As many actors in the industry do, former Doctor Who David Tennant decided to take a stage name when first starting out in the business.
His reasons for doing so was that his birth name, David MacDonald, was already in use by another of his agents clients so, after reading an issue of Smash Hits magazine which featured an article on the then popular music group The Pet Shop Boys, Tennant decided to adopt the name Tennant from their lead singer Neil.
However, when it came to his flip across the pond to America Tennant was met with an obstacle when it came to working over there with two names and so decided to legally change his name to Tennant once and for all, as he has been explaining in a recent webchat he took over on The Guardian Stage website.
When asked about the name change by a viewer, Tennant explained:
“I am now actually Tennant — have been for a few years, it was an issue with the Screen Actors’ Guild in the US, who wouldn’t let me keep my stage name unless it was my legal name. Faced with the prospect of working under 2 different names on either side of the globe, I had to take the plunge and rename myself! So although I always liked the name, I’m now more intimately associated with it than I had ever imagined. ”
During the chat he was also asked about his recent role in Richard II, Tennant commented:
“What’s great about this play is that there is no definitive hero or villain. Shakespeare refuses to take sides, and that’s why it works so timelessly. Certainly Richard is not immediately empathetic, but then unpleasant characters are more fun to play.”
And on filming the play live, he continued:
“I think the idea is we do exactly what we do every night and we ignore the cameras, and they send it out into the world. I’ve never done it before; it’s exciting and a little bit scary …”
David was asked if he had watched Ben Whishaw’s Richard II in preparation for his own performance, to which he replied:
“I did, and I shouldn’t have. Ben is one of those actors who seems to come from a different universe; he has something utterly magical about him. And it took all of the rehearsal process to banish the memory of the performance. I think in the end I’ve ended up doing something quite different to him, but I am nonetheless a huge fan. And he is annoyingly nice man as well.”
David Tennant can be seen along with his Doctor Who companion Billie Piper joining forces with the current Time Lord team of Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on November 23 in a special 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor, due to be shown in homes and cinemas around the world.
Watch an interview with Tennant discussing Richard II in the clip below: