Tennant transcribed

Thursday, October 30, 2008 by

Doctor Who‘s publicists have released a transcript of David Tennant’s exit interview.

Talking to the BBC’s Entertainment Correspondent, Lizo Mzimba, for, Tennant spoke about his reasons for quitting Doctor Who

First of all David tell us why you have decided to finally say goodbye to Doctor Who?

Well, I think when I first started back in 2005; I always thought that if it worked out 3 years would be about the right time. The right amount of time to do, 3 years, 3 series which I did and I loved and I had a great time. And then there was the possibility of doing a few more, doing a few specials, which will see us through next year, so that was too hard to turn down really. And then I just had to think about whether this was the right time to move on, and with Russell T Davies leaving and Julie Gardner, the Executive Producer leaving and my connection to the show had always been very linked to them, I mean we did Casanova together, which was a BBC drama which really led to me doing Doctor Who so that became a very natural stepping off point for me.

What became very difficult was when it was announced that Steven Moffatt was taking over as the show-runner on Doctor Who because I’m such a fan of his, he’s such a great writer, he’s written such amazing stories for me in Doctor Who already, but the prospect of hanging around for a while and enjoying working with him and it was sorely tempting and very nearly changed my mind again; but I thought no, hang on, this is what I always thought I would do, this feels about right and the show’s doing well and people seem to like it and I think it’s better, better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you rather than to hang around and out-stay your welcome.

So what’s your message to the fans about all of this?

Well do you know, I remember when I was a kid and I loved Doctor Who, I grew up with it – for me it was the most exciting times when the Doctor changed, suddenly the fact that it can renew itself this hero who can never die – you know he’s gonna die, you know he’s on his way out, you know something terrible is going to happen, it’s very exciting and then you got this whole new character to look forward to look and wonder about, it’s very exciting and it’s part of what makes Doctor Who so great that the fact that it can renew itself that it kind of lives off that rejuvenation, both in story terms and in terms of the programme itself. I think it’s exciting; I’m excited as a viewer to see what happens next.

Has Russell T Davies given you any hints about your exit or any final lines you might be saying?

No! He hasn’t, I do not know what he’s thinking about. I don’t even know what we’re doing for the first special yet. So I hope he’s thinking about it long and hard but I don’t know what it’s going to be. But Russell being Russell I’m sure it’ll be a send off to be proud.

What are your memories of the last three and a half years of Doctor Who?

It’s been the most extraordinary time; it’s been bewildering, life changing time, very exciting and just so much fun – it’s such a great show to work on. And again, I think that’s one of the reasons I think it’s right to take a sort of deep breath and bow out when it’s still fun, when it’s a novelty when it still feels like something, it needs. I think Doctor Who needs an energy and an enthusiasm and I think, to serve it properly you’ve got to be, you’ve got to be full of excitement about it, which I still am and I don’t ever want it to feel like a job, so you know, I want to move on when it still feels exciting and fresh and that means I’ll miss it. In some ways I could go on forever really, you know, it would be very easy to still be here when I’m 42 and people are going “how long is he staying for?” So it, you know it’s been the most fantastic time working on this show and I will have such great memories and all the people who work on the show down in Cardiff, the enthusiasm everyone has for it and the lack of cynicism on set, that’s remarkably rare in television and it’s been a pleasure to be involved with and I’m just glad that, delighted that I’ve got another year to go. I’ll be eating it up all the more now.

When that year’s over what do you think you’ll actually miss the most?

I think I’ll miss the people, all the people who work on the show. I’ll miss Russell’s fantastic scripts and of all the other writers who work on it and I’ll miss playing this character, I mean, I don’t think there’s a better character on television really. He gets to be everything you know, he gets to be funny, and intense, he’s a hero but he’s also a bit of a clown, he’s an anarchist but he’s, he’s strong and dependable and crazy, like mercury one minute and like steel the next and to get the chance to play all those things you know for 45 minutes on a Saturday night, I’ll miss that I’m sure.

As an actor what’s going to be like in the future? Do you think you’ll always be known as Doctor Who?

I think it’s one of those parts that does follow you around yeah. I know a couple of the old Doctor’s and it’s clearly still a part of their life. I think it has such a, the public has such an enthusiasm for it and such an intrigue for the show that once you’ve been part of it does tend to stick to you like glue, but that’s fine it’s something I’m very proud to be forever associated with but I have no delusions that it won’t always be, you know, be something I’m referred to as having been involved with but that’s fine.

Of course a lot of previous Doctors’ have made reappearances in the show, is that something you’d consider in the future?

You see when you’re in the show they’re asking you when you’ll leave and as soon as you say you’re going they’re asking when you’ll come back! I don’t know, I mean who knows? Like I said you know everyone who’s played this part, it kind of sticks with them. If the opportunity arises and it’s the right set of circumstances but right now all I know is that I’m after another year, it’s still a year away but it won’t be sort of my day to day existence anymore, which, but beyond that I can’t really say at the moment

As you said, ever since you have started people have been asking when are you going to leave – so is this all a bit of a relief now?

Oh It’s funny, I was just talking to Julie Gardner, Executive Producer, before I came in here and I said it’s all a bit real this, we are actually going to talk abut moving on, there’s no going back now. So I don’t know, I suppose it’ll be a relief having to stop having to field questions about when I’m leaving because I’ve been doing that for the last three and a half years, but I don’t really know what it will feel like until it happens I suppose. It’s been such a big part of my life, it’s an all consuming job and it’ll feel very different to move away from.

Do you think you’ll ever do anything quiet as special as Doctor Who again?

It’s difficult to know, isn’t it? I mean, I think the cross-generational cross cultural appeal of Doctor Who is pretty unique. I can’t think of anything else that has fans who are 7 and 70 in almost equal measure. And it’s difficult to think of what else one might do that could rival that. I mean I hope I’ll do things that will be as exciting and as thrilling artistically and professionally obviously, but I think Doctor Who is pretty unique, and I don’t know, perhaps nothing else will rival quite the sort of combination of experiences that it brings, which is another reason I’ve been very privileged to be involved at all really.

How has Doctor Who changed your life, it must have had a lot of great positives but also some negatives?

Well yeah, I mean obviously the great positive is I get to be involved in this show I’m desperately proud of and I get to work on these great scripts and I get to play this incredible character. I suppose like I was saying it has a level of public scrutiny and attention which is very flattering and kind of thrilling to be in the middle of but also bewildering, and sometimes it does make you famous in a way that was never a particular intention of mine, and it’s churlish to complain about, but obviously that does bring certain tensions to your life which you might not always choose to have. But that, I knew what I was getting into, that’s part of the job and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Of course the huge question is; who would you like to replace you?

Well I’ve always been a big supporter of Wee Jimmy Krankie and I, you know, if it wasn’t me it was gonna be him, her, him. So the campaign starts here for me, to get wee Jimmy Krankie in the TARDIS and big Ian Krankie as the companion. I think that works.

Whoever your successor turns out to be what kind of advice would you give them?

I wouldn’t be so pompous as to offer them advice, I’m sure they’ll sort it out for themselves. Just have fun. It’s the best part around. Enjoy it.

What’s going to be like for will it be like for the fans, you’re their Doctor and it’ll be a huge change for them when you go?

Well I guess if you were 8 when I took over you’ll be 12 when I leave which is quite a big time of life isn’t it. But like I said, I think, I think that’s one of the exciting parts of being a fan of the show, you know the fact that, that it can change, that the doctor can change, the character and the centre of the drama can be a completely different person. And act very different, it’s not like James Bond, where you know he’s gonna be a bit suave, and okay he might change a bit, but he’s a certain type of Man, like Tarzan is a certain type of character, Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor can change quite radically, but there’s still an essential doctor-ness that I’m sure whoever takes over will find their own way of communicating that. And when I was a kid, Tom Baker turned into Peter Davison and it was thrilling and extraordinary and a little bit disorientating at first, but in a really exciting way, so I’m excited for everyone else getting to watch that happen; I think it’ll be great

David, you’re not leaving immediately are you? You’ve already filmed one Special with more to come.

Well, we’ve already shot the Christmas special for this year called “The Next Doctor” which in the circumstances is perhaps a more intriguing title than before, so you’ll see that this Christmas. It’s where we see the 10th Doctor meeting another Doctor, what’s all that about? Tune in, find out! And then in January we’ll film four more Specials, which will be screened throughout next year and they’ll be the four last stories that I do but I don’t quite know when they’ll go out but they’ll go out sometime throughout 2009. We start them in January and we’ll see them, next year.

Thanks for talking to us

It’s been a great pleasure

See the video interview at the official Doctor Who website.


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