David Tennant’s Contributions to Doctor Who Episodes “Sarah Jane Smith” Edition
Excerpt from Benjamin Cook’s interview with David Tennant from DWM 440:
He stops mid-sentence, and smiles. “I got to call her Sarah. Everyone else had to call her Sarah Jane. When we did School Reunion, she was very much written as Sarah Jane, and that’s how she referred to herself. It was Lis who came to me and said, ‘It’s a wonderful script, but the Doctor always used to call her Sarah, back in the day.’ I said, ‘You’re absolutely right. Of course! I remember that vividly.’ It was Lis’ idea, although I was very happy to go along with it.”
“What almost never happened when I worked on Doctor Who was, the scripts just never needed tinkering with,” he continues. “If there were anything to change, Russell and I might have a brief chat, but once the cameras had started rolling, the scripts basically remained unchanged. That name thing was an exception. Lis and I just did it. It was a little tribute to the days of old. A couple of times, people queried it, and we’d just go, ‘Ah, no, that’s just… that’s what it’s meant to be.’ We were kind of stubborn about it. Until, in the end, a line or two was put in to slightly explain why I was calling Sarah something different to everyone else,” he laughs.
Orig.Poster’s note: This post is part of a series on some of the contributions that David made to episodes of Doctor Who, because he sometimes gets questions about ad-libs or input he may have had to episodes, but he tends to not take credit for his various additions/suggestions - so I figured I’d list some for him. Most of the credit for this one actually goes to the lovely Elisabeth Sladen for bringing it to David’s attention. I love his telling of the story above, with he and Lis conspiring together to go off-script and being “kind of stubborn about it”.
“You have fought many battles in your life. You’re about to fight another. But this time, it will be different. This time, Sarah Jane… you lose.” - The Sarah Jane Adventures, s02e03 Secrets of the Stars
Doctor, wherever, whenever you are — pay close attention now, ‘cause this is a postcard from the past. Do not ask how on Earth did the Tylers manage to breach the void and end up here without causing the end of the world (we don’t know that either, and the more questions we ask, the clearer it becomes they’re not so sure themselves) or why is a fairly startled Jackie staring somewhere awfully far from where she’s supposed to (this was the only photo Jack accepted, he apparently looked hot enough so yeah, there’s that) or what’s the meaning behind our little festive decorations (we think you have a pretty good idea, actually) or are the ball bearings edible (yes, says Rose, she has checked) or how do we know when is your birthday (you told us. The single-hearted you. He’s really quite obsessed with the abundant amounts of candles).
Because the point is, it is your birthday and even though we have no idea which one exactly and no idea where you are or what you’re currently feeling like (we hope you’re not sad), we still want you to know there’s still a bunch of fairly crazy and potentially jeopardy-friendly humans somewhere, somewhen in the Universe who love you a lot. Happy Birthday, Doctor!
Signed, respectively: Sarah Jane Smith (the last remnant of sanity), The King and Queen of Pete’s World and the Rest of Everything (why, not pretentious at all), the Intergalactic Princess (don’t even ask), Martha Star Jones-Smith, Mickey Mouse, Everyone’s Favourite Reindeer and, obviously, Jackie.
I finally finished. It’s not even half as good as I would like it to be, but oh well. I hope you enjoy it. And also, I’m still upset I couldn’t include Donna properly.