David Tennant: best actor or best actor?
February 14, 2017 10:46 PM   Subscribe

I wish to watch David Tennant.

I just saw this from a couple years ago and was reminded how behind I am way behind on media in general, but mostly have no real clue who David Tennant is because he got popular after I started to forget to watch TV and movies. Not just the clips of his acting, and the things people said about him, but also his reaction to it all, just really endeared me to him as a person and not just another good actor.

I may have seen him in a couple episodes of Dr. Who (one about the last human skin lady? the mummy thing? not blinking? I think that's it) but otherwise have no real clue what he's been in. Clearly he's widely accomplished, and I can't think of anything I wouldn't want to see. I would probably prefer TV format for watching length, and quantity of material, but movies are fine too. I do not know Dr. Who and am not looking for a binge, but would be more interested in episodes that focus on him and his assistant (I have heard things, I'm on Livejournal) and the logevity/tragicness of the doctor people if those episodes would be accessible to a newbie. Other than that, probably anything else is fine. Comedy, historical drama, whatever else is in there.

Hit me!
posted by Evilspork to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
He was the titular character in the TV mini series Casanova. I believe he was also in the TV show Blackpool, but in a supporting role.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 11:05 PM on February 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

He played the actor in the Actor episode of People Like Us (mockumentary series about different jobs).

It's on youtube in four parts. Can you google it? I'm a bit under the weather and life is just too hard.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:29 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

He was the lead detective in the small-town murder drama Broadchurch, 2 seasons with the third one starting later this month.

He also played the same character in the American remake, "Gracepoint."

He plays Kilgrave in the Netflix/Marvel drama Jessica Jones. I haven't seen it, but they say it's good.

And maybe my favorite non-Who role was the 4-part miniseries "Spies of Warsaw," based the novel of the same name as well as another called "The Polish Officer," by Alan Furst, two of his WWII-era spy novels known as the Night Soldiers series.

And he's pretty great in this 6:10 comedy sketch made for Comic Relief, casting him in a sketch with Catherine Tate on her sketchcom show where she plays one of her regular characters, an insufferable high-school-aged student, and he the substitute teacher.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:31 PM on February 14, 2017 [9 favorites]

He did a good Hamlet a few years ago.
posted by terretu at 12:01 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

He plays a villain in Jessica Jones (Netflix) and he's fantastic-- many consider him to be one of the best on-screen Marvel villains yet. BUT... I'd maybe save that until you watch some of the roles where he's played a good person (e.g. Doctor Who or Broadchurch) because it'll make the heel turn more delightful.
posted by acidic at 12:14 AM on February 15, 2017 [10 favorites]

His role in Blackpool was pretty big - and it's well worth watching.
posted by kitten magic at 12:43 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

He and Catherine Tate (who played Donna Noble, one of his companions when he was the Doctor) did Much Ado About Nothing together, and I thought it was pretty delightful. A (paid) download is available through Digital Theatre--their website seems to be having some trouble right now, but I'd give this link a go tomorrow, if you're interested.
posted by mishafletch at 1:15 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's an audition he did, aged 22.
posted by embrangled at 1:27 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

He's one of the main characters in What We Did on our Holiday, which is a good fun comedy drama
posted by crocomancer at 1:35 AM on February 15, 2017

If you've arrived at the point in life where you've forgotten to watch TV and movies, then I feel a spiritual kinship with you, and I'm not sure if a dip into the longevity/tragedy of the doctor people will generate resonance. I'm fan enough to have seen almost all episodes of Doctor Who that still exist, but my heartstrings have proven resilient vs. that business. It's possible I am an empty husk, but I think you have to be really deeply invested for those feels to work on you.

That said, if you want to watch some good 10th doctoring, the Hugo-nominated two-parter "Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead" (ep. 409/410) was a good 'un, and introduces the River Song character who will go on to do the longevity/tragedy thing with the Doctor over the course of many seasons.

I also enjoyed his Casanova.
posted by mumkin at 1:38 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't believe I forgot to mention Jessica Jones.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:45 AM on February 15, 2017

The Hamlet mentioned above was great, but his Richard II is amaaazing.

There was a link to the whole thing on the BBC website (in the Shakespeare's birthday post from last year), but it's no longer available to watch there. It can be purchased, however, on spinning discs (or perhaps is available by other means).
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:02 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

For Who episodes, I would suggest that "Midnight" is a pretty good pick. Doesn't require any particular Who knowledge, has a fantastic cast in a bottle episode scenario.

His episode of Who do you think you are (a show about his family tree) features him being typically endearing, as well.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:31 AM on February 15, 2017

He was in a BBC Scotland drama called Takin' Over The Asylum back in the early 90s which is worth a watch though I don't know how easy it is to get hold of.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 4:52 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm going to recommend you a TERRIBLE romcom called The Decoy Bride. It is formulaic, the plot makes no sense, and all the characters are woefully underwrittern. HOWEVER, David Tennant completely elevates the material, he has undeniable chemistry with the leading lady, there is a long-running joke about cow sheds, and the film really is a love letter to tiny Scottish islands. The Decoy Bride will not be remembered in 50 years' time nor feature in Tennant's career highlight reel, but it is such an enjoyable, gentle film made so much better by Tennant.
posted by kariebookish at 5:26 AM on February 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

he was a great evil charming b'tard in Secret Smile, a UK mini-series. Worth looking out for.
posted by almostwitty at 5:37 AM on February 15, 2017

I'll go ahead and toss the Doctor Who ep "The Girl in the Fireplace" in here, mostly because it's my favorite Tennant thing ever, but also because it shows a capsule version of how the Doctor connects with his (potential) Companions. It's sweet, and it's bittersweet, and Tennant brings such a playful warmth to the character and the storyline. It was among the first Who eps I saw, back before I was a fan of DW or Tennant, and he charmed me so deeply that I now have a Tenth Doctor-inspired tattoo.
posted by QuickedWeen at 6:05 AM on February 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

Also, in case you're interested, David Tennant sees a tribute video and realises it's for him...
posted by almostwitty at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Jessica Jones, he's excellent in it. He's evil, not cartoony evil, and he really sells why Jessica fears him so much.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:17 AM on February 15, 2017

His shtick is his puppy-dog charisma. You really have to watch Casanova first. Then when he plays against type (Jessica Jones) you know what the type is.
posted by Leon at 8:03 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I mainly know his darker stuff: Broadchurch is amazing and The Politician's Husband is another great turn. I also watched The Decoy Bride because he was in it and it was sweet.
posted by victoriab at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2017

I've been a fan of Tennant ever since I first saw him in Doctor Who. One of his best roles, IMO, was the 2007 movie Recovery where he plays a man recovering from mental trauma after a car accident leaves him in a coma.
posted by Roger Pittman at 8:31 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I came in to say what kariebookish said. The material is schlock, but it ends up being endearing because of David Tennant and Kelly Macdonald's performances. (Kelly Macdonald is probably best known in the U.S. for Boardwalk Empire)
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2017

Also, as Mr Bookish reminded me, David Tennant is the single best thing about the 2011 Fright Night remake. Bonus eyeliner, if that is your thing.
posted by kariebookish at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

Because you've gotten a full response already, I can note with some amusement that all three examples you gave from Doctor Who are ones that don't have him in it. Last Human Skin Lady and "are you my mummy?" were the prior guy, and not-blinking is an episode that features him only for a few minutes. They try to do "Doctor-lite" episodes once a season for budget reasons.

(You weren't looking for Christopher Eccleston recs, were you? He was the prior Doctor.)

He was also Barty Crouch Jr. in the fourth Harry Potter film.

A few fave episodes of mine, and why:

School Reunion -- stars Giles from "Buffy" as the villain, and it features such tenderness on his part towards one of his old Companions

Girl in the Fireplace -- this is when people got to see him really exercise his acting chops for the first time. It was just an amazing performance.

Human Nature/Family of Blood -- the Doctor gets "amnesia" in the 1900s, so you get to essentially see him play a different character

Partners in Crime -- a broadly comic episode, it shows his comedy chops to their full extent
posted by WCityMike at 2:13 PM on February 15, 2017

CW for some extremely transphobic attitudes (it was the early 90s...) but one of DT's first TV appearances was as barmaid Davina in an episode of Scottish sitcom Rab C Nesbitt.
posted by cardinalandcrow at 4:56 PM on February 15, 2017

"Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead" (ep. 409/410)

Can't recommend this highly enough. It transcends Doctor Who into just brilliant sci-fi, and Tennant anchors it.

Also seconding Broadchurch -- but only the BBC version.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:42 AM on February 16, 2017

posted by WCityMike at 11:35 AM on February 16, 2017

« Older Should I do anything about potentially creepy...   |   Realistically, I probably shouldn't do this Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.