18th April 1971

Actor David Tennant is born

David Tennant was voted the best Doctor Who ever in a 2006 poll by Doctor Who Magazine, and although many fans will always remember him as the tenth incarnation of the BBC’s time traveller, his career encompasses a broad variety of roles on television, in cinema, and on the stage.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on 27 December 2009, he described how he had been a Doctor Who fan in his childhood. “To an extent I was doing it for my eight-year-old self who had loved the show and grown up a huge, avid fan,” he said. “And that eight-year-old self is still a huge part of what I am now, so I felt the responsibility not to break it. I feel very proud and relieved that it didn’t go wrong on my watch.”

Every guest on Desert Island Discs is allowed to choose eight songs they would take to the fictional desert island with them. The first of Tennant’s was The Proclaimers’ Over and Done With.

Early years

Born in Bathgate in 1971, Tennant’s birth name was not Tennant but McDonald. He trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and took the stage name Tennant “after reading an article on Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant,” according to the Independent of 29 March 2008.

Between 2013 and 2017 he played DI Alec Hardy in ITV Drama Broadchurch in which producers were famously so keen not to reveal the murderer in the first series that they kept the identity from most of the cast until, at the last moment, telling Tennant himself.

His cinema roles include Barty Crouch Jr in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Ginger Littlejohn in 2003’s Bright Young Things. Early television roles include Scottish sitcom Rab C Nesbitt, police drama The Bill, and Giacomo Casanova in the BBC’s comedy drama Casanova.



Other events that occured in April

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.