Doctor Who is a significant part of British pop culture and it has been so for the past 60 years. A total of 13 actors have played the time-travelling lead character The Doctor, but only one of these actors has played the role twice. David Tennant has had the honour of playing of playing this character twice, returning as the 14th Doctor.
The first time Tennant played Doctor Who was in 2005. He went on to play the character for five more seasons until he left the show in 2010. In 2022, it was announced that Ncuti Gatwa of Sex Education would replace Jodie Whittaker – who was the first woman to play the character, as the show’s 14th doctor. But when Whittaker’s character went through regeneration it was a different version of The Doctor that materialized.
David Tennant’s Return as the 14th Doctor
As previously stated David Tennant is the first actor who will have the chance to play different versions of The Doctor. However, the idea for this had been a long time coming. Sydney Newman the show’s co-creator had wanted Patrick Troughton who played the show’s second doctor, to be regenerated as the seventh doctor but this did not come to fruition.
Tennant’s return was very surprising for audiences. This is because Ncuti Gatwa had been announced as the next doctor, making him the 14th Doctor on the show. David Tennant’s regeneration of the character alters the expectations viewers have of the story. However, this does not mean Gatwa would never play The Doctor, he is currently primed to be the 15th Doctor.
He Was Loved As The 10th Doctor
Tennant had initially played the show’s 10th Doctor after the revived era of the show in its second series. He took over from Christopher Eccleston who only played the character for 13 episodes within the space of one year. David Tennant’s performance as The Doctor came with a lot of praise and admiration. He has been described as being one of the most human-like doctors that the show has had.
The 10th doctor would go on to become one of the most loved doctors in the history of the show. David Tennant had amassed such a great number of fans that his exit from the show almost led to the end of Doctor Who. The worry had been that the show would not enjoy as much success without him playing the role.
David Tennant’s Return And Its Implications For The Series
There is some excitement about David Tennant and his return as the 14th doctor, but this move comes with a number of implications that might be harmful to Tennant and the show. It is not uncommon for previous doctors to make cameo reappearances on the show, for Tennant this might pose some difficulty going forward. The success of the appearances is in the surprise of seeing a previously loved character. But when the same actor takes centre stage twice, the novelty of his cameos wears off and introduces an element of confusion.
However, David Tennant’s return also forebodes good tidings for the show. Doctor Who has been experiencing a declining viewership rate since Tennant’s exit from the show. His return might have a significant impact on the show’s rating.
Character Analysis of The 14th Doctor
The expected return of David Tennant as the 14th incarnation of The Doctor was facilitated by Russell T. Davies who had worked with him when he was the 10th doctor. Tennant’s first Doctor Who is a character filled with boundless energy, wit, and curiosity. His portrayal captures the essence of the Doctor’s timeless nature, effortlessly blending childlike wonder with profound wisdom, something a lot of the other doctors lacked.
Episodes featuring the 14th doctor have not aired yet. He is supposed to be in three special episodes which celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary and will all air in Novemeber. They also serve as a transitionary process for the series, as the 15th Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa is supposed to appeal to a younger and more diverse audience. One of the best things about Doctor Who is the continuity in the main character’s stories which has been made possible through the time travel and regeneration plot devices. All the doctors on the show are the same person with the same stories they just have different representations, Tennant as the 14th doctor follows the same pattern. He is expected to have slightly different mannerisms and appear differently, as a slightly older version while wearing differently styled clothes.