It’s Really Real This Time: David Tennant Leaving WHO

It’s official. Our worst Doctor Who fears have been realized. David Tennant is vacating the TARDIS after filming four more specials, to air in 2009 and early 2010. That’s right, we’ve got this year’s Christmas special (airing in the U.K. on Dec. 25), followed by four more specials and then that’s it. Five measly hours before we have to say goodbye to our favorite Doctor.

And just so there would be no denying the cold, hard truth, Tennant made the announcement himself, during his acceptance speech at Britain’s National Television Awards.

“I love this part,” Tennant said, speaking via satellite from the stage door of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Courtyard Theatre, where he was literally in the middle of a performance of Hamlet (well, in the middle of intermission). “And I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the TARDIS in my bath chair.”

Tennant has cunningly timed his departure to coincide with the end of executive producer Russell T Davies’ tenure at the helm of Who. In a BBC statement he says that he “always thought the time to leave would be in conjunction with Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner who have been such a huge part of it all for me. Steven Moffat is the most brilliant and exciting writer, the only possible successor to Russell and it was sorely tempting to be part of his amazing new plans for the show. I will be there, glued to my TV when his stories begin in 2010.”

I suppose congratulations are in order for, you know, winning the NTA awards and all, but it’s hard to get excited about much of anything now that our Doctor Who hearts have been broken.

If anyone needs us, we’ll be curled up in the corner watching “Journey’s End” on a continuous loop and weeping uncontrollably.

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11 thoughts on “It’s Really Real This Time: David Tennant Leaving WHO

  1. I’m a little unclear: is the first stage of grief throwing a tantrum, or curling into the fetal position and wailing? Because I’m vacillating between the two.

    Bleargh. I think I’d gotten too attached to the idea that he’d be the hinge to Season 5. And that’s even with reading lots of suspicious stuff in Russell T Davies’ book this week about how they all planned the gap year together. And given that the gap year involved Davies, Gardner, and Collinson leaving…wait, is that first stage denial?

    I freely acknowledge that all of the following is fundamentally selfish. Nonetheless, I’m experiencing double-pronged anxiety. In terms of the show…I’ve really, really liked Steven Moffat’s Who episodes, and I’m sure he, the new (as-yet-unidentified?) producer, and new exec producer Piers Wenger are all lovely people, but they’re not my Triumverate of Gigglers. While I was nervous about all the changes, I figured the show could ride Tennant through all the upheaval (maybe that’s reason enough to leave? Who needs that?). I need some reassurance from Moffat about where things are going.

    As for what will become of Tennant–with our luck, he’ll go do Chekhov in Brighton. That’s great for people in Brighton–and, yes, exaggeration is the third stage of grief–but a lot of the audience gets cut off that way. Where’s Bradley Whitford? Richard Schiff? Oh, look, there’s Allison Janney–on a stage nowhere near most of us. At least Gillian Anderson manages to show up in something once a year or so. If we’re lucky. Whither the Hobbits? And so on. I certainly don’t begrudge these actors their love of stage work or new exciting projects, but it does make me despair a little when they disappear. I’d probably feel better if Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell were announced as going into production just after the five specials were completed.

  2. I’m at the “the next effing doctor better be good!” stage in the grieving process. It was pretty much the instantaneous first reaction.

  3. Once the Tenth Doctor leaves, Doctor Who is dead and gone. The only reason to watch the show was David Tennant, and with him leaving, it’s just flogging a very, very dead horse. He’s irreplacable, and whoever they get to take over from him is going to completely suck compared to him.

    The saddest thing about all this is that David is screwing over his American fans. He’ll more than likely only do stage work in the UK, and most of us can’t afford to just take a trip over to another country, pay for exorbitantly overpriced theater tickets, and have bad seats where we won’t even be able to see him very well. We’re all getting seriously reamed by this, and I, for one, am devastated.

  4. > most of us can’t afford to just take a trip over to another country, pay for exorbitantly overpriced theater tickets

    Hey, Mikaela and Susannah just did that πŸ™‚

    Our seats were fabulous, though.

  5. “…and that, kids, is the story of how Dave got us tarred and feathered.” πŸ™‚

    It’s true that we did just pop over an ocean and, while there, saw Hamlet (it’s also true that our seats were indeed fabulous). I’ll even argue that the tickets weren’t overpriced, although that might not be the case in the West End theater district. But it’s true that the flights weren’t cheap and getting there took months of planning and coordinating. It was worth every penny and every moment of nervousness, but it wasn’t easily accessible (nowhere near as easily accessible as our TVs) and wouldn’t be accessible at all to a large chunk of folks (we were lucky on several counts). So it’s a little worrisome, even as I’m planning to do it again if something good comes up (Totally. Worth. It.)

    I was thinking it was the TV issue–we’ve been used to getting things easily and regularly, and now we might never get them again at all, or could only get them at a very high cost. In this scenario, someone is a drug dealer. πŸ™‚ As an example, even though he started out in TV I don’t think of George Clooney’s TV work much when I think of him (I left ER looooong before he did). So while I like him a lot and see pretty much everything he does, I don’t worry that he’s just going to disappear–he’s off making movies, and there will probably be one a year to see. I became very fond of, say, Bradley Whitford through TV, though, and what happens when his show goes off the air? We got Studio 60 for a while, which was helpful–no withdrawls. But when that went poof, what was left? A tiny part in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And, yes, I suffered through that movie exclusively because Brad Whitford was in it. There was a tiny part in Little Manhattan. There was a tiny part in An American Crime. And…there was a well-received Broadway run that I didn’t even think about trying to get to. I should have thought of going–but I didn’t. Live theater is just a lot less accessible for most people. That doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful, and it doesn’t mean actors should avoid it, and it doesn’t mean actors are beholden to stay in shows forever, but it does help explain why viewers get antsy.

    But then I wondered if the UK thing complicates matters. Not just in terms of getting to see live theater–it would be cheaper and easier for people from the US to see theater on Broadway rather than in England–but even in terms of television. I’d expect Tennant, like all the other BBC Orphans, to do a mix of theater, television, film, etc., but it’s not always easy for people outside of the UK to get their hands on that, either. People outside of the UK are never going to get a DVD of Blackpool or Takin’ Over the Asylum because of music rights. Is that what future work is going to be like, too? (Yeah, yeah, we should all just get all-region DVD players.)

    I suspect if people (read: me) knew where the next fix was coming from, the news would be a little less painful.

  6. I highly recommend region-free DVD players. I mean, hypothetically, it’s possible, just possible, to google which American DVD players are easily hackable to make them region-free and then, you know, one could go out to ones local Best Buy and buy one of those said DVD players (at a discount no less!) and bring it home and then, by chance, coincidentally leave the DVD tray open and then hit a sequence of numbers on the remote that, again, purely by luck, allows you to play DVDs from any region. Or so I’ve heard. πŸ˜‰

    Also, Hobbit alert! Dominic Monaghan is going to be on Chuck!

  7. Holy cow! Ooh, and I like Romany Malco, too, so a comedy with those two is very welcome news indeed. And now there is this announced for Tennant. It’s likely a small supporting role (aren’t those dates sandwiched between Stratford and London performances of Hamlet? Crazy), but with a cast like that (Bill Nighy! Julie Christie! Jeremy Northam! CHRISTOPHER LEE!) it’s almost sure to land on these shores eventually, even if it’s just on DVD. So–Problem B well on the way to resolution! Since my wishes are now apparently commands (I”m suddenly magic), the next step is to resolve Problem A by Steven Moffat showing up to tell me about the first three episodes of Series Five Who and reassure me that his version is going to hit my cheeseometer buttons are well as Davies’ did. Preferably while preparing a nice tuna casserole.

    And I do really need to see that version of Godot.

    I also need to just get an all-region DVD player, but it always amazes me how much money gets thrown away when shows/songs/etc. are not made available. Presumably, this often happens because of legal blockades that make a release less than financially viable (US music rights for Blackpool or music rights in general for China Beach). But I have less sympathy for executives who complain about things like bit torrent. Know what the way to conquer that problem and make some more cash would be? Make the product available for purchase. If you sell it, they will come.

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  10. OMG!!! He is my favorite Doctor Who. My daughter and I cried when we found out he was leaving. We love him, the new Doctor Who, not so much! Although we watch Doctor Who still, it is not the same. David brought so much to the character and he was so much fun. We are still in the grieving process and we have sat through almost a whole season with the new Doctor Who. I hope we can get used to the new Doctor, but we will never love him like we do David!!!

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