Happy birthday David Tennant!
Today, one of our favourite, nerdy-icons from the British Isles turns forty five!
David Tennant (born David McDonald), is known for the kindness that he bestows upon fans at conventions, and for the enthusiasm that he brings to his critically acclaimed roles.
A veteran of theater, he has wowed us on the small screen and in his vocal work on such shows as Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2012) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2015). Plus, when he occasionally sidles into cinema, he isn’t too shabby at that either.
To celebrate such a noteworthy talent, I’ve accumulated the best of his works together to mark the occasion.
Did your favorites make the list? Travel downwards to find out!
5. Barty Crouch Jr. – 'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire' (2005)
It’s a small role, really, in such a major movie, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that his character is integral to the story of Harry Potter — after all, if Crouch hadn’t succeeded in his task, who knows how the story would have panned out?
As the son of Barty Crouch Sr. (Roger Lloyd-Pack) and devoted follower of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) he strives to perform a great service to the Dark Lord, which will restore his master to his body so that he can rule the wizarding world. Here, Tennant’s twitchy and malevolent performance ensures that his limited part is memorably unsettling.
4. Alan Hamilton – 'Recovery' (2007)
It isn’t all magic, spaceships and superheroes for David Tennant. Indeed, he’s sunk his teeth into meaty, dramatic roles in British television — particularly in the series Secret Smile (2005), Single Father (2010) and The Escape Artist (2013), but his acting in Recovery is definitely worthy of mention.
Indeed, his strong performance as Alan, a man who suffers amnesia and a personality change after a serious accident, anchors the show through his nuanced touches of emotional realism.
It’s certainly affecting viewing, especially in his interactions with his wife, Tricia, played by Sarah Parish (who coincidentally, had co-starred with him in Blackpool (2004) and Doctor Who, in previous years).
3. DI Alec Hardy – 'Broadchurch' (2013 – Present)
If you haven’t already watched Broadchurch, I would definitely recommend that you do so. Certainly, it’s one of the most effective British police procedurals in recent years; it’s well made, brilliantly acted and features one of the most effective detective “dynamic duos” of recent years, with David Tennant as Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman as his work partner, Ellie Miller.
The only reason that it isn’t higher on this list is because, ultimately, his other roles demonstrate Tennant’s talents more overtly, though that isn’t to say he is slacking here. He imbues Hardy, a troubled detective with a disgruntlement and world weariness that is refreshing to see from him.
As they attempt to catch the culprit of a shocking murder of a child in a sleepy coastal town, Tennant’s irascibility and pained allusions to his character's past give Hardy a depth that ensures that he remains mysterious throughout the program. He really owns the part.
Indeed, so successful was the show that an American remake, Gracepoint (2014), was attempted the following year, and featured Tennant partnered with Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad (2008-2013), though it failed to gain the same traction as its original iteration.
2. Kilgrave – Marvel's 'Jessica Jones' (2015)
The most recent of his fan-pleasing roles, it may have noticeably similar elements to his other work, but his time on Jessica Jones is spectacular nonetheless. The villain to Krysten Ritter’s titular hero, Tennant’s Kilgrave has the ability to control people’s minds, and uses this power to devastating ends.
What works so well here is that, no matter how despicably evil Kilgrave’s actions are, we can’t help but remain interested in him because of his undeniable charisma. Tennant clearly is having a ball here, reveling in the dramatic opportunities that being a supervillain can afford an actor.
It’s such a shame that, so far, there is very little crossover of the Marvel/Netflix characters back into the movie universe since, alongside Vincent D'Onofrio’s Kingpin in Marvel’s Daredevil (2015 – present), Tennant’s Kilgrave is not only one of the best villains of the extended Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one of the best TV villains of the last 10 years.
1. The Tenth Doctor – 'Doctor Who' (2005-2009)
It would have to be, wouldn’t it?
Yes, it’s a bit predictable to place Tennant’s Doctor in the top spot, but in many ways it would be an injustice if I hadn't.
To those less informed, the show Doctor Who is an iconic British program that charts the time-traveling, idiosyncratic adventures of an (effectively) immortal alien who renews his body and his personality every time he is close to death. The show was revived back in 2005 after a long hiatus, and fans were unsure how to react to Tennant after Christopher Eccleston’s previous stellar outing. However, Tennant soon put those worries to rest.
Indeed, when he left the show in 2009, the outpouring of grief was momentous, and when he returned to the show in 2013 for its 50th anniversary, his reappearance was part of the great overall anticipation for the event.
Spurring the show on to greater, crowd pleasing heights, his version of the Doctor is a wildly happy eccentric, though this veneer belies a core of powerful emotion and vengefulness, which grew as his tenure proceeded — and had his alien enemies, and the audience, cowering if he was provoked.
Certainly, Tennant’s Doctor deserves this top spot; it’s an exuberant, award-winning performance that still ranks as one of the world’s favorite versions of the titular Time Lord.