When I was a kid growing up in Texas, I used to have to beg my parents to let me stay up late enough on Saturday nights to watch Doctor Who, which came on our PBS station and was like three hours long. In the UK, the show was broadcast in four one-hour segments, but in the US those were all mashed together into one very long episode. When you’re twelve, trying to stay awake through three hours of BBC special effects can be taxing, but I always managed. Then I’d be hauled to church the next morning, bleary-eyed and full of dreams of one day being Tom Baker.
David Tennant apparently had the same dreams I did. We were both born the same year, although the mileage looks a lot better on him, and he grew up watching Tom Baker scarf around as the time-traveling time lord. Unlike me, however, he was able to meet him in person. “I’ll tell you, I was probably about nine years old, and my mother had taken me to a bookshop in Glasgow. Tom Baker was there in the full getup, hat, scarf, coat and everything. God, he must have been boiling hot. Anyhow, my mother bought me some Doctor Who book that had this sort of mini-poster of him in it, and I shook his hand and had him sign it and everything.”
So was it predestined that he’d be playing the Doctor one day? No. That’s ridiculous. But, it’s a pretty cool story. I asked him if he held on to that autograph, “You know, I think it’s probably in a box somewhere. I might have to find that and see if it’s worth anything!” Since he’s leaving Doctor Who this year after doing four “specials,” he might want to hock that thing on eBay if the offers don’t come rolling in. But if a Doctor Who movie is indeed on the horizon, maybe he won’t need to.