Catherine Tate, David Tennant and David Tennant's weave at BFI screening
The British Film Institute continued their monthly series of Doctor Who At 50 screenings yesterday as the season reached the era of the Tenth Doctor as played by David Tennant. The screening, held at BFI Southbank, was of the fourth series double episode The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End and was followed by a panel consisting of David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Graeme Harper and Phil Collinson. Casting director Andy Pryor was also present to lend his comments.
- The weave: David arrived on stage sporting, to everyone’s total surprise, a long ponytail, which he first tried to claim that he had grown in a day. “I’m playing the part of Limahl in a Kajagoogoo biopic,” he quipped. The hair is, of course, for his stage role as Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and will presumably undergo further styling before the play opens in Stratford-upon-Avon next week.
- Tennant's casting: David pointed out that he had been a relative unknown when cast, although he had been working with Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner on Casanova at the time. He recounted again the story of his casting, how he had been invited to watch Rose and a rough cut of Dalek at Russell’s house and had been conscious that Russell and Julie were scrutinising him as he watched to gauge his reaction. He found it unbelievable to be offered the role, especially as the show had not yet aired so there was no way of knowing if it would be a success or not. He could have been the Doctor who appeared for 35 seconds in the final ever episode. “But I would probably have got my own Big Finish series out of it” he added.
- Tate's casting: Catherine said that although only contracted for a single series she would have quite happily stayed if David had also stayed. She was offered the role in the Christmas special by phone, but for the return in series 4, Julie Gardner had taken her out to lunch to talk to her. The showrunners had been convinced that she would say no. Phil Collinson explained that there was another companion in the pipeline, and David added that there was also another actor in mind, who was never aware that she was being considered and who would never be named.
- Favorite episodes: The panel ran through their favourite episodes. Catherine’s was The Runaway Bride, her first appearance. Graeme Harper chose Blink and Phil went back to classic Who with The Caves Of Androzani David concurred, “I think my father-in-law did well there”, but selected The Deadly Assassin because of the scene where a clowns face appears below the sand.
- Peter Capaldi's casting: David, who was asked by Russell T. Davies to use an estuary English accent for his Doctor, was asked what he thought about rumours that Peter Capaldi may be allowed to keep his Scots accent for the Twelfth Doctor. “I think it’s just lazy” he deadpanned. Catherine added that she had been in America when the announcement was made and was caught up in a security alert which she assumed was the angry fan reaction to Capaldi’s casting.