HomeOur Obsessions‘Bad Samaritan’: David Tennant’s most underrated roles

‘Bad Samaritan’: David Tennant’s most underrated roles

What are the top David Tennant performances of all time? We look back and rank the characters that shaped him into the loveable performer he is today.

‘Bad Samaritan’: David Tennant’s most underrated roles

He returned to terrorize in Jessica Jones, played demon Crowley in Amazon Prime’s comedy-fantasy Good Omens, then David Tennant took on his most disturbing role yet as a child kidnapper in drama-thriller Bad Samaritan. Needless to say, the Scottish actor’s been busy.

With such a diverse set of roles on his ever-growing list, do you ever find yourself wondering, “What are the top David Tennant performances of all time?” We’ve decided to look back over his colorful career and rank the characters that shaped him into the lovable performer he is today.

10. Mad to Be Normal (2017)

R.D. Laing

In this historical drama, Tennant is on beady-eyed form for his performance as R.D. Laing – a Scottish psychiatrist who performed controversial experiments on people who were diagnosed as mentally disturbed. Before you wonder, Tennant’s character’s the good guy who was hailed a “counterculture hero” for challenging what he saw as the profession’s heartless prison-hospital ethos of tranquilizers & electro-shock treatment.

9. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

Charles Darwin

Tennant might only voice the character of Darwin in this stop-motion effort from the creators of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, but his true character shines through as the haplessly smitten young scientist, who tricks a group of pirates into a quest from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

8. The Politician’s Husband (2013)

Aiden Hoynes

Tennant stars alongside Emily Watson in this mini-series about a marriage between two politicians, showing what happens when the wife’s career starts to overshadow her husband’s. As a not-so-convincing blonde, what is convincing is Tennant’s on-screen relationship with Watson’s character Freya. The series has proved so popular, it’s even getting its very own U.S. remake called Chemistry.

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Barty Crouch Jr.

Tennant’s role as the bad guy Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was so mightily good, some people claim he was the best villain in the series. We probably wouldn’t go that far (what about Voldemort?), but he was still pretty damn dastardly.

6. Glorious 39 (2009)

Hector

This British war thriller written & directed by Stephen Poliakoff is set in 1939 (hence the name, duh), focusing on an adopted daughter of a privileged British politician who uncovers a family secret in the weeks leading up to World War II. Tennant offers a dashingly brilliant performance as Hector Haldane – a Scottish member of Parliament who is extremely outspoken against the British government’s attempts to appease Germany in the hopes of averting an inevitable war.

5. Fright Night (2011)

Peter Vincent

In this remake of the 1985 horror classic, Tennant showed off his range as an actor by fulfilling the role of the eccentric & gothic vampire hunter Peter Vincent, who’s called upon to help a high-school teen (Anton Yelchin) overthrow his rather suspicious new neighbor.

4. Gracepoint (2014)

Detective Emmett Carver

Although some fans slammed Tennant for his American accent in the Broadchurch remake, the actor shrugged of the criticism, stating, “I think doing different accents is part of the job really.” No shit. Also, he did a standup job of playing detective Emmett Carver – the man brought in to a small Californian seaside town to investigate the death of a young boy.

3. Broadchurch (2013 – 2017)

D.I. Alec Hardy

While we’re on the topic of Gracepoint, Broadchurch is the British counterpart, telling more or less the same story (although it ran for a full three seasons, rather than just the one). Tennant’s performance as the crime-busting D.I. Alec Hardy is one of his best to date, with both his and Olivia Colman’s on-screen determination in their fight for justice reaffirming our faith in humanity.

2. Jessica Jones (2015 – )

Kilgrave

Tennant has always avoided type-casting thanks to an eclectic range of roles, which culminated with his mind-blowing performance as Kilgrave – the terrifying villain of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. While it’s been over two years since the show first landed on Netflix, season two is officially on its way to tell the story of Jessica (Krysten Ritter) rebuilding her life as a private investigator. The question now is, will Tennant be returning as Kilgrave?

1. Doctor Who (2005 – )

The Doctor (2005 – 2010)

Obviously Tennant’s portrayal of sci-fi’s most iconic character had to take top spot, and while he may have left the show over eight years ago, his performance as the Tenth Doctor lives on in our hearts.

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Daisy Webb is an outspoken, opinionated writer with a passion for all things horror and cult comedy. When she's not watching films, she likes listening to music, cooking too much food, and writing short stories with unhappy endings.

daisyp@filmdaily.co