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David Tennant’s Contributions to Doctor Who Episodes
Silence in the Library “Scanning a Planet” Edition

Excerpt from the Silence in the Library DVD commentary track

Steven Moffat: I expanded this a bit [scene toward the beginning of the episode with the Doctor and Donna talking in the library], which set off David on some whole thing about the sonic screwdriver

David Tennant: Oh yeah… [laughs]

Steven Moffat: I get a message saying, “David is worried about whether or not the sonic screwdriver could do that”

Julie Gardner:  …and you were like “shut up, they’re extra pages!”

Steven Moffat:  You think, “He’s working hard, the boy” isn’t he?  I mean it could mend barbed wire and light candles…  It’s a bit late to object..

David Tennant:  Well we changed it, didn’t we?  Because at one point the idea was I stick the sonic screwdriver up in the air and it took a sound reading of the whole planet!  I just queried if we were stretching it…

Excerpt from David Tennant’s Panel at AwesomeCon in D.C. (June 2017)

David Tennant:  It’s always interesting, the relationship between real science and the science of science fiction.  I think it works best, on Doctor Who, even though you’re talking about time travel which doesn’t necessarily exist yet, or things that we might aspire to, or things that we can dream of, it works best when it seems credible.  When you can just about imagine that we might be able to get there one day. Everyone has their own threshold for that, I suppose.  […]  If it gets too preposterous, it takes you out of it [the story].  I think that’s quite a tricky thing to navigate. Occasionally I bump up against it myself.  I remember in the library story, there was this point where, with the sonic screwdriver, in 1 second I had to scan the entire planet.  I thought, yeah it can mend barbed wire, I’ll buy that, but scan an entire planet in 1 second? Or should we just use that computer monitor over there - somehow for me that felt a little bit more… I can buy that, I can just about stretch to that.  But that was my own particular threshold.

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. This instance is an example of David questioning the believably of a particular plot point, and others agreeing with him and changing the story due to David’s good idea (and I agree with David - that is a bit much to ask of the sonic, particularly when you’re on a planet that has a giant computer at its core - a computer that easily could be linked to sensors scattered over the planet’s surface to determine the current attendance/population). 

Full set of David’s Contributions Posts (tag):
Bigger on the Inside Edition
Walking on Theatre Chairs Edition
Scanning a Planet Edition
Shakespeare Code Bedroom Edition
Interrupting Jackie Edition
Sarah Jane Smith Edition
Stone Arm Edition
Hand in a Jar Edition
Killing the Vespiform Edition

Space Gun
Publisher: Taito (Arcade, SMS), Ocean Software (Amiga, CPC, ST, C64, ZX), Empire Interactive (NA/EU PS2/Xbox/Windows), SEGA (EU SMS, NA PS2/Xbox/Windows)
Developer: Taito (Arcade, SMS), Images Software (Amiga, CPC, ST, C64. ZX), Atomic Planet Entertainment (PS2, Xbox, Windows)
Platform: Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Master System, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
Year: 1990 (Arcade), 1992 (Amiga, CPC, ST, C64, ZX, SMS), 2005 (PS2, Xbox, Windows)

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