David Tennant

Why Do People Hate David Tennant?

David Tennant is a Scottish actor best known for playing the Tenth Doctor in the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010. Despite his popularity and acclaim in the role, Tennant has faced some backlash and hatred from certain groups over the years.

Here we’ll explore the major reasons why people hate David Tennant and the controversies surrounding him.

He’s Not Considered a “Proper” Doctor By Some Fans

When David Tennant took over the role of the Doctor from Christopher Eccleston in 2005, he was only 34 years old. This made him one of the youngest actors to ever play the Doctor. Many longtime fans of the show were skeptical of Tennant’s ability to portray the centuries-old Time Lord convincingly.

His portrayal was also a departure from the character’s traditional persona. Where previous Doctors like Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker had been mature, brooding figures, Tennant’s Doctor was lively, eccentric, and bursting with enthusiasm. This was off-putting to fans who were used to a more stern, fatherly Doctor.

Too Much Romance With Companions

Another criticism of Tennant’s Doctor was the increased focus on romance between the Doctor and his female companions. Some fans accused the show of pandering to younger viewers by playing up love stories.

Scenes like Tennant kissing companion Rose Tyler in “The Parting of the Ways” or Martha Jones professing her love for the Doctor led some fans to believe the show had become a melodrama. For some, this betrayed the classic Doctor Who ethos.

Perceived As Less Authoritative and “Doctorish”

Besides his age and romantic plots, Tennant’s eccentric costume choices led many to see his Doctor as less authoritative and doctorish. Sporting Converse trainers, a duster coat, and wild hair, Tennant seemed too casual and modern versus the Time Lord stereotype.

This reinforced the belief that Tennant was deviating too far from the character’s roots and not portraying the Doctor seriously enough. For fans used to Doctors like William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee who had an air of wisdom and gravity about them, it was a tough pill to swallow.

He’s Seen as Replacing Fan Favorite Doctors

When David Tennant first stepped into the TARDIS, he had the impossible task of taking over from Christopher Eccleston, who had successfully revived the series following its 16-year hiatus but only stayed one series. Eccleston’s leather jacket-wearing Ninth Doctor was immediately beloved by fans old and new for his brooding charm and eccentric humor.

Many fans at the time believed Eccleston had been the perfect Doctor and were sad to see him leave after only one series. This inevitably created some resentment towards Tennant for essentially forcing out Eccleston and replacing him prematurely.

Comparisons to Tom Baker Era

For older fans who grew up during the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981, David Tennant has drawn sometimes unflattering comparisons.

Baker’s long-running Fourth Doctor is considered by many to be the definitive take on the character and a high-water mark for the show. His unique outfit, iconic long scarf, and eccentric sense of humor made the Fourth Doctor legendary.

Tennant’s Tenth Doctor arguably has the most similarities to the Tom Baker era of any modern Doctor. This can rub some Baker fans the wrong way, as they feel Tennant is simply copying what made the classic era so popular instead of bringing something new to the role.

Seen As Replacing Fan Favorites Like Tennant

Many fans of David Tennant also eventually felt letdown when he decided to leave Doctor Who after only three full series. Similar to those initially disappointed by Eccleston’s departure, fans who had come to see Tennant as their favorite Doctor were sad to see him go and be replaced by the new and relatively unknown Matt Smith.

This has led some Tennant loyalists to harbor resentment towards Smith and other successors like Peter Capaldi for not living up to Tennant’s portrayal of their beloved Time Lord. It’s an endless cycle of fans not wanting to let go of their particular “Doctor.”

Accused of Typecasting the Doctor’s Personality

Another criticism aimed at David Tennant is that his portrayal typecast the Doctor and narrowed audiences’ perception of the character’s personality.

Locking In The “Zany” Aspects

With his fast-talking eccentricity, enthusiasm, and tendency for comic babbling, Tennant exemplified the “zany” aspects of the Doctor’s character. While this take was very popular, some believe it has pigeon-holed people’s idea of how the Doctor should behave going forward and has influenced successors like Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi to emulate the same zany energy in their performances.

Less Nuance And Character Growth

Relatedly, others argue Tennant’s Doctor didn’t have the same nuance and room for growth as past incarnations. Where Doctors like Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy gradually evolved from lighthearted to more brooding and mysterious over time, Tennant’s Doctor remained a similar bubbly character throughout his run. This could limit how future actors approach the role.

Reliance on Catchphrases and Quirks

Tennant also began relying heavily on catchphrases like “Allons-y!” and character quirks like constantly wearing 3D glasses. For some this represented a shift towards shallow gimmicks rather than compelling character writing. It promoted the idea that the Doctor has to have certain quirky trademarks vs just being an interesting multidimensional character.

Perceived Political or Social Agendas

Like previous Doctors, David Tennant’s era did not shy away from political or social commentary at times. While many fans appreciate this sci-fi tradition, it has also led some groups to believe the show pushes certain agendas they disagree with.

Criticism of British Leadership

Stories like “The Christmas Invasion” and “World War Three” were seen by some as overt criticism of Britain’s political leadership in the early 2000s, with Harriet Jones’ downfall seeming like a rebuke of Tony Blair’s government at the time. Other episodes like “The Fires of Pompeii” took more direct aim at authority figures.

Representation of Minorities/Women

The increased prominence of minority characters like Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness led some fans to complain the show was focusing too much on representation and diversity over storytelling. Others believed the Doctor taking female companions from modern eras glorified women abandoning traditional roles.

Messaging About Pacifism and Intervention

The revived Doctor Who has strongly emphasized the Doctor’s pacifism and interventionism, sparking debate on whether these ideals are presented too heavy-handedly or even hypocritically at times. Stories like “The Waters of Mars” blur the lines on when the Doctor should interfere. This has led some fans to accuse the show of muddled messaging on imperialism.

He’s Seen as Too Friendly and Familiar with Fans

Another peculiar source of animosity towards David Tennant is a perception by some fans that he has become too familiar and overexposed from conventions, interviews, and other appearances.

Accessible Celebrity Persona

Unlike past Doctors who were more remote, Tennant has cultivated an very accessible celebrity persona, frequently appearing at conventions and enthusiastically engaging with fans. While many appreciate his openness, others feel it undercuts the Doctor’s mystery. To them, Tennant has “sold out” the Doctor’s integrity for fame.

Over-saturation at Events

Relatedly, some believe Tennant’s ubiquitous convention appearances and continued association with Doctor Who has led to over-saturation.

When he dominates so many Doctor Who-related events well after his tenure, some think it detracts attention from other Doctors and can feel like hogging the spotlight. They wish he’d step back and let the current Doctor take center stage.

Too Much Speculation About Returning

Tennant’s close relationship with the show also leads to constant speculation of him potentially returning to the role someday.

This can frustrate fans eager for the current Doctor to come into their own without the past hanging over them. Some wish Tennant would state definitively whether he’d ever return so it doesn’t distract from celebrating whoever holds the role now.

His Acting Range Is Limited Outside Doctor Who

Apart from criticisms of Tennant as the Doctor, there is a perception among some that Tennant has failed to distinguish himself as an actor outside the role and too often plays similar characters.

Typecast As The Eccentric Lead

Like many actors strongly identified with an iconic role, Tennant has struggled to escape the Doctor’s shadow and avoid typecasting.

He is often cast in similar eccentric, comedic leading man parts like Detective Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, Killgrave in Jessica Jones, and the demon Crowley in Good Omens. For critics, this shows a lack of versatility beyond the Doctor.

Perceived Lack of Serious Work

Relatedly, some believe Tennant hasn’t taken on enough serious, dramatic work to showcase his full talents. Though films like The Decoy Bride and What We Did On Our Holiday have their charms, many are seen as Tennant not pushing himself in bigger, awards-caliber roles that carry real dramatic weight. Fans want to see what he can do beyond comedy.

Overshadowed By Other Who Alumni

Unlike other Doctor Who alumni like Peter Capaldi, Olivia Coleman, and Karen Gillan who have found major success outside the show, Tennant is still struggling to escape the Doctor’s long shadow.

This has led some to question if he is really a great actor or just a comedian who got lucky playing an iconic part. The lack of post-Who prestige projects adds to the perception.


David Tennant is a brilliant actor who made an indelible mark on Doctor Who, capturing the imaginations of children and adults alike during his tenure. However, no portrayal of such an iconic character can be universally beloved by all fans. For a small but vocal minority, Tennant represents a deviation from what they believe the Doctor should be.

Yet these critiques arise from every Doctor’s tenure eventually. They reflect not flaws in Tennant’s skills, but the impossible task of living up to 50+ years of mythology. No actor can please every fan across eras.

That Tennant still evokes passion among his detractors shows the power of his performance. He defined the role for a new generation, even if some older fans resisted his interpretation.

In the end, the Doctor must change and evolve just as society does. The Tennant era helped revive Doctor Who to thrilling new heights of popularity, even if it took the character in directions some did not prefer.

For 10 years and beyond, David Tennant’s Doctor made millions fall in love with this daft old Time Lord all over again. That above all explains why he is still beloved by so many for his magical period at the TARDIS controls.


Why did David Tennant leave Doctor Who?

David Tennant left Doctor Who in 2010 after portraying the Tenth Doctor for 3 full series from 2006-2010.

His reason for leaving was that he felt it was better to exit the show sooner rather than stay too long. He wanted to go out on a high note and not risk overstaying his welcome. He also cited fear of being typecast.

What is David Tennant doing now?

Though he’ll always be associated with Doctor Who, Tennant has remained very active in film, TV, and theatre.

Recent projects include Around the World in 80 Days, the podcast David Tennant Does a Podcast With…, the Amazon series Good Omens, the HBO series Camping, and the animated show Final Space. He’s set to play Phileas Fogg in an upcoming series adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days.

Is David Tennant married?

Yes, David Tennant has been married to Georgia Moffett since 2011. Moffett is the daughter of Peter Davison, who played the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who. This means Tennant married the real-life daughter of a former Doctor Who actor. They have five children together.

Why didn’t David Tennant regenerate?

The explanation given in Doctor Who for why Tennant’s Tenth Doctor was able to postpone regeneration was that after healing from a mortal wound, the energy that would have gone into regenerating was re-routed into his severed hand kept in the TARDIS.

This excess energy allowed him to heal without changing, essentially giving him an extra life cycle.

Will David Tennant return to Doctor Who?

Rumors constantly swirl that Tennant may return to Doctor Who someday, but there are currently no concrete plans for him to reprise his role as the Tenth Doctor.

Tennant has said he would not rule out returning for a special episode, but also does not want his presence to detract from the current Doctor. Only time will tell!

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