By Kenny Smith
IN 2005, when the Scots actor was picked to succeed Christopher Eccleston in the TARDIS, he was over the moon.
WHEN David Tennant became the Doctor in 2005, it fulfilled the young actor's dream.
The Scotsman, who was 33 at the time, had previously played guest roles in various Doctor Who audio plays from Big Finish Productions, opposite his predecessors Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy - and was over the moon to succeed Christopher Eccleston in the TARDIS.
When it came to casting a new Doctor, executive producer Russell T Davies looked to his leading man from another show which he had just made for the BBC, Casanova.
Russell said: "When I first saw the audition tape for Casanova, I didn't know who he was. I wasn't looking for a big star, and this was before Blackpool had been on, but I knew he was a well-known talent in Scotland.
"We saw him, we loved him and we cast him and enjoyed working with him.
"I also knew he was a big Doctor Who fan!
"Although Casanova was nothing to do with Doctor Who, as it was a separate production made by a separate company, when we learned Chris was leaving it all just fitted together very nicely. We didn't screentest him, having just done three hours of Casanova with David, and by that time I'd seen Blackpool."
And David recalled: "I remember being thrilled to bits when I got asked, and then thinking, 'Is this a good idea?' It didn't last long!"
However, there was controversy soon after David was cast, when it was revealed he wouldn't be using his natural accent.
Russll explained: "I didn't ban the accent - it was just part of the creation of David's Doctor. We talked about the costume, as, for example, we didn't say David would have to wear the suit. It was just a cast of human beings coming together and talking about things."
David said: "When Russell came to me, that was how he asked me to play it. I wouldn't say I was disappointed, it's just what I was asked to do. I've always that that part of working as an actor was to take on different accents.
"It doesn't make me any less Scottish because I'm not using my Scottish accent.
"It didn't bother me in particular, but it was a nice chance to do one episode where the Doctor came up with the idea of slipping into a Scottish accent which, remarkably, the Doctor can do!"
David's co-star Billie Piper added: "In the Christmas episode, the idea was that Rose's accent would have rubbed off on the Doctor, but we never actually got around to filming it."
David said: "It was like a chick imprinting on someone when it comes out of an egg."
Comparing the two Doctors, Billie said of David and Chris: "They are different people and bring different things. David's Doctor is a lot more emotional, while Chris's Doctor was more intense.
"Of course they are going to have a different approach, but they are playing the same part. A new person robs off on you very quickly, and you adjust - she moved with the times and the man."
David didn't get the chance to meet his predecessor at the regeneration, as it was shot weeks apart.
He said: "I didn't unfortunately, because of the way it had to be shot - we shot the regeneration on separate days. We haven't bumped into each other, unfortunately. I'm sure we will at some point."
David's third story as the Doctor, Tooth and Claw, saw the TARDIS land in Scotland, which delighted the actor.
He said: "It wasn't a specific ambition, but story-wise, it's nice if you move the characters around and take them to different places. Obviously with filming in Wales, Cardiff has had a shout.
"I was quite keen that Scotland should get a shout and it has certain personal ramifications as well. We filmed in Wales, but there's one shot where on the hillside, they've added a little bit of purple heather. But on the whole, it's remarkably similar with some of the landscape we have up here, so there wasn't a lot that needed doing."
Tooth and Claw was a dark story, featuring grisly deaths, but David denied that the series was too scary.
He said of Tooth and Claw: "I think it does push it quite far, but it's still, ultimately, very responsibly done. It's within a fantastic environment and I think children understand that too.
"I think that's part of growing up, being scared. That's what Doctor Who has done since 1963 and I'm glad to see it continuing to do so.
"A gore-fest would be ridiculous - there's no blood, and it was just fun.
"I think Doctor Who has had horror elements for as long as I can remember. It tours the genres - in the first one we were in a hospital five billion years in the future, then we we're in Scotland and it's gothic horror, the next week is a kind of Grange Hill - it's what Doctor Who does best - every week it's a new style of story."
David's first full series saw the Doctor and Rose growing closer than ever before, building on the friendship which was established with the Ninth Doctor.
"The Doctor and companion has always been very important," said David, "particularly in this series, but the way Russell writes it, it's always an emotional thing, which maybe the show hadn't had before. Rose's family ultimately became the Doctor's family.
"In episode eight, it looks like we're cut off from everything, forever, and we have a quiet moment to consider that idea of never returning home."
David admitted that putting himself in the spotlight as Doctor Who would mean his every action was analysed by the series' devoted fans, for years to come, as well as putting himself in the firing line for TV critics.
He said: "I don't think anybody ever likes being told they are not good at what you do. You invest a lot into what you do. You want everyone to tell you you are great all the time, but I'm wise enough to know what to expect.
"A show like this receives so much scrutiny and analysis, you are never going to please all the people, all the time."
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