The year that David Tennant dominated Christmas TV

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Television viewing habits have changed an enormous amount since the end of 2009. Now, we’re as likely to watch programmes on catch-up services, or eschew broadcast television altogether. And with that in mind, it’s easy to overlook that at the end of 2009, and the start of 2010, there was a point when half of the people watching television at one stage were tuned to Doctor Who.

For Christmas Day 2009 marked the start of the brilliant David Tennant’s final screen adventure in the TARDIS (save for Day Of The Doctor), and on New Year’s Day, with The End Of Time Part II, he duly regenerated into Matt Smith. It was the must-see drama of the season.

But it was also the Christmas season where David Tennant seemed resident on the telly, even sneaking into the cinemas too. This year, we’ve got Pearl Mackie reading the Christmas Eve bedtime story on CBeebies. Yet in 2009, we half expected David Tennant to turn up in the middle of EastEnders as well.

See how many of these you remember – and please be assured that none of this is written with snark. We’d happily have another Tennant-packed Christmas…

Doctor Who

David Tennant
David Tennant in The End Of Time. Sob.

The obvious one, and we’re sort of dealt with this. Two big episodes, one on Christmas Day, and one on New Year’s Day. Both attracted huge ratings.

Never Mind The Buzzcocks

The gone but still loved music panel show Never Mind The Buzzcocks was rotating guest presenters come the end of 2009, and as such, Tennant landed the job of stewarding its festive special. Notable particularly for him shaking his fist at the camera and muttering ‘Barrowman’ several times…


Not content with taking his place on one panel show, Tennant then turned up as one of the contestants on the QI Christmas special. Can’t remember if he won or not, though…

The Catherine Tate Show Christmas Special

Back on Christmas Day 2009, and in the evening on BBC One, Catherine Tate co-wrote and starred in a spin-off from The Catherine Tate Show. It was a half-hour special entitled Nan’s Christmas Carol, her own twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale. But who’s this? Who should pop up as the Ghost of Christmas Present? Like you don’t know the answer to that…


Ah sure, famous people queue up to read the bedtime story on CBeebies now. But on December 23rd 2009, long before Captain America turned up to have a go, there was the mighty Tennant, in a nice green jumper, reading Small Mouse Big City, by Simon Prescott. Tennant has returned to the storytelling chair since, too. Top man.


David Tennant was the highlight of BBC One on Christmas Day, and he’d turn out to be the highlight of BBC Two on Boxing Day. In a prime time slot, it broadcast a new production of Hamlet, with Tennant in the title role. Patrick Stewart would co-star. Not a TARDIS gag would be in sight.

In cinemas

Even if you went to the movies, Tennant could be found on the big screen as well! He was one of the ensemble for St Trinian’s 2: The Legend Of Fritton’s Gold, that opened in British multiplexes on December 18th 2009, and proved to be a solid hit across the Christmas period.

Chat shows

Promoting the Doctor Who Christmas specials inevitably involved further television and radio appearances, and in truth, we’ve lost track of the bulk of them. Still:

The BBC Christmas ident itself

Finally, not content with appearing in lots of programmes, David Tennant’s Doctor became part of BBC One’s continuity announcements as well. Take a look…

Merry Christmas, Mr Tennant….!