David Tennant: “I’ve been quite promiscuous with genres”

From fantasy and sci-fi series to crime dramas, Deadwater Fell's David Tennant says there's no "tactic" behind his varied career - and reveals why he enjoys playing darker characters...

David Tennant in Deadwater Fell

It wasn’t too long ago that we saw David Tennant play the demonic-yet-loveable fallen angel Crowley in Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens fantasy adaptation. Now the chameleon-like actor is returning to his Broadchurch roots in another crime drama — only this time, he’s the suspect.

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In Channel 4’s Deadwater Fell, Tennant plays a well-liked GP whose family all perish in a fire at their house, and suspicions abound as to whether or not he caused it. It’s certainly a dark departure from some of Tennant’s best known roles, including the time-travelling Tenth Doctor in the BBC’s beloved sci-fi series Doctor Who

Speaking about his varied acting CV at the Deadwater Fell press screening, Tennant said: “I’ve always been quite promiscuous with genres and types of parts; I like variety and I like doing things that feel new and different. But, there’s no real tactical thought process to that. It’s more like, well this has come up and it’s worth doing.”

Asked about playing ‘darker’ roles, the Criminal actor added that enigmatic characters are often appealing: “If you get a nice script and it connects with you, then you just want to be part of it. I suppose characters that are complicated and characters that are unknowable are interesting from an acting point of view. So, there’s something immediately appealing about that anyway.”

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, the actor said: “You don’t ever consciously develop any sort of theme in the characters you play. It’s just what comes up comes up and you hope that one will get to a variety of different things and a variety of different circumstances.”

“I respond to things that feel different to things I’ve done before. But I’ve never felt limited to one genre or one type of thing and I feel like I’ve been quite lucky to get to do kids animations, something like this, and then a Marvel thing [Jessica Jones] and a family movie, I’ve never felt like I’m getting stuck in a rut particularly. So, that’s certainly something that I would aspire to always feel like.

He continued: “It all comes down to a good script and that’s all that really matters and all you really consider. They show themselves very clearly and therefore you know when you’re reading something that this is one you don’t want anyone else to do, that you don’t want to let go.”

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Deadwater Fell will premiere on Friday 10th January 2020 at 9pm on Channel 4. There will be four episodes.