David Tennant turns 46 today. To mark the occasion, we’re celebrating some of the Scottish actor’s most noteworthy roles. From his stint as the Tenth Doctor in long-running British science-fantasy series Doctor Who to his recent run in detective drama Broadchurch, here are our Top 5 Tennant turns. Happy birthday, David.
1. The Tenth Doctor – ‘Doctor Who’
As the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant brought his own particular brand of zaniness to the iconic role. He took most things in his stride, using humour as a coping mechanism, but never underestimated his enemies and maintained his integrity.
Loyal and loving underneath the independent veneer, it became obvious following Christopher Eccleston’s one-series turn as the Ninth Doctor during the inaugural series of the rebooted run under Russell T. Davies’ reign that Tennant’s was a Doctor afraid to become attached. He had a fear of losing the people he cared about, but became attached nevertheless.
He was also a Doctor many fell in love with – companions, especially. Rose and Martha both fell for him hard, but so did Donna Noble even though she would deny it. During Tennant’s tenure, we also discovered – and met – his daughter, Jenny, played by Georgia Moffett, the real-life daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison.
Notably, the Tenth Doctor’s right hand was severed by the Sycorax leader shortly after his regeneration, but he was able to regrow it. Captain Jack would later find the severed hand, keeping it in a jar. Tennant’s Doctor also was fond of saying “Allons-y” and was extremely hyped to meet someone called Alonso, allowing him to say “Allons-y, Alonso” for the first time ever.
2. Alec Hardy – ‘Broadchurch’
As D.I. Alec Hardy, Tennant does a grand job of portraying a character with his own set of problems. Hardy’s background is part of the show’s mystery, revealed as events unravel. Like so many good TV detectives, Hardy is a tortured soul, haunted by a previous case which collapsed in court. He also has a heart condition.
Hardy is a moral man, too, and is at pains to point out to his colleague Miller that not all men are like the men in the cases they investigate. One of the series’ strengths, in fact, is the way in which it tackles common misconceptions and stereotypes.
The series revolves around the people of a fictional Dorset town called Broadchurch with the premise reliant on the notion that there are dark secrets hidden within sleepy towns. The first series concerns the death of an 11-year-old boy and focuses on the police investigation as Hardy, who has only recently pitched up in the town, works together with his new colleague DS Ellie Miller (played by the incredible Olivia Colman) to piece together the events leading up to the killing and find the person responsible. The finger of suspicion points at practically everyone.
Series 2, meanwhile, centres on the subsequent trial and looks to address some of the questions raised from the first series. The third and reportedly final series spends its time investigating a rape case alongside developing the characters and their respective stories from the previous two series.
3. Kilgrave – Jessica Jones
As adept at portraying heroes as he is antiheroes and out-and-out villains, David Tennant is nothing if not versatile. In Jessica Jones, he’s a gruff and sometimes growly English-accented bad guy, ditching his native Scottish tones. But don’t worry, that high-pitched thing he does is still there from time to time.
As Kilgrave, Tennant is charismatic but also evil and chilling. His character is a man spurned. Able to control people’s minds as a result of childhood experiments at the hands of his parents who were attempting to cure the neurodegenerative disease he suffered from, he pursues Jones and uses his powers on her. Obsessed but ultimately rebuffed, the twisted psychopath vows to kill her – but should he be the one that’s worried? If you’ve seen Jessica Jones, you’ll know how it pans out but for those that haven’t, we won’t spoil it here!
4. Barty Crouch Jr. – ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’
Another villain, Tennant takes on the role of Barty Crouch Jr. in the fourth film in the Harry Potter film series. Barty Jr. is a Death Eater who at first appears to Harry in a dream, plotting with Lord Voldemort.
As the film progresses, Harry learns that Barty Jr. was imprisoned in Azkaban by his own father, Barty Crouch Sr., but has escaped and is helping Voldemort in his efforts to come back to power. Disguising himself as Mad-Eye Moody throughout most of the film, Barty Crouch Jr.’s true identity is revealed when he confronts Harry and is forced to drink Veritaserum. This undoes the effects of the Polyjuice Potion he took to disguise himself, turning him back into the form of Barty Jr. and encouraging him to spill his guts.
As Barty Crouch Jr., Tennant adopts an effectively repellent snake-like tongue flick and facial gurning worthy of a true movie villain.
5. Huyang – ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’
As if to prove his diversity, Tennant voiced the role of Huyang in The Clone Wars. Huyang is a well-spoken droid – Tennant once again adopts an English accent – whose role is to teach Jedi younglings how to build a lightsaber. An ancient architect droid, he has been stationed aboard the Crucible, a Jedi Order ship, for many years instructing Padawans.
Kicking off a string of voice roles in animated series, Tennant went on to voice characters in Tree Fu Tom, Fish Hooks, Dragons: Riders of Berk, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This year, Tennant also voices Scrooge McDuck in the DuckTales reboot as well as supplying voices in animated comic-book adaptation Chew – about a detective who gets psychic clues from the things he eats – and family animation Ferdinand, which is about a bull. He’s also due to appear in Bad Samaritan, a home invasion drama from Geostorm director Dean Devlin. Tennant looks to carry on proving he’s got plenty in his acting arsenal.