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"You can't research being a Time Lord. I wish you could! You can't really go and hang out at the Time Lord offices for a week – be an intern and see how they work."

Awesome Con Q&A: David Tennant on ‘Doctor Who’

Promotional photo of David Tennant for Awesome Con
Courtesy of Awesome Con

David Tennant came to Washington, D.C., for Awesome Con on the weekend of June 16. The actor recently finished a limited run in London’s West End with the play Don Juan in Soho. He is famous for his time as the Tenth Doctor on the popular sci-fi television show, Doctor Who.

During his Q&A there was an initial emphasis on the intersection of real science and science fiction. Tennant was all too happy to delve into the subject. “I think it works best on Doctor Who even though you’re talking about things like time travel which don’t necessarily exist yet – things we can aspire to, things we can dream of. It works best when it seems credible, when you can just about imagine that we might be able to get there one day. Everyone has their own threshold for that.”

The actor was also asked about the challenge of playing a character like the Doctor. “The fact that the Doctor knows everything is rather lovely. He’s always enthusiastic to find out more,” Tennant explained. “That kind of innocence and constant journey for knowledge gives him a kind of naïveté and youthfulness, enthusiasm for life and discovery. I guess all the best scientists have [that].”

A fan asked how Tennant prepared for his role. He answered, “You can’t research being a Time Lord. I wish you could! You can’t really go and hang out at the Time Lord offices for a week – be an intern and see how they work. I watched the show since I was a kid, so I was fairly steeped in it.”

Photo of David Tennant Answering a Question
Courtesy of Robbie Hott

In a memorable finish to the Tenth Doctor’s story arc, Tennant worked with Derek Jacobi and John Simm, who both portrayed the Master. “They’re two of the best actors in the country. It was a delight to get not one, but two of them,” he said. “Derek Jacobi is acting royalty. So the fact that he agreed to come was an utter joy. He was so amazed that he got to be the Master. He was so thrilled. He was just annoyed he didn’t get to do it for very long. With John Simm, you couldn’t ask for a better sparring partner.”

Near the close of the Q&A, a fan asked what Tennant would write about if he decided to write a play. It was no surprise that, having successfully taken on Shakespeare’s plays as an actor, he looked to Shakespeare as a guide. “Shakespeare’s famous for always nicking plots. That means stealing. Maybe I’d do a Shakespearean take on the Marvel Universe.”

His response resonated with the crowd. For starters, Stan Lee was the headlining guest at Awesome Con this summer. In addition, Tennant has garnered a lot of praise for his performance on Marvel’s Jessica Jones. If anyone could spearhead an effort to put a Shakespearean spin on a Marvel tale, he’d be a great candidate for the project.


About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros earned a B.A. in Art History on a full scholarship at the University of Virginia. Pat is a frequent reviewer of all things Washington, D.C., but she's also covered events in Canada and London. Highlights in her work include articles on Simon Callow, Ian McKellen, and Mark Rylance. Pat particularly enjoyed interviewing Lawrence Gowan of Styx, Ndaba Mandela, and Sir Derek Jacobi & Richard Clifford.

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