David Tennant given Special Achievement Award at NTAs

The Broadchurch and Doctor Who star was surprised and emotional as co-stars and famous admirers paid tribute

David Tennant appeared genuinely surprised – and then genuinely emotional – when he realised he was being honoured for the Special Achievement prize at this year’s National Television Awards.


The announcement was preceded by a live performance by The Proclaimers and Pixie Lott of one of the Scottish actor’s favourite songs, I Would Walk 500 Miles.

As realisation began to dawn on his face, clips from Tennant’s work down the years were shown on the screen in front of him, along with tributes from the actors and writers who had worked with him, including Doctor Who co-stars Catherine Tate and Billie Piper and former writer Russell T Davies. 


“David, in all he does makes the world a better place,” said one special fan, adding “but then I’m his dad…”

Tennant had already been up on stage earlier in the evening, he and his Broadchurch co-star Olivia Colman presenting the award for drama performance to the absent Sheridan Smith who was stuck in traffic. 

“I am so glad I didn’t get stuck in traffic,” were Tennant’s first words as he took the stage for the second time. “This is an out of body experience… So much of tonight now makes sense. All those people lying to me…

“I grew up loving the telly so the fact that I get to make part of my living by being on the telly is something I have to pinch myself about. To get prizes for it just doesn’t compute.


“As tonight proves, TV – and TV drama in particular – is in the midst of a golden time. To be the tiniest cog in that is something I’m terribly proud of. But I’m just a hired hand so anything I’ve achieved is because talented and clever people have been talented and clever enough to give me jobs.

“So to anyone who’s ever given me a shot, thank you very much, and anyone who’s ever let me into their living room on the telly, it’s a real honour and a privilege to get to do that, so thank you. 

“Obviously I’ve got to thank my wonderful family. My amazing wife – who has lied to me – about tonight… And seeing as he was on that film and didn’t tell me, I would like to dedicate this to my dad.”

Ladies and gentlemen: David Tennant. A true gent.