Doctor Who star David Tennant turns zombie for Christmas panto

The former Time Lord plays Santa Claus infected by a zombie virus alongside Eastenders' star Shane Richie and breakfast radio host Christian O'Connell

Former Doctor Who star David Tennant proved himself a more than capable panto performer this morning, with a starring role in Absolute Radio’s celebrity Christmas pantomime Zombie-Claus.


The Scottish star appeared in a full zombie costume alongside his friend, the breakfast show host Christian O’Connell, who played “Elf” in the one-off performance which was broadcast live across the UK. It is his first role as a panto Zombie, although he did star in the radio station’s panto last year.

Also featuring was EastEnders star and comedian Shane Richie as Buttons (see picture below).

Absolute presenters, including O’Connell’s co-host Richie Firth, Travel presenter Maggie Doyle and Newsreader Andrew Bailey, took on the remaining roles.

Set in the North Pole, the panto started with Tennant’s Santa contracting a zombie virus after opening the door to an infected fridge. Only Buttons and the Elves were able to turn him back into a human and save Christmas.

During the pantomime, Tennant was frequently mocked for his classical pedigree – he is currently starring in Richard II with the Royal Shakespeare Company – and for the long locks he had to grow for the role.

In turn, Tennant mocked Richie for his current stage work: he is also playing Buttons in panto at the Wycombe Swan Theatre.

Tennant also admitted that keeping his hair in check for Richard II is a demanding task.

He said: “Some of it’s natural but quite a lot of it is extensions right down my back so as you can imagine maintenance is quite heavy so I can’t throw it around too much. I have to massage it a lot but most of the time I make such a mess of it and luckily there are people at the Royal Shakespeare Company who kindly wash my hair for me.”

At one point, Tennant and Richie came to blows in a mock-punch up live on stage, much to the delight of the 150 audience members, many of whom had arrived at the theatre dressed as zombies.