Chris Chibnall if he’d be coming back, though it would surely be a huge surprise if he doesn’t return.

Doctor Number Ten has some form with US accents, adopting one in 2010 for Rex is Not Your Lawyer, a pilot that didn’t get taken up.

What do you think? As good as Damian Lewis in Homeland? Or more of a Dick Van Dyke in reverse?

(Via Radio Times.)


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About the Author


has watched Doctor Who since those great big spiders did for Jon Pertwee, and it's way too late to stop now. When he's not at his job working for a charity he spends his time following Hull City's fortunes, listening to Bruce Springsteen and wondering why it took thirty years too long for Doctor Who action figures to come along. Currently reading: Frank Skinner interview in DWM. That guy seriously loves this show...

23 Responses to Will Tennant’s American Accent Work For Broadchurch Remake?

  1. avatar Jim says:

    That show was not picked up for two reasons. His accent was one of them.

  2. avatar lee moone says:

    You know what posses me off about US TV execs is that they always have to remake things and by doing so they make a hash of it. Just buy the originals like the rest of the world!

    • avatar BOJAY says:

      In my opinion, so far the worst? “Being Human” remade for SyFy. Sold like meat. By its creator, Toby Whithouse. Like a retarded cross between “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” that started eating paint chips as soon as it was born. Granted, it’s his property to do with as he pleases, but as a big fan of the original (including Series 5), something I find completely unnecessary, other than the hopefully sizable paychecks for everyone involved. And it apparently helped revive the fortunes of SyFy. Shouldn’t Whithouse be punished just for that atrocity?

    • avatar Al says:

      However keep in mind it seems everyone involved with the original series is involved with this one. That’s a big difference. Anyway, they have a long way to go before they match the depths of the worst-ever UK remake, Life on Mars, which dumbed down the entire concept. As far as the idea of localizing shows, it happens everywhere. And it’s been going on since All in the Family showed it could be done.

  3. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Thing is, the UK has ripped off American shows as well. It’s simply a common practice. It’s not really a good one, just sadly common. and as much as I like Tennant, his American accent sucks. He’d be better off just doing his proper British or his own accent again. And for god’s sake, someone have him shave this time!

    • avatar J W says:

      Very true. An example is the British version of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, Married For Life. There have also been British adaptations of Good Times, Maude, Who’s the Boss, That 70′s Show, and Saturday Night Live among others.

      • avatar DWhoFanPenn says:

        Not to mention Law and Order: UK, but in fairness I haven’t seen it so I don’t know if it’s any good or not.

        • avatar lara says:

          i like the version of law & order UK. the stories and good. i just have to have closed captioning turned on – it’s one thing for an actor to sort of mumble some lines while turning their mouth into the collar opening of their jacket (rewind – what did he say) but another entirely if he is doing it in an unfamiliar accent. :-) now i rewind and read what he said. like bradley walsh. or that guy that plays foyle …

          but if capaldi used his normal accent, ok by me, but then i am relatively newbie to who …

  4. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Why would he need to change his accent? Why can’t he be a British or Scottish cop relocating to the states? Johnny Lee Miller doesn’t play Sherlock Holmes on Elementary with an American accent.

  5. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    There’s an old writers saying: To be a success you need a good original idea. But… It doesn’t have to be *your* good original idea. Truth is, everything is a variation on a theme – “Death in Paradise” is just “Bergerac” in the Caribbean. DW is drawn from a number of sources, not least “The Time Machine”. It’s always been like this, and always will be.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      There’s a difference, though, I feel, between incorporating influences, and any work being “influenced”, and a whole hog recreation or imitation. Are there really any grounds, other than commercial hopes, to do an American “Broadchurch”? Does Whithouse, or someone he has connected with feel that this story being told from an American perspective, set in a small US town as opposed to one in the UK, will provide a fresh take, or a valid alternative way to tell this story? Part of what makes a story, part of what contributes to an effective narrative very often includes the origin or setting. Hence, Doctor Who having a “British” sensiblilty contributing to its charm, or a story set say, in the American south having an impact because the story being told is indigenous to its setting. I’m more than suggesting that “influence” has nothing whatsoever to do with enterprises like this. This is just an attempt to recreate a commercial success, in the hopes of those concerned, with a more sizable financial return. No variation on a theme involved here at all.

  6. avatar BOJAY says:

    I’m sure his “American” accent will be just fine. And his bank account even more so. And then, bring on the South American, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Australian versions. Let us not discriminate. They can get their holes filled making a profit by filling the holes in television entertainment across the globe. It’s like the prostitute who just turned a trick. Take a shower, and it’s good to go for the next customer.

  7. avatar Bob James says:

    And when all is said and done, it works for reality television. Integrity isn’t even the 5,000 pound elephant in the room, it’s the corpse buried in the back yard.

  8. avatar lara says:

    an american accent? oh please say it isn’t so. it will sound like an accent. we all know tennant is not american and it will hard getting past that fact if he is pretending to be one. other actors have adopted american accents – simon baker in the mentalist. but he wasn’t well known before he did the mentalist. i was surprised to find out he was an aussie. when tennat adopts an american accent it will scream “ACTING!” why couldn’t be a guy from scotland who had moved to the US for whatever reason?

    • avatar Al says:

      You’ve obviously never seen Hugh Laurie in House. Huge star before he took on the role, and even then people were gobsmacked to find out he’s not American.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Hugh Laurie did rock the place in “House”. Some British folks seem to get the American accent down better than others. In the world of Who, I’ve heard Peter Davison pull off a really great “American” accent at conventions. And then there is the regional issue. That applies to the US and where one is from as well as the UK.

      • avatar lara says:

        yes, i was surprised to learn hugh laurie was not american, but then i had never heard of hugh laurie before i happened to catch a couple of episodes of house. so maybe americans won’t know tennant is not american – - not sure about that. i just have no problem with actors retaining their own accents. i mean would it make any different to the mentalist if simon baker was allowed to be an aussie? heck no, women love those accents! i don’t think eccleston changed his accent to be in Heroes.

  9. avatar Al says:

    A few things to bear in mind: I believed Rex was set in Boston and Tennant was attempting a Bostonian accent. That’s like saying someone can’t do a British accent because they suck at doing the Scottish accent. Second, it’s been about 4 years since the Rex pilot; there is a little thing called practice. Third, as has been pointed out there are a growing number of British voices in US TV these days – Game of Thrones, Agents of Shield, Elementary, etc. Plus everyone watches Downton Abbey it seems – we don’t know that Tennant won’t be using at least a British accent, if not his Scottish one.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      You just had to go and remind me that there is an “Elementary”. Moffat had been approached by the American network people about a US version. He had expressed interest, but also expressed his conviction that now was not the time, what with “Sherlock” still ongoing, and that perhaps after it had concluded they could look into it. Therefore CBS went ahead and made one anyway. I am sure that “we need to get one of those for ourselves” never entered the equation.

  10. avatar Cat says:

    I have seen the Rex pilot and that clip is the segment where his accent is at it’s worse. Unfortunately that is the only one out there publicly and raises false concern over his ability to do an American accent. In other parts of the pilot it is much better, making it pretty obvious it was falling into place quite nicely as they filmed..I have no doubt David Tennant will have a very believable accent for the American Broadchurch.

  11. avatar Tommycot says:

    Yeah, and we are best placed to judge on the accent of another country?
    I guess that the production team will have confidence in him after audition, so what exactly is the issue? I’d personally prefer hime to keep his Scots brogue, but acting is acting..

    • avatar lara says:

      i watch a lot of british tv and they often have american characters – played by uk actors. and wow, some of those are really bad. like this last episode of foyle’s war. AWEFUL. just because one is an actor does not mean one can pull of the accent of another country. i kind of wish they would have just used american actors. i would just as soon production companies understand we live in a multi-linqual world – foreign accents are just fine. only a couple of lines of dialogue to explain and voila!

  12. avatar Tom says:

    Great another British series ruined… Just like The Inbetweeners

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