"It is hard to imagine a less digestible festive sandwich for Tennant fans: Time Lord/Prince of Denmark/Time Lord. We time-travel from teatime jollity — albeit brilliant in its own way — to Shakespeare’s masterpiece and back again."
That’s Helen Rumbelow on the Christmas Telly, writing in today’s Sunday Times. Helen, I wonder if you actually watched DW this year? I think there were more laughs in Hamlet. Having said that, it’s not a bad article. The description of DT having a "punk intelligence" as Hamlet was perceptive.
Heard David Tennant on Desert Island Discs this morning, and he was absolutely lovely. It’s such a clever format – that’s why it’s lasted all these years. Asking someone about their favourite music is both non-threatening and revealing, and he was relaxed and down-to-earth as he discussed his childhood at the manse (writing down details of the choccy bars his gran gave him, as each one was enjoyed), through to touring the Highlands and Islands with Brecht in a minibus ("They get a lot of socialist theatre in the Highlands and Islands whether they like it or not. It’s Scotland – you get given what’s good for you) and the endearing tidbit that the DW cast all sang along to "Ruby" by the Kaiser Chiefs.
One thing really struck me about his choice of tracks (inevitably including "Me and the Farmer" and "The Pretenders"). They were all narratives, character studies, even the closest one to grandstanding stadium rock ("Dignity"). That’s the actor in him I suppose – a fascination with the process of revealing character through performance. There was a lovely moment when Kirsty Young gently probed him about non-academic milestones experienced at drama school, and he replied with lovely evasiveness that when he and his mate went out busking in Glasgow and sang "Over and Gone" it was never discussed, but his friend always took the verse about losing your virginity.
Come to think of it, "Over and Gone" is an excellent opener for the proceedings at this stage in his Doctor Who experience. Bless him, he really is lovely.
Here’s a link to the programme info page – if you’re in the UK you can catch it again on Friday at 9.00am, or Listen Again. It’s also available as a podcast.
Footnote – if you’ve any generous impulses left at this stage in the festive season, you might care to download David’s top choice – "White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin – there was a campaign to get it to the Christmas Number One and although that was somewhat overshadowed by RATM it still charted well and a portion of the profits are going to the National Autistic Society.