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Time to Go!

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Friend and foe: Wilf is the Doctor's assistant while the Master is back as his enemy



In his first incarnation, the Doctor (William Hartnell) fleeing the Daleks - broke the fourth wall to wish viewers 'a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!' The Tardis wouldn't materialise on the 25th again for 40 years.


As David Tennant prepares for his final Doctor Who story with this festive two-parter, we try to persuade him to spill the beans about his dramatic exit...

Here at Total TVguide we are on quite familiar terms with David Tennant. We've met several times over the years but, lovely and effusive as he is, getting information out of him is like pulling teeth. Not surprisingly, this occasion was no exception.

Rumours are rife surrounding this new story, The End Of Time. What is Rose's role? Are the Time Lords back? And Sarah Jane? Is Timothy Dalton in it? Is Donna getting married? And what the hell is the Infinity Gate?

'Ooh, what can I tell you?' says the 38-year-old, keeping us in suspense with a rather too-long pregnant pause. 'John Simm is back as the Master. June Whitfield's in it, and Claire Bloom, but the most significant character is Wilf [played by Bernard Cribbins]. He's the Doctor's assistant for this story. 'And that's wonderful because you get some really touching scenes between these two old men looking back on life. Wilf is 80, as is Bernard, and the Doctor's 906, but you know that both realise their lives will soon be over.'

Those who saw the last episode, The Waters Of Mars, witnessed an unpleasant side to the Doctor: a certain hubris as he bragged about his powers as the last of the Time Lords. But David believes the audience will soon be back on his side.

'Something is broken inside him and the end of time is drawing near. You see the Doctor trying to play the chirpy chappie but everything conspires against him.

'And the Master is fighting for his life as well. He's like a kind of feral creature, even more insane than before, and John Simm is just chewing the screen up, which is glorious.'

So it's the end for David as the 10th Doctor - certainly the show's best lead since Tom Baker, and possibly the best ever. And that's quite an achievement for a superfan, who once had a subscription to Doctor Who Magazine.

'I did subscribe, but now I get it free, and I hope that continues. Billie [Piper, who plays Rose] still gets hers. Mind you, it will be weird not being on the cover any more... Seriously, though, I'm hoping I can just enjoy the show. I might be a bit proprietorial to begin with, but I'm glad we've handed it over.' It feels as though David is saying this through clenched teeth, and when we suggest that to him, he looks thoughtful.

'Do you know, I just feel really proud. I haven't messed up, I've got out the other side and the show is still going strong. That's a brilliant feeling.'

Also see Doctor Who Confidential on BBC3 & BBC HD on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.


His successor Matt Smith

He seems to be lovely, and people I know speak very highly of him. Billie Piper's a big fan. Also, I think he'll be good for the role because he has an unusual look. He could be either 18 or 40. I hope that doesn't offend him!

His costumes

I have one version of each of my suits kept at a secret location. I've found somewhere to lock them up because I'm paranoid I'll get burgled if I keep them in my wardrobe at home.

That much talked-about Hollywood career

Well, it's early days. Getting a work permit is not easy. Still, there's much more of an acceptance of Brits in Hollywood now, so I'm happy to jump on that bandwagon for a bit. But I've never had a game plan for my career, and I'm not about to get one now.

His send-off

It was lovely - very emotional. And, just for the record, I was presented with a sonic screwdriver. I didn't steal it, and if I had, I'd have had to pretend I hadn't. You know how the BBC is these days...

The proposed new Doctor Who film

There's really nothing to tell. There's no film, unless of course you include what's on this Christmas. I know Russell T Davies has denied it, and he always denies everything, but on this occasion he's right.

A Great Dane

This Christmas, viewers will get the chance to see a specially filmed performance of the RSC's sell-out version of Hamlet, with Tennant in the title role, on BBC2 on Boxing Day and BBC HD on Sun 27 Dec. 'We filmed it in an old Jesuit training college in Mill Hill, north London, with no running water or electricity so we had to bring everything in,' says David. 'I was quite nervous about it because we filmed it so quickly, but the result is beautiful.

I think Hamlet works well on TV because you're in front of the camera whispering in the viewer's ear. Also, the 4.00 theatre is not cheap, so to have it on TV for free is great!'

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