David Tennant's Dr. Who out to conquer America

Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:37am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White LONDON (Reuters) - Doctor Who is often seen as a quintessentially English character -- an eccentric fearlessly fighting Daleks and Cybermen with the help of his TARDIS time machine in the shape of a 1950s London police box.

Now the TV hero is out to conquer America, where, despite enjoying a loyal following, he has yet to compete with other science fiction series like "Star Trek."

David Tennant, the 10th actor to play the "Time Lord," has made four special episodes for the BBC series that will be shown in 2009 and 2010, filling the gap before his successor, Matt Smith, appears on screens.

On July 26 the first episode "Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead" will be aired on BBC America, part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and available in stores there two days later on DVD and Blu-ray.

"Growing up with Doctor Who, I was aware it had an international life," Tennant said in a telephone interview to publicize the U.S. launch.

"It has never quite conquered America in the mainstream. Even now it's still not quite in everybody's consciousness, although the following it has is devoted. BBC America is keen to bridge that gap."

Tennant, popular with fans since taking over as the Time Lord in 2005, believes that Doctor Who's international popularity may be explained by his being so British.

"That may be part of its appeal overseas, of course, in the same way of (Agatha Christie's) Miss Marple and other British brands," said the 38-year-old Scot. "It's not sci-fi in the traditional American way, it's not jocks in space."

MIXED BLESSING   Continued...

<p>British actors Freema Agyeman (L) and David Tennant pose at the "National Television Awards" at the Royal Albert Hall in London October 31, 2007. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey</p>