Sci-Fi Fodder

Tennant still "Doctor Who"

There have been many reports around the web and blogsphere reporting that David Tennant will be leaving 'Doctor Who'. These reports are based on an article published by the British tabloid 'The Sun'. They reported that Tennant "... has told the Beeb he will return the following year — but will not do the entire nine-month shoot". The article mentions Robert Carlyle as the prime candidate to replace Tennant.

The article states that "...David has been bombarded with film offers after appearing in the last Harry Potter movie" (as 'Barty Crouch Jr.').

So, is the rumor legit?

The BBC has strongly denied this story. They claim that Tennant is "committed" to the series. A BBC spokesperson said that they would be able to confirm his participation after future episodes of the series were given the go-ahead.

This does make some sense, as Tennant is still filming the the 3rd season of 'Doctor Who', which is due to air this spring. However, the idea of Tennant leaving in the fourth season cannot be completely dismissed. One can never take the utterances of a television network at face value; in fact, if I was a conspiracy buff, I might speculate that the reason that Season Four does not yet have a 'go-ahead' precisely because of questions on whether or not their star will return. But, that's just me stirring the pot. I am sure that everything is fine...*evil grin*.

If Tennant does leave, 'Doctor Who' will have a completely new set of primary characters in less than four seasons, as Freema Agyeman will also be replacing Billie Piper as the Doctor's companion.

I still do not fully understand how contracts with actors work in British television series. For better or for worse, actors working for American series sign watertight longterm contracts and options. "Grey's Anatomy" has its cast locked into 7 year contracts. This is not to say American castmembers can't and don't leave series early, but it's always after a contract lapses or if there is mutual consent with the show's producers.

What is it about British shows which lets actors sign contracts one series at a time? Surely David Tennant was not so huge in 2004 that he could have demanded a short term agreement. Is it a UK legal stipulation that actors not be allowed to sign long term deals?

-- Posted by: Ian at December 29, 2006 8:03 PM

I wish I knew the answer to that one. I wonder if the Brits are in the same Screen Actors Guild as our actors are?

-- Posted by: fred at January 4, 2007 4:22 PM