My Obsession with the Impish, Irritable Charm of David Tennant
by Madeline Iva
It all started while watching Broadchurch.
First of all, I admit to watching Broadchurch–a British show–with the English subtitles on. I can follow what they’re saying without subtitles–especially the second time through–but it takes a lot of concentration. David Tennant’s character ladles out a full-on Scottish accent that’s sometimes all vowels and no consonants. But they are glllllllorious vowels! I love hearing him talk Scottish. Of course I want to comprehend what he’s actually saying too, thus the subtitles.
And Tennant is Scottish. You may have heard of the American version of Broadchurch called Gracepoint. But I mean, come on — he doesn’t have an accent in the American version, so what’s the point?
The Tennant obsession is new for me but it started the same way all my actor-obsessions start.
I call it the Orlando Bloom effect. Here’s how it works: you are riveted by the performance of a hot new actor in a movie. You look him/her up on IMBD to see what else s/he’s done, and it turns out that you’ve been watching that actor for a while, you just didn’t notice.
The first time I saw Lord of the Rings I thought the plot was all about an elf named Legolas and a variety of other people. But Orlando Bloom had also done Black Hawk Down. Who knew?
I’d seen Tennant in Harry Potter without noticing. I’d seen Tennant in Foyle’s War and noted to self, “what a curiously handsome/hot guy to be playing that role.” But then, as Georgette Heyer would say, “the scales fell from my eyes,” when I watched him in Broadchurch. The obsession began in earnest while watching him play the villain in Jessica Jones. He does snarky really well–and whatever the role, he always is intelligent. Even as the most evil man alive, you don’t really believe he’s the kind of guy who cheats on a woman.
In Broadchurch his character is so unhappy he’s not even in the land of the living, really. All the same he chews his Scottish accent and remains a distant observer looking over the small town with a cynical eye as he guides his side-kick through her first murder investigation. He doesn’t like anyone, but he’s an excellent mentor–and ten thousand women across the land heave a big sigh.
His character in Broadchurch doesn’t like hugs. Perhaps this is because of playing the hottest Dr. Who ever. I just recently started watching the Who series as a way of catching up on all things Tennant. On the show he is often enthusiastic and affectionate in those impulsive moments right after saving the universe. Again. Eight years of cheery embraces, bleh! I imagine there’s a clause in his Broadchurch contract that reads “No hugging. Ever.” Meanwhile, his character on Broadchurch relishes two things: his own anger and signs that a suspect is about to crack.
There is no romance between the two main characters in Broadchurch – yet. They are accused of sleeping together in season two. (Yay!) They haven’t slept together–at least not in the biblical sense of the word – and they aren’t romantically/physically obsessed with each other. No, the show leaves that for the watchers at home. Like me.
The plausibility factor of the accusation that they slept together rests on the fact that, yes, the jury must have noticed that he’s good looking, and how could she not jump his bones? No one else seems to notice his looks on the show–least of all himself. It’s not like Tennant tries to be sexy. It’s not like he’d know how. But he can’t quite manage to be a geek either, he’s just too good looking. So he’s somewhere in between.
But what really kills me is that every now and then he kind of turns to his side kick in Broadchurch. Sort of leans towards her. Says thinks like “I could kiss you” when she turns up with a good bit of evidence.
He’s careful and tender with her when things go ‘tits up’ at the end. It’s utter catnip for viewers. Especially since it plays against the grain of his typical misanthropic views. Those are the precise moments that string me along. God I’m so messed up.
Let’s face it, mostly Tennant plays the good looking, decent, intelligent–and here’s the key–unattainable man. <pounding head> Ugh! Why are women like me so f***ed up about this stuff? Or maybe we just like a challenge.
So if you’ve seen Broadchurch, if you’ve watched Jessica Jones, if you’ve consumed all three seasons of Dr. Who over the holidays– what else are you as a David Tennant fan supposed to do? Well, there’s a wee little Scottish rom-com called THE DECOY BRIDE, on Netflix. Check it out.
Meanwhile, Tennant is one of those men who keeps getting better with age. Better watch out George Clooney.
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Madeline Iva writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out March 15th.