David Tennant Says ‘There’s a Bit of the Doctor’ in His ‘Good Omens’ Character
A sellout crowd filled The Paley Center in New York City on Tuesday, October 9, to hear from David Tennant.
The Scottish actor, known for a number of movie and TV roles, from Harry Potter to Broadchurch, kicked off the conversation with his first big hit as the titular character on the 2004-2011 run of Doctor Who.
“I was so captured by Doctor Who when I was 3 or 4 that I told my parents that I wanted to be an actor,” he admitted in the PaleyFest 2018 discussion. “Years later, I kept campaigning for a part. I told Russell Davies that I’d loved the show all my life and I’d be in a Dalek; I just wanted to say I was in it. Anything — I could be in the Tardis, I could just be on set when the Tardis was there.”
The BBC series premiered last week with its new thirteenth doctor, played for the first time by a woman and Tennant’s former Broadchurch co-star, Jodie Whittaker. Tennant said he couldn’t be happier to see the gender of the iconic character switched.
“I’m thrilled as a fan of Doctor Who, I’m thrilled as an ex-Doctor, I’m thrilled as a friend and a fan of Jodie and of Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner, and for a new generation of children who have a new Doctor to fall in love with.”
The actor confessed he knew of Whittaker’s casting because Chibnall said the new Doctor would like to speak to him and could call his cell phone. The next number that popped up was his friend’s.
“If there were any pearls of wisdom to pass on, it was about the kind of the phenomenon of it and what it does to your life, it attracts a sort of attention, scrutiny — and love — that I think is unlike anything else,” Tennant said. “It is rare to find anyone who dislikes it or is angry with it.”
On the red carper before the event, Tennant spoke with TV Insider about his upcoming Amazon series, Good Omens and how it compares to Doctor Who. Read on below.
Your character Crowley’s costumes, hair, and accessories are outrageous in Good Omens. Did you have fun with them?
David Tennant: Well, when my hair was long, it was a wig. When it was short, it was my own hair. The looks are quite important. Because the books were written 30 years ago and my character is described in a very particular Savile Row straight-suited kind of way, we felt like we needed to find the modern version of that. Because that might look too old school, maybe too conservative for Crowley. He’s a bit more rock-n-roll than the [book] look.
And your costumes have to contrast with Michael Sheen’s. [Editor Note: He plays the angel Aziraphale.]
Exactly… [Aziraphale]’s not changed his clothes in 400 years, that’s the idea. Where Crowley is a little bit more of the zeitgeist, he’s enjoying what he can find around him in any given eon.
Your chemistry on-screen is amazing. What were you two like off screen?
Really fun. We’ve known each other for years and never had been in a scene together. It was great to finally get to do that. I knew it was going to be fine but you’re always a little nervous about [acting together] because you need to find a rhythm.
What would a Doctor Who/Good Omens crossover look like?
I have no idea. It would be bonkers but they’re both shows that embrace the bonkers, so there would probably be some area where [the shows] would meet beautifully. [Co-author of Good Omens] Neil Gaiman would have to write it. There’s lots of scope there. There’s a bit of the Doctor in Crowley and Aziraphale, to be honest.
Did you take some characteristics from the Doctor and put them into Crowley?
Not consciously but I’m sure there are sparks of it there.
With reporting by Jessica Napoli
Camping, Series Premiere, Sunday, Oct. 14, HBO
Good Omens, 2019, Amazon Prime Video
Doctor Who, Sundays, 8/7c, BBC America