The 10 best David Tennant TV shows and movies, ranked

Images via BBC / Prime Video

Over the years, there have been a number of gifted actors and actresses who have managed to breathe life into certain fictional characters through their brilliant acting and portrayal of said characters. While others might have portrayed those exact same characters, the aforementioned actors and actresses have managed to own the role like no other. David Tennant, a Scottish actor, is one of such gifted actors. While the 51-year-old has starred in notable shows and movies like Casanova, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, How to Train Your Dragon and Jessica Jones, he’s perhaps best known for his amazing portrayal of The Doctor in the long running BBC science-fiction TV show Doctor Who

Tennant came to prominence playing the famed role between 2005–2010 and then later in 2013. The desire to play this specific character in what drove little Tennant to acting. He watched almost every Doctor Who episode for years and fortunately landed the role a couple years after kick starting his professional acting career. Now, asides playing the legendary roles, here’s a list of his ten best movies and shows, ranked from least to best. 

10. Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger

This 2012 improvised British Christmas comedy that was written and directed by English comic writer Debbie Isitt focuses on an anxious primary school teacher named Donald Peterson. Donald, played by Tennant (who also played Roderick Peterson, Donald’s estranged twin brother) has to juggle handling a pregnant wife and  a class of children on a road trip to the National ‘Song for Christmas’ Competition. It’s not the most serious thing you’ll see on screen, regardless, it’s charming, funny and light-hearted. 

9. Single Father

Single Father is a four-episode 2010 BBC television drama that follows Tennant’s character, Dave, who has to raise four children all by himself after his beloved wife Rita died in a fatal car accident. Things start to get more complicated when doubt is cast on Dave’s paternity and when he shares a grief-stricken kiss with Sarah, Rita’s best friend. Aside from Tennant, this emotional drama features other names like Laura Fraser, Suranne Jones, Rupert Graves, Neve McIntosh, and others.

8. Ferdinand

David Tennant has taken many voice acting roles — like Scrooge McDuck in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Buck Douglas in Fireman Sam: Alien Alert, Charles Darwin in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! and many others — but his role in Ferdinand, a 2017 American computer-animated adventure comedy remains one of his best. Here, he voices Angus, a Scottish Highland bull who is a friend to the main character Ferdinand. 

7. Fright Night

This remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 film of the same name is a 2011 American supernatural horror comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie. It tells the story of Charley Brewster, a teenager living in a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, who discovers that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige is a vampire. Tennant plays Peter Vincent, a self-proclaimed vampire hunter who is tasked with discovering whether Dandrige is actually a vampire responsible for a series of mysterious deaths. While the legendary Roddy McDowall played Peter Vincent excellently in the original Fright Night, Tennant does a brilliant job here as well, proving himself to be one of the most talented acts around. 

6. Staged

This British television comedy series stars actors Michael Sheen and David Tennant as fictionalized versions of themselves. The show was set and filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, primarily using video-conferencing technology, and it follows  director Simon Evans trying to persuade Tennant and Sheen to carry on rehearsals after their show was put on hold due to the COVID-19 limitations.

5. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Even though David Tennant appears in only one of the eight films in the famous Harry Potter series, he manages to make a mark playing Barty Crouch Jr in the fourth installment of the popular fantasy film. Barty Crouch Jr is a death eater who manages to infiltrate Hogwarts by disguising as the famous Mad-Eye Moody and Tennant plays him brilliantly, staking a claim as one of the best villains in the franchise outside of the main antagonist Lord Voldemort.

4. Good Omens 

In Good Omens, the world is introduced to the hilarious pairing of Tennant and Michael Sheen as a demon and angel respectively. The comedy is based on the 1990 novel of the same name and follows an unlikely friendship between Crowley and Aziraphale, representatives of Hell and Heaven on Earth. Originally planned to be a limited series, Good Omens was positively received, and will continue on as a regular series.

3. Jessica Jones

This Netflix series created by Melissa Rosenberg is based on the Marvel Comics character Jessica Jones. It focuses on Jones, an ex-superhero turned private investigator who opens her own detective agency. Tennant here plays Jones’ main antagonist Kilgrave, a complicated character who had an even more complex childhood. Due to an experimentation in his childhood, Kilgrave gained extraordinary powers that helps him control people’s mind and Jessica must stop this psychotic mind controller before he gets out of hand.

2. Broadchurch

This British crime drama that aired between 2013 and 2017 focuses on Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller as they try to solve the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town brings a media frenzy, which threatens to tear the community apart. It’s intense, gripping, and it offers twists that you will barely see coming. Aside from Tennant and Olivia Colman who play the aforementioned detectives, the show features other names like Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Matthew Gravelle, and others.

1. Doctor Who

The manner in which Tennant secured the role that’ll give him his breakthrough is almost hard to believe. It’s what he passionately loved as a kid, and what drove him to acting in the first place. He first appeared in the British science fiction series as the tenth Doctor in an episode titled The Parting of the Ways. He later made his full outing as the Doctor in late 2005, taking on the role for half a decade. He returned as the 14 Doctor for special episodes for most of 2023, and will hand over to Ncuti Gatwa in late 2023. 

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The 10 best David Tennant TV shows and movies, ranked

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