Time Lord Victorious to 11th Doctor Who: Is Tennant Smart or Foolish?

**Updated – January 3, 2010 5:06 p.m. ET at end.**

“I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It’s difficult to step away from that. But at the same time, well, better to whilst I’m still loving it, better to leave them wanting more.”  – David Tennant (source)

The Doctor has left the TARDIS.

While, David Tennant’s definitive role as the Time Lord victorious on the BBC’s Doctor Who as the 10th regeneration was “impossibly fortunate,” is his departure from the show at the height of his (and its) popularity incredibly smart or worthy of getting him thrown out of the TARDIS forever?

Earlier in 2009, there was a gigantic buzz surrounding Tennant on whether he was or was not going to attend the world’s biggest Comic-Con in CA to announce, and possibly set to rest, some major rumors surrounding the longest-running Science Fiction television show in history.

According to Tennant, he took a gamble and decided to leave his successful stay on Doctor Who to take a shot at Hollywood in filming the pilot of a brand new television show called Rex is Not Your Lawyer about an oddball lawyer in Chicago who tells his clients how to defend themselves in court.

Is it worth it?

Only time will tell — but a few things are quite obvious when you look at Tennant’s career.

Tennant, together with Russell T. Davies, the show’s producer and chief writer, brought Doctor Who to a whole new level of popularity. From the magazines, to the documentary, to the fan girls (RE: the Utopia and alike “Whogasm”) and fan clubs — the franchise was thrust into a new level of stardom that has yet to peak. But we may or may not see that peak when Matt Smith becomes the 11th Doctor.

As the series, with Tennant at its helm, comes to an end, its ratings are still high, and even across the Atlantic, BBC America is doing very well with all of the holiday specials and other regular serial episodes of the show.

While no one will say Tennant is a terrible actor, because he is anything but that, it’s safe to say that he owes the state of his current career to the show.

It’s visibility granted him screen time with audiences he probably would have never had the opportunity to reach before, and on top of that, it’s visibility made him more recognizable and thus, able  to bag title acting roles in films and on television.

But has he made it? Has he made enough of a presence to step away from something after only four years in order to pursue a seemingly wobbly serial (Rex is Now Your Lawyer — seriously?) an ocean away?

Smart PR?

Tennant has stated that he didn’t want to get bored with Doctor Who, loathing to work and he wanted to leave the series while it was still fresh for him. Interestingly enough, Tennant is considered the “greatest Doctor of all.”  Which begs the question of the true motivation behind his choice to exit and whether or not that decision is wise, regardless.

I say that because the British press is a different beast to the American ones and one would think they would know if people were continuously praising them for months and years on end.

So as the saying goes, why would you cut your nose to spoil your face?

If you’re doing something you love (Tennant even said on the Graham Norton Show [week of November 9, 20009] on numerous occasions that not only was he a Doctor Who fanboy growing up, but he needs the 11th regeneration to be successful so he’ll continue to love it) — why would you stop? Especially, if the ‘passion’ is still there?

Some are calling Tennant’s exit from the show the “end of an era” sure to include many “tears before bedtime.”

In terms of public relations and branding, would I have suggested Tennant to move on so quickly?

Abso-freakin-lutely NOT.

I’ll tell you why — because I think of people like Jennifer Aniston who was huge when her television show Friends was on air. Then she faded into gossip columns (more than before) and literally became a joke. I think of people like Ron Howard who didn’t find success in front of the camera after his show Happy Days was over; he found it behind the camera.

I think of people like Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who are each widely popular British actors and actresses worldwide, but they kept what they had for themselves going before they decided to jump ship and go across the pond so to speak.

Which brings me full circle to Jack Davenport who played Steve on the original BBC version of Coupling. Davenport went from small screen British television (let’s be honest here, Coupling certainly was not Doctor Who by any comparison in terms of fan base and reach) to the big-screen in the United States holding roles in Pirates of the Caribbean (as Capt. Norrington) and the likes of The Wedding Date, opposite the (then) popular Debra Messings (of Will & Grace).

Jack Davenport seemingly knew what to do and how to do it to flop sides of the pond. The difference between him and Tennant is that Davenport aimed big.

On the same interview with Tennant from the Graham Norton Show (mentioned above), Tennant even said he had to audition for his role and go through typical casting calls for Rex is Not Your Lawyer. This was something he never had to do before. His other roles during his time on Doctor Who were far easier to get.

I hate to say it but I think David Tennant’s going down the Jennifer Aniston route.

Which is very sad, because I would certainly love to see the Time Lord victorious number 10 succeed.

From my POV, he should have stayed on for at least another season, perhaps two. During that time, Tennant should do what Simon Cowell did (and continues to do) for American Idol and his other projects — travel between nations and sets, maintaining the success of one (in the case of Simon, Pop Idol, Britain’s Got Talent etc.,) while, nurturing and building the other (American Idol.)

For Tennant, his “home base” would be Doctor Who and his ‘nurturing’ project would be a career in the United States.

Then again, I could be completely wrong: Matt Smith could blow the Time Lord victorious preceding him out of the water and Tennant could end up on 30 Rock or something and win an Emmy.

What do you think?

Is Tennant’s move from Doctor Who,

to a virgin show in the United States,

a smart, strategic decision,

or incredibly foolish?

The End of Time preview:-

Television Schedule:-

  • DOCTOR WHO: THE END OF TIME, PART ONE. 9 p.m. Dec. 26, 2009 on BBC America.
  • DOCTOR WHO: THE END OF TIME, PART TWO. 8 p.m., Jan. 2, 2010 on BBC America.

David Tennant on Graham Norton (about 30 mins):-
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

**All Images from DavidTennantFan.com**

UPDATE: January 03, 2010

Well, David, I didn’t want you to go either! grrr.

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the ‘Little Pink Book’ delivered to your Kindle.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. My opinion is biased because I have developed nerd love for Dr. Who (Whogasm) within a 24 hour time period. However, I would have advised the Tennant to leave. Here is why:

    Being an actor today is different from how it was 10-15 years ago. Back in the 80's and 90's, actors could be expected to play key roles in several movie franchises and act in individual films at the same time. A prime example is Sir Sean Connery. From 1983 to 1993 alone, he was: James Bond, a Highlander, a major character in the Untouchables, the captain in Red October, and King Richard in Robin Hood. While the personalities of many of these characters were similar, their motivations were at least different. One could argue that Connery was chronically typecast as the old wise alpha male or mentor.

    BUT he at least had the opportunity to work on high level projects

    Today, typecasting prevents actors from many franchises, especially TV shows, from branching out and finding good work. Think about all of the great shows that our generation has enjoyed: 24, Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 90210 (the old one), Alias, etc. Now, think of all of the actors who have broken out of the mold created by their shows. The first answer is usually Will Smith, but what about: Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Scott Bakula, and Kiefer Sutherland. They all can act, but they suffer from the typecast curse. Many people would call them Rachel, Sydney, Sam, and Jack if they saw them on the street. They end up playing the exact same character over and over again until their careers end.

    This is why many actors run away from franchises in general. They don't want to end up like the actors mentioned above or Tobey Maguire, Christian Bale, or Keanu Reeves. Fun fact: none of those three were the first choices for those roles.

    The truth is that Tennant doesn't want to be called Dr. Who for the rest of his life, lol. He knows that prevents people (including casting directors) from seeing him in new roles. The longer he stays as Dr. Who, the more people like me will identify him as that character. It will be Scott Bakula all over again. His next step would have been Star Trek, lol.

  2. Hey there,

    Thanks for your comment!

    Really? I still don't think he should have left. While, he's a great
    Shakespearean actor, like most of the other British actors that crossover to
    us across the Atlantic, he doesn't have their 'star' status.

    Jennifer Aniston is a terrible example. And I'll have to respectfully
    disagree with you there. Her 'worth' has far declined after the end of the
    show 'Friends.' She no Katherine Heigl, who can survive out of her 'type.'

    I totally understand what you are saying about typecasting thought, and that
    makes a lot of sense. Will Smith was one of the few who did succeed to break
    his mold, so to speak. But David Tennant isn't Will Smith.

    I think it's too soon for him to leave. He left a VERY good thing to take a
    chance; a chance on something that isn't even major. It's not like he's Jack
    Davenport and moving into “The Wedding Date” per se — “Rex is not your
    Lawyer” isn't starring Jerry O'Connell of all people. And let's swing it
    back a couple years ago — Jerry O'Connell is no Debra Messing.

    That's why I think it's foolish. From my POV, it's like Tennant was looking
    for a role in Hollywood and took the first thing that seemed rather
    interesting.

    The thing is, you're talking about typecasting, right? The personality of
    the character of 'Rex' in the show, seems very similar to the personality of
    the Doctor in Doctor Who: quirky, dark, oddball….sounds very familiar 🙂

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hey there,

    Thanks for your comment!

    Really? I still don't think he should have left. While, he's a great

    Shakespearean actor, like most of the other British actors that crossover to

    us across the Atlantic, he doesn't have their 'star' status.

    Jennifer Aniston is a terrible example. And I'll have to respectfully

    disagree with you there. Her 'worth' has far declined after the end of the

    show 'Friends.' She no Katherine Heigl, who can survive out of her 'type.'

    I totally understand what you are saying about typecasting thought, and that

    makes a lot of sense. Will Smith was one of the few who did succeed to break

    his mold, so to speak. But David Tennant isn't Will Smith.

    I think it's too soon for him to leave. He left a VERY good thing to take a

    chance; a chance on something that isn't even major. It's not like he's Jack

    Davenport and moving into “The Wedding Date” per se — “Rex is not your

    Lawyer” isn't starring Jerry O'Connell of all people. And let's swing it

    back a couple years ago — Jerry O'Connell is no Debra Messing.

    That's why I think it's foolish. From my POV, it's like Tennant was looking

    for a role in Hollywood and took the first thing that seemed rather

    interesting.

    The thing is, you're talking about typecasting, right? The personality of

    the character of 'Rex' in the show, seems very similar to the personality of

    the Doctor in Doctor Who: quirky, dark, oddball….sounds very familiar 🙂

    Thanks for your comment!

  4. I dont get it how actually the scene where Lord Victorious threatens the other planets and rory got killed.Is this some kind of a spoiler or something?Why dont they put the wole episode back on track?Why are there so many cuts on Doctor Who?

  5. Cheetah12 says:

    @Djexeez,this happened to most of us.They actually want you to pay for the whole track in order to see the whole episode with its whole sequences.This can only be seen on DVD or if you want to pay some cash to see it.The thing is they actually split the track from the within in 3 or 4 or maybe 5 sequences so that you wont see whats happening on the right spot

  6. Cheetah12 says:

    yea that happened to me too dude
    I dont get the fact why they did this I mean it sucks to see how the sequences are split and you dont see the plot of the movie just because the director wants to protects its rights and put the sequences only on DVDs or if you wanna pay for it.

  7. DanielKlerns says:

    Well it seems like it was his choice to delete the scene.His purpose was to make people buy his shit and then make them get rid off it.Hes an asshole,
    Ive seen the deleted scene when Victorious was threatening the Universe with his all fighters and how amy died and rory killed but jut because I paid for that shit and now I regret it hes an asshole