'Camping' star David Tennant was overwhelmed with the honesty of BBC4's 'There She Goes'
Tennant is playing in two comedy shows dealing with two very different issues, and it is probably the honesty of the scripts that drives him to take up a role.
The pilot episode of David Tennant's new show 'Camping,' directed by Lena Dunham and starring Jennifer Garner, was premiered on Sunday, October 14. Although the show didn' receive a good initial response, it surely paved the way for Tennant to try out his hands in different guises. Tennant plays the role of the submissive Walt in Dunham's show, who has been beaten to the ground by his dominating, OCD-ic wife, Kathryn (played by Jennifer Garner).
The 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' actor's role in the ongoing 'Camping' incline more towards being a victim of domestic abuse when seen from another side of the spectrum. Walt is a man who probably does not remember who he is anymore but that has not kept him away from being a loving father. Similarly, in BBC's upcoming show 'There She Goes' Tennant plays the father to a child who suffers from learning disabilities. While the show is heavily based on director Shaun Pye's life, whose 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed by the similar genetic disorder, Tennant was moved by the honesty of the story.
According to Sunday Post, Tennant insisted that it was the honesty of the director that impelled him to take up the role. "I wanted to do this because it is so honest and so candid and because it is absolutely history. You do not worry about the political correctness or otherwise of it because it cannot be anything other than just Shaun’s honest story... In some ways, it has the trappings of a sitcom, but it certainly does not read like one at all."
Tennant's statement brings under the light the stark differences between the two characters that he is playing. While on 'Camping' Dunham has made Tennant's character the Aunt Sully of the show (well, at least for Kathryn), Pye has thrust his own life story on Tennant.
Unlike Walt in 'Camping' who seems more like a sidekick to Garner's Kathryn, Tennant's character, Simon, in 'There She Goes' holds a pivotal position in the show since his character is based on a real story and not fiction-based. While the sitcom is set to depict Pye's real-life struggles with his daughter, the dialogues have been left raw and unaltered from their real-life contexts in order to keep the portrayal honest. Pye had said that he specifically wrote in the raw language because "It is a language between the parents, it’s a language within the family and it is not offensive within that unit. It’s just the way you talk about your kids."
While both Dunham and Pye seem to have set out on a similar journey of exploring their own crisis story through their shows, Dunham has merged fiction with reality for a comedy that sees domestic violence and toxic relations under very different lights. In fact, Dunham has concentrated more on depicting a woman suffering from a chronic illness which results in her ill-tempered mannerisms and her continuous requirement to rule over someone else. It's a typical Dunham style to project the ugly sides of women who are otherwise conventionally portrayed as the more calm one between the genders.
When his character falls in Dunham's hands, Tennant becomes more of a one-dimensional character who probably helps reflect only one side of Dunham's chief character in the show, Kathryn. The difference also lies in the fact that Pye's comedy deals with a more serious issue than Dunham's and that is probably where Tennant's character will glow with Pye.
Speaking of which he said, "We never felt we were making a BBC comedy particularly; there was never a pressure to have a laugh every three minutes. This is Shaun and his family’s life, we’re not trying to give an objective perspective of life with a disability, no scenes in the show are made up, so we just told the story as it is.”
Although the comedy shows deal with very different issues, and Tennant's characters differ under the varying circumstances, both his roles are surely a big shift from the one 'Doctor Who. The actor who has been playing quite outlandish and somewhat freakish characters for quite some time in shows like 'Doctor Who,' 'Broadchurch' and 'Jessica Jones,' had earlier revealed that being on Dunham's 'Camping' was a massive leap in the kinds of characters that he was playing.
Speaking with IGN, Tennant had said, "This came in and you go, 'oh, well, that’s perfect,' because you can only play so many psychopaths without taking it home. I think that the physical manifestation of Walt is how I feel inside, much more than some sharp-suited psychopathic villain."
View this post on Instagram
However, it is difficult to imagine Tennant without his off-beat dialogues and quirky make-ups, and the actor will soon be back to play the demon, Crowley, opposite to Michael Sheen's white angel, Aziraphale, in the upcoming series 'Good Omens.' Based on author Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's 1990 fantasy novel, 'Good Omens,' the story follows the plight of Aziraphale and Crowley who stand at the brink of an age when the apocalypse is evident and the two divine beings are determined to save their "kind."
While these are the regular characters which Tennant is usually familiar with, watching him play the submissive father in Dunham's 'Camping' and as Pye himself in 'There She Goes' is certainly quite a treat for a change. 'There She Goes' will release on BBC 4 on Tuesday at 10: 00 p.m. 'Camping' will air every Sunday at 10 p.m only on HBO.