Paisley-born actor David Tennant (real name David John McDonald) has just finished his fifth and final year as Doctor Who in Russell T Davies’s revamp of the popular BBC sci-fi series. He succeeded Christopher Eccleston to become the 10th planet hopping Time Lord. Tennant's final adventures as the Doctor will be screened over Christmas.
Extracts from the accompanying The Greatest Scot television programme are being added to these biographical notes as the programme is broadcast between November 9 and 13. If you live outside the UK, you will not be able to see these, but you may enjoy other videos about some of the subjects which are available via links in the text. Here is a video that will transport you to the world of Dr Who.
A son of the manse (his father Sandy was a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland) Tennant, who was voted the Best Actor to play the Doctor by readers of Doctor Who magazine in 2006, studied acting at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
After graduating, he landed his first professional role as a hitman in a touring production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui with groundbreaking political Scottish theatre group 7:84. He then went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company aged 25 where his appearance as Touchstone in As You Like It was praised as the most memorable in years. He cemented his reputation as a rising star of stage four years later when he received an Ian Charleson Award nomination for Best Classical Actor under 30 for his work with the company.
Other awards include the 2005 Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland Best Male Performance, as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger and a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nomination for Best Actor for Lobby Hero.
He made numerous TV cameos during the 1990s in shows such as Foyle's War, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Rab C. Nesbitt, and the multi-award-winning People Like Us.
But his big break came when he landed a part in the award-winning BBC TV series Takin' Over the Asylum where he played manic-depressive Campbell Bain, a role he claims changed his life.
A string of high profile roles followed which helped turn him into a household name both at home and abroad: flirtatious clergyman Reverend Gibson in Andrew Davies’s adaptation of Trollope’s novel He Knew He Was Right; the even flirtier 2005’s Casanova where he played the 18th century seducer as a young man; and musical thriller Blackpool where he won critical acclaim for his portrayal of DI Inspector Peter Carlisle.
More recently the 38-year old took time out from the Tardis to return to the RSC, where his portrayal of Hamlet at Stratford-Upon-Avon and London last year enjoyed a sell-out run. Tennant was rewarded with a Critics Circle Award for Best Shakespeare Performance. A TV adaptation of the stage production will be screened by the BBC over Christmas.
Away from TV. his movie credits include Barty Crouch Junior in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Next up he can soon be seen in upcoming film St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold and British period drama Glorious 39.