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Who Done It

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Before he travels through time and space as TV's new Time Lord, David Tennant has taken on a role with a whole different dimension -- he's playing a psychopath


An actor's life is a funny business. One day you can be going about your daily life as usual... and the next, the strangest things start happening.

'I was walking around London a few months ago when a journalist from a tabloid newspaper came up to me,' says David Tennant. 'He handed me a list of women and asked me to tell him which one was my girlfriend! It was hilarious!'

The seismic shift of interest in David's life was, of course, the result of his being cast as Doctor Who, a role he officially takes over on Christmas Day after briefly morphing into Christopher Eccleston's shoes at the end of the last series and then guesting on Children in Need.

Although successful before, with recent sexy roles in Blackpool and Casanova, becoming the good Doctor has propelled David to a whole new realm of stardom. And he's finding it all a bit odd.

'The publicity is strange because it doesn't feel like you,' says David, 34. 'It doesn't make you any better or different or shinier. It's just there and it's quite weird. There were times before when I may have thought it would make you better or shinier but, of course, it doesn't.

'The level of attention that Doctor Who attracts is very daunting because it's like nothing I've ever known before. I was at my mum and dad's house in Scotland when it got announced. We got up and put the telly on and there I was, on the news! It was bizarre.'

But before he properly takes control of the Tardis, David will be on our screens in an altogether different role. Based on the book by Nicci French (actually married writing team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), Secret Smile is a psychological thriller about an obsessive ex-boyfriend.

'It's the story of Miranda Cotton [played by Shaun of the Dead star Kate Ashfield], who has a fling with my character, Brendan Block,' David explains. 'She has reasons to think he's not the best boyfriend in the world, so she finishes it, but he's not really willing to let her. Therein lies the story. So he manages to inveigle himself with her sister Kerry [Claire Goose], her family and other members of her circle, and sets about making her life a misery.'

Although he has never gone to Brendan's psychopathic extremes, David says he can understand where the impulses come from. 'Of course I've been jealous — who hasn't been bitten by the green-eyed monster?' he asks. 'You can recognise the thrust of where those instincts come from — whether it be romantic or professional. It can be a very overpowering sensation.'

After a string of nice guy roles, David admits that it's nice to play someone with a dark side. 'But you have to guard against pantomime villain territory,' he warns. 'Brendan has got to be plausible.'

With film and TV roles lined up left, right and centre — he is currently to be seen on the big screen in the latest Harry Potter movie as Barty Crouch Jnr — David can afford to pick and choose. However, he doesn't have a big career plan. 'I just hurtle from one thing to the next and try not to fall over,' he laughs.


MARY EVANS

Writhing to the occasion: David had his fair share of sex scenes in Casanova (left) and Blackpool

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2005-12-10). Who Done It. TV Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Who Done It." TV Times [add city] 2005-12-10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Who Done It." TV Times, edition, sec., 2005-12-10
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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who Done It | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who_Done_It | work=TV Times | pages= | date=2005-12-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 January 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who Done It | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who_Done_It | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 January 2021}}</ref>