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Treats from the Doctor

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David Tennant is everywhere on TV this Christmas. Steve Pratt looks at the impact of the actor voted the best Doctor ever

WHO'S the person we're going to see most off over Christmas? No, not Santa Claus. He's a recluse compared to actor David Tennant, who'll be putting in regular appearances on TV.

With a turn as guest presenter on Never Mind The Buzzcocks behind him, he's ready to fly through time and space and land in a variety of shows over the Christmas period.

There's hardly a programme that doesn't feature the outgoing Doctor Who, from the title role in the TV version of his RSC hit Hamlet to guesting on Catherine Tate's Christmas Carol. The main attraction is the two-part Doctor Who when Tennant exits the rejuvenated series and "regenerates" into a younger model, Matt Smith.

In his four years as the Doctor, Tennant has seen the popularity of the series grow and grow, while he's become - in the words of Who producer Russell T Davies - "the biggest name in Britain".

He was successful pre-Who but his time in the Tardis has taken him to new heights with the ultimate accolade of "the best Doctor ever", as voted by readers of The Doctor Who magazine.

"David, " said Patrick Stewart, his Hamlet co-star, "is arguably the most popular actor in England."

How fitting that seeing the TV Doctor at the age of three made young David, growing up in Paisley near Glasgow, want to act. Apparently, he carried a Tom Baker doll around at school.

In a way, he owes it all to Casanova. Davies cast him as the legendary lover in a BBC3 series and that led to taking over as the Doctor when Christopher Ecclestone left after just one series. It was a risk but Tennant made the part his own and helped boost the series still further.

Although the public will undoubtedly continue to associate him with the Doctor, he's done enough to avoid being typecast. "I seem to have managed to do quite a variety of things while doing Doctor Who. I haven't felt that it's been anything other than a positive, " he says.

He's filled the three months of the year he's not making Doctor Who in Cardiff with a long list of different jobs - Hamlet and Love's Labours Lost for the RSC, a Harry Potter film, TV dramas like Einstein And Eddington, and playing the villain in the latest St Trinian's comedy.

No doubt, Davies will ensure the Doctor Who double header will give him a suitable epic send-off. The final scenes he filmed as the Doctor have already been seen in the spinoff children's show The Sarah Jane Adventures. "You two, with me, spit spot, " was his not a particularly memorable final line.

The manner of his passing in Doctor Who is a secret, although we know that The Master (John Sim) is back to cause his downfall.

As well as causing a few tears among viewers, filming his goodbye was upsetting for the actors too. "It was very emotional saying cheerio," Tennant reports. "Filming the final scene was very, very sad.

There are lots of scenes in the final story that were very sad to play."

We may see him back on TV soon, although it could mean losing him to the America.

He's filming a pilot for a new comedy-drama, Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, for US TV.

He's realistic that he may be quickly forgotten at The Doctor. "You know what will happen? Everyone will go 'oh, it'll never be the same'.

"And then two weeks in (to the new series) they'll go, 'Matt Smith: he's brilliant', " he says.

WHO'S ON WHEN?

QI (BBC1, Christmas Eve, 10pm).

Tennant joins regulars Alan Davies and host Stephen Fry.

Doctor Who (BBC1, Christmas Day, 6pm, and New Year's Day, 6.40pm) Final two-parter for Tennant's time lord.

Catherine Tate: Nan's Christmas Carol (BBC1, Christmas Day, 10.30pm). A guest appearance with his former Doctor Who's travelling companion.

Doctor Who Confidential (BBC3, Christmas Day, 7pm, and New Year's Day, 7.55pm). Behind the scenes documentary.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate (Radio 2, Boxing Day, 10am).

Standing in for Jonathan Ross.

Desert Island Discs (Radio 4, Sunday, 11.15am; repeated New Year's Day, 9am). Choosing eight gramophone records.

Hamlet (BBC2, Boxing Day, 5.05pm). The RSC production about the troubled Danish prince.

Alan Carr: Chatty Man New Year Special (C4, December 29, 10.20pm), Talking about You Know-Who.

Who on Who? (December 29, Radio 2, 5pm). Tennant interviews outgoing Doctor Who producer Russell T Davies

GRAPHIC: DOCTOR ON THE GO: David Tennant acts out his last episodes as Doctor Who; CRACKING: Tennant reprises his RSC Hamlet on TV

Spelling corrections: Christopher Eccleston, John Simm

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  • APA 6th ed.: Pratt, Steve (2009-12-24). Treats from the Doctor. The Northern Echo p. 4.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Pratt, Steve. "Treats from the Doctor." The Northern Echo [add city] 2009-12-24, 4. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Pratt, Steve. "Treats from the Doctor." The Northern Echo, edition, sec., 2009-12-24
  • Turabian: Pratt, Steve. "Treats from the Doctor." The Northern Echo, 2009-12-24, section, 4 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Treats from the Doctor | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Treats_from_the_Doctor | work=The Northern Echo | pages=4 | date=2009-12-24 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Treats from the Doctor | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Treats_from_the_Doctor | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019}}</ref>