David Tennant announced that he was leaving Doctor Who in October 2008. He was quoted as saying;
“I don’t ever want it to feel like a job, so I want to move on when it still feels exciting and fresh.”
BBC has just aired The End of Time part 2 which features the end of the 10th Doctor and the introduction of the 11th. The last words of Tennant’s Doctor are interesting;
“I don’t want to go.”
Now, this makes sense in the plot insofar as the Doctor had already said he felt that he had a lot more to do. Before that he had said the regeneration was like a death.
The line was discussed, at length, in Doctor Who Confidential. They filmed four versions and debated long and hard over which one to select. They wanted an audience impact but erred away from the most emotional or grim of the takes.
Nevertheless there is already speculation that the line was inserted by Russell T Davies to give his star the last word against the BBC.
There is history here. The BBC had originally said that Christopher Eccleston had quit as the 9th Doctor in a shock exit. The truth, however, was that the BBC had known Eccleston was going to go for months. They also failed to tell the actor they would make the announcement of his departure along with his final show.
The BBC had to apologise to Eccleston.
There was also an oddity around the replacement for David Tennant. Bookies had Paterson Joseph (who I feel would make an excellent Doctor) as the 3-1 favourite for the 11th Doctor. David Morrisey was 5-1 (he later featured as a character who thought he was the Doctor), James Nesbitt as 6-1 and John Simm as 8-1. Simm, of course, now plays The Master.
Matt Smith, who secured the role as the 11th Doctor, came as a total surprise. Well; he came as a total surprise to most of us as there was a last minute surge of bets on the young actor securing the role.
Betfair cut the odds from 33/1 to 1/3 on Matt Smith after the odd betting behaviour.
Of course, David Tennant isn’t the only one leaving Doctor Who today. Russel T Davies is also going – being replaced by Stephen Moffat.
It does make sense that a new lead writer would bring with him a new Doctor.
All we can do is debate. The chances are very high we’re reading far too much into a slightly shady history and a perfectly valid “I don’t want to go” attitude of a fighting Doctor.
… what do you think?