Is Tennant Leaving DOCTOR WHO?

tennantandtate.jpg

British comedienne Catherine Tate has sent Doctor Who fans into a tailspin by suggesting on Radio 2’s Jonathan Ross program that this might be David Tennant’s last year in the Doctor’s rubber-soled shoes. Tate, who first appeared in the 2006 Christmas special, “The Runaway Bride,” is returning as the Doctor’s companion for the upcoming forth season, and confirmed that the season would definitely be her last.

Regarding Tennant, her exact words were, reportedly, “I think it’s maybe David’s last series.” It’s hard to tell whether she’s merely speculating or actually in the know, but given the history of leaks when it comes to Doctor Who, we should perhaps start preparing ourselves to bid goodbye to our beloved Tenth Doctor. The BBC has refused to confirm or deny the news.

Perhaps even more upsetting, however, is the rumor that Tennant’s departure might accompany a change in the production team. Britain’s Daily Express has quoted a source as saying, “We believe that Russell T Davies, the executive producer, will be leaving after the next series with Phil Collinson, the producer, who is moving across to Coronation Street. I am sure David chose to leave, but it was probably because everything’s changing.”

Davies, Collinson and executive producer Julie Gardner are the masterminds primarily responsible for the success of the BBC’s current Doctor Who relaunch. (For an insightful look at just how important they are, read this lovely behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Christmas special.) It’s one thing to get used to a new Doctor (we’ve done that before), but I’m forced to wonder if the show would be worth watching at all without Davies & Co.

UPDATE:  Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, David Tennant publicly laughed off speculation that he’s leaving the show. “I started getting all these phone calls on Saturday lunchtime saying apparently you’re leaving Doctor Who,” he said. “Catherine Tate’s just announced it on Radio 2–thanks Catherine!”

Tennant confirmed he was doing four Doctor Who specials in 2009, but said that he’d made no decision about the next season in 2010. “I’m doing four more specials and beyond that no one’s asked me to make any decisions and I’m quite happy to be enigmatic for as long as possible,” he said.

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5 thoughts on “Is Tennant Leaving DOCTOR WHO?

  1. This is not toward, Liz Lemon.

    Speculation’s been running rampant on the showrunner trio for quite some time now, which makes me wonder if the news about Julie Gardner’s (much deserved) promotion is the death knell for their day-to-day involvement on the show. Do we know if Collinson would leave at the same time Davies would–in other words, is he the Schlamme to Davies’ Sorkin? Do we actually know Davies is leaving at all?

    As for Tennant, while I understand he probably shouldn’t stay in the role forever and might view the showrunner turnover as a desirable/appropriate opportunity to leave, is there really any pressing reason for him to make that decision now? Couldn’t he do a little Shakespeare and then see what he thinks? (Please?)

    EDITED to add: Apparently Tennant can do exactly that. Although that seems like good news, I’m less sure the suit is.

  2. Mikaela,

    I’m glad you edited with the BBC link… it appears that Tennant was stitched up by ‘comedienne’ Tate on this one. I feel like they recognize that he needs to be let out a lot to work on a variety of things, and his output beyond the show has been fairly staggering over the past couple years, especially when you think that most tv drama actors spend their hiatus actually hiatusing. Yeah, I just made that word up.

    I wonder if the line about Phil Collinson leaving to produce EastEnders is true… I don’t know a lot of British tv (though I think I know more than most North Americans) but that seems like a step down from primetime BBC 1.

    A clip I saw of Tennant talking at today’s press launch for Voyage of the Damned contained a bit where he said he hasn’t filmed any scenes with Billie Piper at all for her return and the story will explain why. It’s the Doctor-less episode of the year, and I have to say I’m pretty thrilled at his statement, cause it eases my fear about the character coming back so soon… I’m assuming Donna or Martha will run into a pre-2006 Rose. Maybe?

  3. I thought Piper was coming back for three episodes. Surely they won’t be able to contrive to keep the Doctor away from her for all three?

    And that suit is definitely bad news. *shudder*

  4. Obviously you can never trust what they say 100%, cause how many times did I hear Russell T. Davies say “Oh, of course Billie hasn’t quit.” during series 2.

    All I know is that they’ve officially said that they haven’t said how long and in what capacity she will be returning. The pictures that were leaking were of the ‘Doctor-less’ episode though.

    The plaid suit? Totally terrible. He can’t be left on his own to make fancy dress choices. He should stick with casual, where he is at his finest.

  5. I really, really need the Piper return to make sense (so as not to make the end of Season 2 completely meaningless), and some kind of “I exist here because the Doctor doesn’t” storyline would do the trick. I suppose the first ep could be the Doctor-lite one, with the other two eps (if they exist) having elsewhere!Doctor fighting the good fight wherever he is and the Donna/Rose duo doing the same wherever they are…

    Alana, I’m with you on the Collinson-to-soap rumor feeling odd, although I suppose one could make the argument that producing the most successful scripted shows on British TV wouldn’t be a step down (this is a component of British TV I don’t fully understand). On the other hand, aren’t both Coronation Street and EastEnders a five-day-a-week proposition? *That* seems like more of a step down compared to Who’s production values, etc.

    As to Tennant staying or going, obviously his choice isn’t going to sink a 40-year-old property, but it seems like a scenario with pretty cataclysmic turnover in the production team would be a good time to have some stability, and keeping the same Doctor for a year or two would go a long way toward that. I’d think it would be worth their while to ensure for that year or two that Tennant has the flexibility to do other things, allowing him to maintain his interest in the show while they transition to a new behind-the-scenes team. When does the HBO thing with Serkis come out?

    On the unfortunate suit: I read a comment somewhere yesterday claiming that he’s caused his own sartorial hell by choosing for the Doctor a silhouette he favors for himself: therefore, he has to go out of his way in real-life clothing to not look like he’s working. I laughed for five minutes.

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