OT: Observations on the SD with #DavidTennant

Confession: I don’t have any side dishes, collateral attractions or ‘guilty pleasures’ besides my one and only crush. I’m not a Whovian, either, but if I had to pick a favourite Doctor, it would probably be number 10. There’s something about David Tennant – apart from the delicious Scottish accent (check out this *fantastic* audio drama played by Tennant and Emilia Fox – I’ve heard it a couple of times and it is brilliant!) and the fabulous acting (I loved him in Much ado about nothing) – he came across as such a genuine, *NICE* bloke in WDYTYA. If you haven’t seen that yet – here are a few clips from that show.

In any case – I think Tennant is a noteworthy actor, and when I realised that he was on stage in London during my business trip, I immediately bought tickets to the show. The tagline on the show’s poster does not lie: Don Juan in Soho is the raunchiest, naughtiest play I have ever seen on stage. But boy, is it good, and funny, and fast-paced. And Tennant is just brilliant in the lead role – arrogant and abrasive, cajoling and compelling, you just want to be adored by Don Juan, even though you know he will spit you out the moment he has had you. His speech for hedonism as an expression of self, and his rant against social media, are almost sociocritical, and the little jibes against Trump were welcomed by the audience with much laughter and applause. The whole role – even though a comedy – takes guts, I think. Using that language (including the C word), engaging in some rather ‘lewd’ acts on stage, plus some of the politically controversial lines – not everyone can pull that off, but Tennant really did.So, anyway, Guylty Pleasure was in town (see above) and watched Don Juan together with Hariclea on Wednesday. And since we were there, we decided to check out the SD. A great opportunity for a seasoned SD-goer like myself to see the spectacle from the perspective of an uninvolved onlooker – and to compare the experience with the previous occasions when I waited at the SD for Richard Armitage. This is what went down:

Hariclea and I were in no great hurry to get to the back of Wyndham’s Theatre, so by the time we rocked up there, the fans had already gathered along the metal barriers outside the SD. It’s hard to say how many people were there – maybe 70? The mood was relaxed, yet excited. On the wall outside the theatre a few notices informed the fans that the actors were only going to sign material that was related to the show, i.e. tickets, posters or programmes from Don Juan. After waiting 5 or 10 minutes, one of the security guards came out and gave a little speech. He pointed out that David Tennant was hosting some guests post-show in the theatre, so there was a) no guarantee that he would come out to sign, and b) if he did, they did not know *when* he would come out. However, he promised he would keep us informed so that we would not have to wait unnecessarily. Then he asked people to be considerate and friendly. David would sign one piece for people, or take a picture. “You are all here for the same reason, so please move out of the way once you have received your autograph, so that those behind you have a chance to get their autograph/picture, too.” I really appreciated that little speech from the security – just because it set the tone for the whole occasion, and because it not only laid down the rules but also took the fans seriously. Rather than making us feel like a nuisance, it reacted to the fact that fans by and large gather at the SD to show their interest and appreciation – something that is to be seen as a gift, not a threat.

Some of the younger cast members came out and left quickly, then Gawn Grainger, who plays Don Juan’s father. He sweetly took his time to chat with fans and sign autographs. Adrian Scarborough, who plays Don Juan’s sidekick Stan, was out next. Standing right at the back of the crowd – as a mere onlooker I didn’t want to take away the space for the *true* fans – I could hardly see him. But he signed his way from my corner of the assembled crowd back to the SD, and posed for pictures with fans. David Tennant’s arrival was announced by much cheering and whooping from the crowd, and he again made his way to the far corner of the assembled crowd, immediately launching into signing and posing for pics. At 1.85m (6’1″) he rose above the crowd, and I was able to get a few pics of him on my phone.

Again, Tennant also signed his way back to the SD, and from the metadata on my pictures I can say that the whole procedure took about 6 or 7 minutes. Once he went back inside the theatre, the crowd dispelled quickly and Hariclea and I took a nightcap in an adjoining pub.

The following night I spontaneously repeated the experience because to my surprise I had found out that our fellow fan Judit was in town and had tickets for Don Juan on Thursday. So I met her after the play, and we joined the SD once again. The procedure was much the same as the previous night, with roughly the same number of people in attendance, I think. This time there was no speech prior to the SD proceedings. However, there was a little bonus appearance – gorgeous “Capt. Jack Harkness” from Torchwood had been to see the play and visited DT afterwards.

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He came out the SD and briefly joked with the crowd before heading off into the night. (I totally love Barrowman, btw. There’s a celeb who *loves* interacting with people, you can tell, and who has no fear of touching and being touched.) And then it was actually Tennant who showed up (no Adrian Scarborough) and proceeded to sign and pose as he had done the night before. I think he took a bit longer that night, yet of course there was a big sigh of disappointment once he turned to go back inside. Judit did not get to see much of Tennant as we were at the back once again. But I held up my phone again and caught this:

There was an amazing buzz of energy about Tennant, I thought. Something very energetic and lively, almost hyperactive. (Although that might be a normal reaction after just having been on stage and presumably still surfing high on adrenaline). He smiled and posed and said thank you and smiled brightly again, moving along the long line of his fans. Occasionally I could hear his voice (although not what he said), he was bending down to smile into cameraphone, and to me it looked as if he was doing his best to give his fans what they desired. It’s hard to describe, but I felt a positive, cooperative vibe from him, which I think is also evident in the pictures – in the way he inclines his head to hear his fans, the way he bends down to pose for pictures, and in the smiles that look genuine, not forced.

So, two non-fangirling SDs under my belt, and what an interesting experience. It was quite different from how I previously experienced the SD. As my regular readers know, I have been to a few of them when Richard Armitage played Proctor in The Old Vic’s The Crucible, and I had the pleasure of seeing Love Love Love in New York last year. I really enjoyed the David Tennant SD experience – possibly more so than the Armitage SD. For one simple reason: I was uninvested. It didn’t matter to me whether I was going to get a signature or a photo; I could relax and just observe, no mad heartbeat because *OMGmycrush* *he is there* *gasp* *he looks sooooo gooooood* *OMGILoveHim*… Really, the SD is not good for a fangirl’s heart. With RA, I never really feel like saying anything (beyond a polite “You were great in this. Please sign here.”), and I tend to be so nervous, I can’t even look the man in the eye. Much like a 15-year-old school girl meeting her crush. Thinking about this, it makes me wonder why I am putting myself through this *at all*… OTOH there *have* been a couple of RA SDs where I stood back and observed rather than take part, and those were quite enjoyable, too, because I had given up on the expectation of getting an autograph or a word out of the man. So the conclusion may simply be, to change my SD mode to background ogling lurking rather than seeking interaction. It seems much easier to get a *look* in, than an autograph…

And there may be also a difference in how these two actors, for whom I have queued at the SD, “perform” at such occasions. I don’t mean this as a value judgment, but it seems to me that Richard is a rather more reluctant SD participant than Tennant, flummoxed at the attention directed at him, and unwilling/unable/too humble (??) to receive the “gift” of goodwill from his fans? I don’t know whether Tennant *thrives* on the SD encounter with his fans, but to me it looked as if he was able to take the SD not just as something where he is *giving* to his fans, but also as an opportunity to recharge his own batteries with the admiration and positive feedback offered to him there. I can’t deny that what comes across to me as Richard’s “SD reluctance”, makes me sometimes feel slightly guilty about waiting at the SD. As in: by being there, I am adding pressure on him to put on an SD show that he doesn’t really enjoy. I certainly react to what I perceive (which may actually something different than what other fans perceive), and that has an effect on my enjoyment of the SD… in Tennant’s case it was unreservedly positive.

So, overall, a really nice 6 minutes, even if we had to wait at least twice as long for that conclusion. But Tennant is worth the accolades, the attention and the wait. A great actor – and a pretty cool bloke, too. I think I will have to catch up with his back catalogue now.

PS: No worries, Richard is still #1, though 😉

 

 

116 thoughts on “OT: Observations on the SD with #DavidTennant

  1. Interesting report, thanks. This is a play I’d have gone to see even w/o Tennant, after suffering through Don Juan Tenorio in Spanish Lit II in college. So now I’ll tell you what I thought after reading your “letter to RA” — if he’s a Jungian “I” (MBTI) he doesn’t get energy from interacting with people. People are an energy suck for the “I”. I try to avoid talking about this too much publicly because I don’t think it’s possible for third parties to type — anything methodical about the MBTI is gained primarily by the subject describing his/her own experiences and responses, and because a professional MBTI typing is something really different from these twelve question quizzes people take on the web — but I think a lot of us who find this topic interesting have long suspected he’s an “I” and not an “E” (people who gain energy from interactions with others). I also don’t think it’s really possible to learn to be an “E”. One can simulate extraversion for a certain amount of time but it doesn’t change the basic problem that people are a source of entropy.

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    • I have to confess here that I am rather ignorant about these personality typing things. (I’ll read up on it, though – a gap in my knowledge.) However, what you are saying makes sense. Third party typing is never accurate *without* the input of the “typed” person. No matter whether he’s I or E (which at this stage still means very little to me), my impression is the same as yours – RA doesn’t take energy from the interaction with the crowd. At least not at the SD. As a theatre performer, he probably *does* take energy from the curtain call – but that is almost a pre-meditated ritual and much less immediate than any fan-celeb encounter at the SD or along the red carpet. As a fan and SD participant, one would hope that one’s presence is seen as a gift… but well, it can’t be forced…

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      • I think it’s like any system for pattern recognition; it’s useful as a complex system for larger scale insights, when it gets dumbed down and then turns into an ideology it’s a problem. I’ve found it useful in explaining some of my behaviors but not others. That said — an interaction with someone standing right in front of one asking for something is not at all the same for an “I” as standing in front of an audience performing or acknowledging applause. (there’s a lot of popular confusion about what intraversion is — it doesn’t mean shyness). I think for a lot of performers, the applause is beside the point.

        I think a lot of fandom involves giving a “gift” that the putative recipient might not want if asked. However, I don’t see myself as going to the stage door to give anything to him. (I wouldn’t think that even in the case of someone like Tennant who really enjoys it.) If he gets something from my presence at the stage door, that is a positive externality, but my presence there is more about my needs / hopes / interests.

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        • I think that is pretty much accepted – whether one believes in the whole Myers-Briggs categorisation or not: Interaction with others is totally different for introverts and for extroverts. Heck, interaction with others even differs for extroverts, on the basis of their particular state of mind on a given day. But yes, I can see how it is useful to understand how other people’s minds work. Just because *I* thrive on interacting with others, it doesn’t mean that everyone does. Or that those who don’t, are some how not normal.
          As for going to the SD as a “gift” – I suppose that is open to individual interpretation. Apart from satisfying my own curiosity, I certainly mean my SD attendance as a sign of appreciation. I don’t do this for many actors. I even have to overcome a certain amount of reluctance to be there. In that sense, it is a concession on my part. At the same time, I don’t really believe that the actor gets anything from *my* particular presence there. They don’t know me, and there is never any time/opportunity to make the individual encounter meaningful beyond the selfie and the autograph request. It’s the added up numbers, that possibly make it meaningful. Or – if you believe in such a thing – the general atmosphere of energy (and dare I say it, “love”…) that could be seen as a meaningful gift.

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          • I can’t compare effectively because Armitage is the only person I would stand in a SD line for, period, but it’s really hard for me to see it as a gift if (a) it’s something the recipient is potentially unenthused about and (b) I’m making a request — autograph or whatever — when I’m standing in line. (I think the rhetorical danger in this conversation lies in making assumptions about what he’s thinking or feeling about fans based on his behavior in a very abbreviated encounter, hence my use of the word “potentially.”) I don’t think Armitage is otherwise unaware that he is enthusiastically loved by fans; he doesn’t need the stage door for that. Further, I don’t think it’s a given that the general atmosphere in that setting is one of “love.” I think that’s one mood. But it’s also a place of very high anxiety and frequent disappointment, which has been easy to observe at the SDs I have been present at.

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            • So would you assume that generally, attendance at a SD is only a self-serving activity? (Not trying to be contrary, but am genuinely interested in your thoughts on this.) There certainly *is* a self-serving element to it – as in “I want to satisfy my need to see the actor in the flesh/to have the chance to speak to him”. However, people go there to express their admiration, to say thank you, to compliment, and to hand over gifts. Or would you consider those things mere “excuses” to mask the self-serving needs? (Again, genuinely asked and without any intention to be contrary!)
              One of the reasons why I feel no interest in getting autographs, handing over presents – and least in getting a selfie – is precisely the “potential non-enthusiasm” of the recipient that you mentioned. Yet I have stood there and asked for an autograph, consciously overcoming my reluctance to *ask for something* because autograph requests seem the only legitimate opportunity to also get the chance of actually paying him a compliment. It’s a bit of a conundrum – whose needs do I put first? My wish to express my thanks and admiration? Or the actor’s discomfort at being complimented? (Rhetorical question.)
              Anxiety and disappointment – yes, true. Although that seems to be more a reaction to the occasion than the man, whereas love is purely reserved for the man and not a reaction to the occasion?!

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              • I don’t think gift giving is necessarily altruistic. It can be partially so, although even altruistic action responds to a deep need of the self that is about display of how one “is” and how one is seen to be. Gift giving is also (and in many cases primarily) a very deep expression of the self, and an anthropologist would tell you it is inherently a transaction with particular rules. Of course one can give someone gifts they don’t want, and we have all received these; as a gift giver I hope I try to think about what the recipient might want, although I also want it to be memorable in some way that connects the gift and the recipient’s reaction to me. So certainly any gift I give anyone is “all about me.” I think much of fan gift-giving responds to some notion of reciprocity held by the fan by not necessarily desired or shared by Armitage.

                But it is a gift to someone to express admiration for them to their face if they don’t want to be admired in that way? I guess I’m troubled by the idea that one confronts the recipient with a gift he potentially doesn’t want, and then expresses frustration because he doesn’t have the reaction one wanted him to have. This situation was the source of all of the frustration after that interview in which Armitage said he wasn’t troubled if a fan was more “bothered” about the selfie (or however he put that); he broke the vision of reciprocity by admitting that he didn’t see things the way some fans wanted them to be seen. If we knew what Armitage wanted most as appreciation for his work (something he’s said several times) was a donation to a charity or an act of kindness to third parties, would we respect that and stop trying to express our gratitude in ways that fulfilled our needs equally? Obviously we don’t, because the point of the kind of gift-giving that goes on at the SD (gifts, compliments, etc.) is something about getting our needs met.

                re: what is the source / target of emotions at the SD: If we take what people say after having been disappointed by Armitage seriously, then it is also reaction to the man: will he notice me? will I have the experience I want to have with him? It’s not rare that one sees a fan who doesn’t get what she wants / expects at the stage door separate from the fandom at that point, i.e., imo the reason anyone doesn’t get noticed at a stage door isn’t related to his personal responsibility to acknowledge everyone in the way they want to be, but the response (I’m not your fan any more) is certainly directed at him.

                (It’s much easier for me to think of SDs as a gift he gives us.)

                The first time I went to the SD, it was definitely about my needs, although I wasn’t able to formulate them very clearly, and they were largely outbalanced by my fears. Since then, although my needs are less intensive and my fear has abated entirely, it’s still about my needs and my curiosity — to catch a glimpse of him, to see what is going on, to observe the atmosphere.

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                • There is definitely truth in that – gift-giving does include a self-serving element, although I personally would not go as far to say that it is *all* about the giver. But you are raising a really interesting point here when it comes to the actual gift neither being wanted nor being appreciated. In that sense the anxiety and frustration at the SD then is, like you said, also a reaction to the man… Those were interesting thoughts, thanks for clearing that up!
                  And I agree with the thought that the SD is a gift given to us.

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      • One more comment about it and then I’ll shut up 🙂 The major utility to me has been in realizing that some of my deepest inclinations and reactions are deeply rooted in my personality. That doesn’t change reality: I still have to have those interactions when necessary, I still have to fulfill my obligations. But it’s helped me to realize that these things are not huge character flaws, allowed me to come with strategies for dealing with difficulties that focus on behaviors rather than feelings, allowed me to ask “what am I seeking to accomplish here,” and allow me to realize when I’m just overwhelmed with a situation and accept that. If he is a Jungian introvert, he may never love the SD experience or gain energy from it, but if he decides to continue appearing at SDs, he has hopefully found or will find ways to address it. Many people who experience this type of introversion learn to perform extroversion for periods of time for professional reasons, or in order to fulfill the needs of others; but in that case, it’s often the need to fulfill perceived obligations, please others, or return thanks for their enthusiasm that motivate, rather than intrinsic benefits to the self. That strategy is going to work with varying effectiveness depending on context, of course.

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        • Hey, you are welcome to enlighten me about this topic 😊!
          What you are saying is what I took from it, too. Actually, now that I think about it, I seem to remember that I once had to do that test myself. Working for a large US corporation, the whole team was put through the test, in order to identify our strengths. I duly forgot my results, of course, except I remember that I was somebody who thrives on supporting and sharing (or something like that). I also remember that I was weirdly disappointed by that, because I had wanted a snazzy result that proved I was a deep thinker (because that is something I admire in others…). However, like you say, the categorisation helps to understand how we tick. In that sense, it has also helped me understand others – and to accept that emotional intelligence is as valuable as knowledge-based intelligence, for instance.
          As for learning to be ‘other’ – sounds to me as if that is either very difficult or doomed to fail. The lack of intrinsic value will always work against any effort.

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  2. Oh, and I agree that it was smart of the security person to say those things. It never hurts that people have a reminder that there are others who have made the same journey for the same reason and hope for the same result.

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    • People will always do whatever they want to do. But most of the time, when a little reminder of the rules is given at the beginning, people are more mindful of others. I found the crowd quite appreciative of the little speech by the (Irish!) security guard. I think everybody was happy to be reminded of courtesy and restraint.

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  3. Thank you! I had expected no less and you seem to have similar sd impressions re David Tennant! I was there in April after a hilarious performance listening to the same speech of the security staff who even received some encores from the queueing crowd. 😉 Tennant has often said in interviews that his credo towards others/ fans is “Be nice” – and he is! He appears to be quite relaxed and in a good mood with his fans. Maybe it’s his kind of routine to deal with the circumstances? If so it’s very agreeable for those waiting! I liked the atmosphere although there were really many people waiting and there was at least one male autograph hunter who tried to trick the others (in vain). 😉
    Actors are different. Some don’t ever do stagedoors at all, some reluctantly. I guess I’d queue for RA again next time. Out of curiosity. I think the London Crucible sd and the New York LLLplay sd were completely different, both from the theatres’ and Richard Armitage’s approach.
    And I’ll certainly try to see another David Tennant play! He’s a brilliant stage actor!
    Glad you enjoyed your experience together with fellow RAddicts and thanks for your insightful thoughts!

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    • I really think that the little speech by security is a great strategy. It reminds everybody to be nice, and I think it also calms the crowd down somewhat. To me it felt as if they acknowledged the fans with the speech. At previous SDs (particularly the ones in NY), I always felt that security was mainly suspicious of the crowd – prejudging us. I really resented that.
      SD behaviour and attitude towards fans is becoming increasingly important to me when I am looking at actors. It really irks me when fans are seen as a “necessary evil” – there was none of that with DT, though. At the same time I completely accept that an SD is not an obligation, but a volunteered gift by the actor to his fans. But as I said, I wish that the actors in question also saw the attendance of fans at the SD as a volunteered gift, too. I’m not queueing up for *everybody*, so it’s a sign of appreciation on my part, too…
      Anyway, sure, I probably would queue at an SD for RA again, too. But maybe I would keep in the background more, seeing that I am not keen on autographs anyway.
      As for the LLL and TC SDs – yes, different in terms of security’s approach, but also different in terms of RA’s attitude, too. I have the impression that his attitude changed with the TC SD. Looking back, he was extraordinarily generous with his time there. I don’t think that will ever happen again…

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      • wow, I have to say I did *not* feel judgment from security at all in NYC (where the guards were great, and particularly friendly to the “regulars”) and only slightly in London.

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        • That just goes to show that everything is subjective. I remember trying to have a friendly conversation with one of the security guys, which he totally blocked by hardly even answering my question. The security was professional and efficient – but I did not find them friendly at all. Which made me feel small and embarrassed.

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          • By about the third time I was there, they recognized me, so there was some joking involved. At one point I said, “what are you looking for in my bag?” and one of them said, “we’re not allowed to divulge that information, ma’am” and I smirked and he smirked back at me.

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            • Sounds quite nice. Maybe I wasn’t there often enough to befriend them 😉
              (They were probably looking for gifts of chocolate and sweets which they are under instruction to keep away from Mr A…)

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      • oh i think West End theatres are very old hands at SDs 🙂 Everyone has been through them, there are always people waiting at one or another,always fans , always autograph hunters.. they’ve seen and experienced it all before and the security chaps dealing with them tend to be the experienced ones too.
        They know what they are doing and i think chatting to the crowd and making announcements is best strategy as it reminds everyone about the rules of the game. It also clears expectations: how long to wait, why he/she might be delayed, what will happen once out. The more detailed the communication and the friendlier security and better organisation, the better the whole thing will go.

        But yeah i got a better sense these last few years what is what in the WE. It’s the place where people cue from 6am or overnight to see stuff :-)) And that is run of the mill occurrence, so SD is nothing new to them. Love and attention and dedication to actors and works is what sells the seats, so benefits everyone:-)

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  4. I just want to add that there were huge differences between my RA SD experiences. When I met him in the beginning of the Crucible run he didn’t seem reluctant at all and he seemed to genuinely enjoy interacting with the fans. It seemed to me that he was glad to be doing SD as it kind of helped him get away from Proctor’s “headspace”. Of course he gives out a much calmer vibe than Tennant, but I never felt for one moment the fans were a nuisance to him. At the end of the run things got really out of hand and on the last evening he looked almost shell shocked – mind you I was really worried for his safety then! The L3 SD experiences were very different too. First night I saw the play,he seemed sad, down and withdrawn at SD, only two days later he was much chirpier, relaxed and was interacting with the fans more. I don’t know why he stopped doing SD towards the end of L3, and I don’t want to speculate. But I know that I will cherish my little “chat” with him at 28th June Crucible SD forever.

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    • I take your word for it, Judit. (I only experienced the SD one third into the run of TC, and by that time, a routine had been established. And that didn’t include chats with fans.) I find your impression interesting that the SD helped him to leave Proctor behind for the evening. “Earth to Armitage, Earth to Armitage: Time to forget Proctor and be yourself!”
      The SD remains a slightly mysterious thing – at least when looking at it with RA in mind. Well, maybe he just likes to keep us on our toes. “Will he be there, will he not? In a good mood, or withdrawn?” Certainly has given us much material for discussing…

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      • He was definitely “present” on the particular day when I gave him my presents, not only in body but in spirit as well. You only have to look at my expression on my FB avi pic to see how happy our little interaction made me. I do realise that I was very lucky and I do know sometimes his heart isn’t in it, all I’m saying is that it’s not always the case. After all, he’s a self-confessed “moody person”…So he can be up and he can be down…

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        • Attitudes to the SD most definitely will be differing depending on the day that’s in it, too. Fair enough, we all have good days and bad days, even if we’re not moody 😉

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  5. I saw David Tennant perform Richard II in New York last year (and saw him again at a comic con). What a fantastic event. I saw the entire Henriad– four plays back to back, Thu-Sat. I did go to the stage door, as well, and the crowd was much smaller than ones in England, and rather polite. He was very gracious and spoke to everyone there. I got his autograph, as well as most of the cast, including the marvelous Oliver Ford Davies, the fabulous Jane Lapotaire, and the incredible Antony Sher, and I got a photo with Jasper Britton.

    There is a SAG-Aftra youtube video of a fantastic conversation with DT talking about his stage career (as well as tv shows like Doctor Who). It’s delightful! You should check it out. There is also a BAFTA one that is still good, but the interviewer was not as good. DT is hugely entertaining just being himself.

    Anyway, David talks about how when he was a drama student he and his mates went to see Richard II with Derek Jacobi and they waited at the stage door to get DJ’s autograph. He also got Tom Baker’s, if I remember right. I may be wrong; but he has talked about how, as a child, he was a massive fan of Tom Baker and Doctor Who. In any event, he has said that, as a fan, he understands what it is like and he strives to give his fans what they want–to a fault, really. He is very generous to his fans.

    At the comic con, he stayed so late trying to give everyone autographs, that he missed his flight out. He really does seem to go out of his way to please the fans.

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    • Thank you for your comment Sally! I’m loving these insights (from fan POV) about another actor. (I am such a one-trick pony; I know very little about other fandoms.) I have located the SAG Aftra interview and I am bookmarking that here to watch at a later stage. (1.5 hours of quality Scots accent – lovely, looking forward to that!)

      Very interesting remarks re. his own experience of fandom – and hence his own attitude towards fans. I have to say, it really warms me even more towards him.

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      • ah i know which one, the one he did on his bday in NY while doing Rii was really funny 🙂 From my experience i’d say he is very ‘energetic’ always, at 9am and at 9pm. Lucky disposition 🙂 And he’s chatty in interviews which always helps. Didn’t know those early fan experiences of his! I think it definitely helps understanding the POV or expectations people come from. Also that as the Dr he would have had to deal with many very young fans, kids, i guess that also helps shape how you approach the experience.

        As with others i much prefer listening, preferably live ;-))) to their interviews! I can listen to him talk about his plays for hours. Wish they had recorded that Rii talk 🙂
        ah another anecdote! Have a friend who worked for the Dr Who production and she said he was the only one who used to pop into the actual office to say hello to everyone 🙂 sweet!

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    • Glad you enjoyed my outsider’s POV on your favourite actor. I decided to write about it in more detail because I myself always enjoy reading what non-Armitage fans have to say about him.

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  6. Great read! My immediate thought was introvert (RA) in contrast with an extrovert (DT) from my simplistic pov. I’m not a Whovian either, but I like Tennant, that irresistable grin and the Scottish accent are very appealing. I loved Much Ado About Nothing, and had Love Virtually (YouTube version) saved, still unheard – now I have the audio link I will put that on my to-do list for the weekend. Thanks! 🙂

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    • I’m not even sure whether RA is an introvert. I personally don’t think so, but as I said to Serv – I don’t know anything about these categorisations or the tests and their reliability. But there is no doubt that RA has a different attitude to the SD than DT. And that is no value judgment, just a statement (from my POV. Who knows, maybe he *looooves* it, he just can’t show it…)
      When you have listened to the audio drama, tell us what you thought of it. I think it is really, really good. Both in terms of the play/plot, as well as the acting by Tennant and Fox. There is also a sequel to it, btw. You can find it here: http://tennantnews.blogspot.ie/2013/02/download-david-tennant-in-every-seventh.html

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      • This is the other part of why I don’t talk about it; every time I have tried to discuss “I” introversion in the past in the fandom, it’s been a disaster, because people don’t want to accept even provisionally how the MBTI defines it as meaningful. And of course, I’m not him, so I can’t answer the questions for him. He displays several typical MBTI “I” behaviors, though, and an “I” stack includes one of the most successful actor types.

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        • I think what you wrote in your initial comment (“anything methodical about the MBTI is gained primarily by the subject describing his/her own experiences and responses”) says it all. In the absence of his own voiced opinion, we are only speculating.

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          • yes, but we can’t even speculate productively if we can’t agree on a definition. In the other case, we’re just talking about different things. I don’t think, for instance, that he’s an introvert in the conventional sense at all; I understand what people mean when they say “ambivert,” but that’s not what I’m trying to analyze by talking about the MBTI “I”. So I’ve learned I should just shut up about it. 🙂

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            • The whole issue is complicated by the fact that we are discussing this in writing, on a blog. It might be easier to talk about face-to-face.
              Hehe, have to look up ‘ambivert’ now.

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  7. Being a Scot myself I really enjoy David Tennant although he will never replace RA!! 😉 I really liked
    him in Broadchurch (the British version naturally) and got a real kick out of hearing him yell, ” M-I-L-L-A-R!!!” and that cheeky grin of his. BTW, for those who think all Scots speak with a Glasgow accent (like DT) I can assure you that’s not the case. I have many friends who hail from that area and it always intrigues me how they don’t seem to lose their accents even after living here for decades. Not sure why that is.

    I found the WDYTYA clips truly interesting. I have experienced first hand the Celtic/Rangers football clubs “divide” although nowadays I think it is less rigid – at least regarding who plays for them – but probably not their supporters!! I wish they had delved into other parts of his family tree.

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    • I have (in-law) relatives from Glasgow, and even within Glasgow there seem to be differences of accent…
      I really loved that episode of WDYTYA – no wonder, as it took Tennant to Ireland 😉. (I don’t remember the Celtic/Rangers divide from that episode though – I only remember the Derry City football bit. Not sure whether it is in the clips that I linked to, but what very much endeared DT to me, was the fact that he was so open about his disappointment/irritation with some of the sectarian activities of his Northern Irish ancestors. He came across as really nice and normal – and his visit with his parents was so sweet…)

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  8. I really enjoyed the different impressions of RA and DT at their respective stage doors. I got the impression that RA was not all that thrilled to see us (fans) in NY or London. He was very polite and dutiful, but I don’t think his heart was in it. I am not complaining, I am grateful he makes himself available. Just an observation. And he did seem engaged when confronted with the possibility of a medal.

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    • That’s it. He was present in body – but not with his heart. There is no way that anyone could ever be forced to put their heart into something, but again – without meaning this to be a criticism – that is of course disappointing for fans. So yeah, I guess he is to be commended even more for doing the SD *despite* his reservations. He definitely needs that medal!!! (Gee, damn, where the hell have I put it? I have to take it out, polish it and make sure he gets it at the next opportunity…)

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  9. Thanks for your insightful assessment and comparison of the different stage door experiences. So many wonderful things to comment on in this essay—I will stick with David Tennant to start.

    I hope I all your UK readers laugh their asses off when I announce that the only role I’ve ever seen David Tennant perform is a tiny cameo in a hysterically funny series called “Posh Nosh” that I discovered on YouTube late one night. With the brilliant Richard E. Grant playing an obviously gay, snobby toff and Arabella Weir as his oblivious wife, the show seems to be a total send-up of both foodies and the British class system. Sidebar: Can someone please explain how the series fits into the cultural history of Great Britain?

    David Tennant plays Grant’s “tennis instructor.” Right. Real question: Can someone recommend a more typical production featuring David Tennant as my introduction to his career? What should I watch next?

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    • There’s a wide range. Starting with his very early “Casanova” (there are clips on yt) which was his recommendation to “Dr. Who” (I’m no whovian but the chemistry between DT and Billie Piper and Catherine is fantastic) over “Blackpool” (a light-hearted musical crime thriller) to his more recent productions of which I especially love Broadchurch (not the US equivalent Gracepoint in which he stars too) or The escape artist. He did lots of different things and I absolutely recommend his Shakespeare plays: there are dvds of his extraordinary Hamlet and Richard Ii and the hilarious Much ado about nothing (I love it! DtT + Catherine Tate=wonderful!) is available via Digital theatre.
      Of course he was also part of the Harry Potter Universe playing Barty Crouch jr. in HP and the goblet of fire.
      Finally I would recommend a nother series made for tv about 1p years ago: in Recovery he struggles with the effects of a brain injury caused by an accident. Brilliantly played!
      Recently he entered the Marvel universe playing the villain Kilgrave in the netflix series Jessica Jones – which he did very convincing imo.
      So have a look at him – he’s worth it! 😉
      I never thought I’d praise anyone that much. Lol.

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      • Casanova wasn’t all that early–2005. The year before he started Doctor Who (which you should check out).
        You want to go early, I’d recommend 1994’s Takin’ Over the Asylum. DT plays a 19 y/o psychiatric patient with bipolar disorder and it’s a fantastic 6-episode series. Dramedy. It won a BAFTA.
        If you are in the US, his Hamlet is on PBS. org. Patrick Stewart plays Claudius. It’s fantastic. I would highly recommend that.
        Broadchurch. The series finale is about to begin in the US on BBCA. If you start now, you can binge watch the first two seasons. Eight episodes each. Won numerous awards.
        Marvel’s Jessica Jones is on Netflix. Suer-powered evil but oddly charming villain. Another amazing performance. Show won a Peabody Award.
        Blackpool, musical murder mystery love story. One of my faves. Won a BAFTA.
        What We Did on our Holiday was On Demand. It’s a partially improvised family dramedy with Billy Connolly and Rosamund Pike.
        Einstein & Eddington is on HBO’s website. Excellent true story. He plays Eddington, an astrophysicist who helped develop Einstein’s theory of general relativity,
        Richard II is on DVD. It’s a wonderful production. His Richard is a wonder.
        Recovery is a phenomenal performance, but it’s never been made available. You have too look on daily motion, etc.
        United, another true story about the Manchester United plane crash. He plays the coach.
        The Escape Artist earned DT a BAFTA. It’s a crime thriller. He’s a lawyer.
        Decoy Bride is on Netflix. It’s a fluffy rom-com. Not my fave role of his, but it’s available.

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        • Wow. Thank you for that comprehensive list, Sally. There are a few things in that that sound really interesting. Broadchurch has long been on my list, but alas – it’s not available on Netflix in my territory. Maybe I’ll find some stuff in other places. (Or I will bite the bullet and fork out for it.) I’d definitely like to see more of his stage work because I really thought he was great in Much Ado and in Don Juan.

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        • May I add the 4part tv series ‘Single father’ to your list (with Suranne Jones and Rupert Friend)? I like it very much, especially as they – and above all he – manage to keep it from being cheesy!
          DT is so versatile! I am very curious to see his latest indie movie “Mad to be normal”, a small production about the much praised and critizised Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Lang. I watched the way it’s been distributed through limited cinematic performances throughout thd UK and some film festivals earlier this year. In the meantime his lead performance and the film itself have been highly acknowledged by critics, including a smaller award.
          The way this (‘niche?’) production took its way to distribution impresses me even more when I compare it with Richard Armitage’s recent indies. And I especially think of the ‘Urban and the shedcrew’ movie which seems sadly to be left in a drawer…
          You shouldn’t compare that much, although I cannot always resist from doing so. I loved DT’s attitude at the stagedoor and I really felt that I wasn’t welcome at NY’s LLL stagedoor – which I don’t blame RA for. It was the whole atmosphere that made me feel odd and I think it was a result of the theatre’s attitude.
          Let’s see what comes next for RA – if there’s another stage production I’ll certainly try to see him/it live!

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          • That list of DT’s work is really intriguing. I must look into some more of his work. I spent some time this afternoon listening to his SAG Aftra talk – very entertaining speaker. Endearing, actually.
            And you are right – comparisons are never fair. These are two completely different personalities; *of course* their participation at the SD differs. And overall, I am quite grateful for RA’s obvious desire to satisfy his fans’ wishes to see him. LLL’s SD was strange in many ways, sometimes really busy, other evenings so quiet. Not sure whose fault that is.

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      • I got stuck in Much Ado yesterday again, as I was writing my post. I totally loved that. DT is great as a comic actor.
        Broadchurch is something I really really want to watch, but I haven’t found it on Netflix yet. Not available in Ireland *meh*

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      • I second all those, would start with Casanova and then Broadchurch and the Escape Artist in terms of TV and Hamlet and Richard II in terms of theatre. And then anything else from there, he’s done a lot of radio drama too which is well worth listening to.

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    • As I mentioned above – Broadchurch, which you can watch on Netflix and be sure to watch the British Series not the US one which I admit I didn’t watch myself but my son did and didn’t think it was anything like as good. Not sure why as I think the cast was the same. He also appeared in The Politician’s Wife – another British series where he isn’t a likable character to say the least. Not sure where you would find it now but it was aired on TV here. I’m sure there are many others.

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        • Broadchurch really belongs to Olivia Colman. She and DT were a great double act, but Olivia and Jodie Whittaker in S1 are the heart and soul of the show. The music and the photography were magnificent, as well.

          (Gracepoint is fine if you don’t ever watch Broadchurch… I know a few people that preferred it; I am not one of them. DT was the only cast member that crossed. Had the same writer/exec producer and same directors for some episodes, so much of the script and many scenes are nearly identical)

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  10. Danke für den Hinweis auf das Hörspiel. Es hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Bisher kenne ich David Tennant kaum , aber weil ich eine (nicht unerhebliche) Schwäche für James McAvoy habe, erfreue ich mich mittlerweile sehr am schottischen Akzent. Hat gedauert, bis ich ihn gut verstehen konnte.
    Da ich vor einiger Zeit Torchwood entdeckt habe, teile ich deine Meinung über Capt. Jack Harkness – he is gorgeous!
    John Barrowman kann schon etwas überwältigend sein mit all seinem Temperament. Er und RA sind extrem unterschiedlich, wenn es um das Auftreten gegenüber Fans geht. 🙂

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    • Oh Barrowman kann man überhaupt GAR NICHT mit IRGENDJEMAND vergleichen 😄. Der ist eine Klasse für sich. (Den hatte ich allerdings auch nicht in meinem Text als Vergleich mit RA gemeint, sondern DT.) Ich habe eigentlich nicht viel von Torchwood gesehen, aber ich mag Barrowman einfach so. Meine Tochter hat seine Bücher gelesen – auch das hat mich für ihn eingenommen.

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  11. Your discussion of DT is a great read. I am enjoying vicariously because I had to move my London trip from May to later in the summer in order to take in both “Ferryman” and “Girl From the North Country”–which means that I had to miss “DJ in Soho”!!! I knew I was going to suffer a pang over that. What strikes me is the unexpected difference in numbers between New York and London. I don’t have a huge SD experience but in London when Scarlett Johansson was doing “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” there was nowhere near 70 people afterwards. And the same for Ben Whishaw in “The Crucible” (though maybe the fans knew by then that he hates to come out). Were the L3 crowds as big as 70 people? I’ve actually never gone to a SD where Ciarán wasn’t in the play, so I haven’t experienced the non-nervous aspect, but I can well imagine that it would be much easier to enjoy. The reason I don’t is that it costs me a lot to stay up that late, especially when jet lagged. Usually I am so tired that I head straight to bed 🙂

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    • Oh, I know the feeling. I was really disappointed that the run of Salomé at the National Theatre excluded exactly the week when I was in London. I would’ve really liked to see Yael Farber’s latest…
      The difference in SD numbers has occurred to me, too. Well, ok, in Armitage’s case I ascribed it to the fact that he is not really that well known. But there were a coupld of evenings in NY when there were only 20 people or so there. The Saturday performance of L3 I attended had a bigger crowd at the SD, but I don’t think it was as much as 70 people. London looked much bigger to me…
      After this nice experience of looking on at DT’s SD, I might do it again at a play that RA is not in. Well, that’s if the play was good 😉 Time-wise I don’t really mind. I’m a bit of a night-owl… 🦉

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      • Only one person has ever inspired me to stay up that late 🙂 Anyone else, I’m satisfied just to see the performance. Though I sometimes think a bit wistfully about seeing Alan Rickman and not having gone to the SD. He was special.

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  12. David Tennant looks likes he’s having so much fun! Lovely photos, as usual, S!
    I was having this discussion recently with a former Armitage fan. I’ve never been to a SD ever. When I was a flight attendant, I flew a few actors around the place. The Bollywood actors are a totally different kettle of fish, but the few Hollywood ones were very sweet to the fans they met.
    You know I’m not a fan of Mr Armitage, but I am involved in the fandom for plushie making reasons. The first time I observed him with fans was thing in the UK where he wore the same clothes for two days. My original Plushie Richie. I don’t remember what it was for. Anyway, he looked comfy interacting with the people there, genuine smiles and taking his time. As was the case during the first 2 Hobbit movies.
    Fast forward to LLL in NY. I saw the videos online. The fans wearing the love goggles saw him being sweet and kind etc. I didn’t see that. I saw forced smiles, lots of fakeness and a little bit of arrogance. I felt sorry for the fans who took the time, effort and money to see him. You could see the disappointment on their faces.
    I keep comparing him to people like Mads and Hugh who love interacting with their fans. Or take George Blagden and Alexander Vlahos from the tv series, Versailles. Earlier this year, they both did plays in London. Every night, they took the time to meet the fans, thank them, opened some of the pressies they brought them, took pix etc. They took to Twitter to thank the fans for coming and supporting them. And customised gifts were used and are still used, not autographed and handed over for auctions. I understand why people are fans of people like this who, apart from being fab actors, are also genuinely nice human beings.
    From what I have seen of your fella, I wonder how he has any fans, leave alone such loyal ones.

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    • 😂 Nancy – those pics are nothing to write home about! Grainy pics from iPhone. I hardly knew what I was photographing as I had to stretch up and hold the phone high in order to get some pics… Thank goodness the back of Wyndham’s Theatre is well-illuminated…
      But now to the point. As usual, you are turning the knife 😉. I’m just kidding – we have talked much about this before, and I see where you are coming from, occasionally I even agree with you, and yet – something keeps me enthralled by the man. And with that we are at your last paragraph. How come he has such loyal fans? Well, maybe his fans are also particularly tolerant? I will only speak for myself here, but despite my occasionally voiced criticism of him, I also make excuses for him. As in – I have formed an opinion of his character and while I don’t believe him to be an introvert, I do think he is not keen on the publicity (and publicity obligations) that come with being a star of big and small screen. He has, however, shown in the past that he is (was?) appreciative of the support given to him by the public, and there were many interviews in the past where he came across as a very likeable, nice and *normal* bloke. You could say I am living in the past, I suppose. And maybe that is true. But that interpretation of him is what I want or need to fuel my own fangirl demands. It goes without saying that no fan ever knows their favourite celeb *unless* they have actually had an extensive conversation with them. So I’m simply going by the picture I have conjured up myself – which can conveniently ignore the bits that I do not like…
      In any case, I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is a nice human being (like the majority of people) – who is just intensely private and thus not very good at dealing with the obligations of fame. Sure, I’d like him to be more openly engaging with his fans, or to acknowledge the support in the way that other actors do (like DT for instance), but well, when it comes down to it, I simply like his acting and his looks, and that’s enough to keep me watching for the moment.

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      • Yea, I know we’ve had this discussion over the months. You’re one of the 5 or 6 Armitage fans with whom I can actually have this sort of discussion without you insulting me ;D
        Maybe it’s unfortunate that when I became involved in the fandom, I only saw this side of him. Who knows. Having said that, I have seen a couple of recent interviews where he’s been a lot more relaxed. Most of the time he looks very serious.
        The others I have this discussion with essentially say the same thing, they will go wherever not to see him but because they genuinely like his acting.

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        • Why should I insult you? We differ in opinion, yet that doesn’t mean we are enemies. I do not take it personally that you are criticising my movie boyfriend. We all have our own POV. And I am actually quite interested in hearing the opinions of people who are not wearing ‘love goggles’. I think, as fans we are sometimes completely blind to reality, just because we have made up our mind a certain way and cannot see the wood for the trees anymore.
          As for his interview manner – I don’t really mind him being serious. Maybe that is what attracts me?! Some of his older stuff is very cheeky, silly, funny, though.

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        • Ditto 🙂 and we’ve had hereabout i think also the discussion about how social media i think has altered the interaction with fans generally. There are massive differences between 20mthings and 40somethings. Based on limited experience the one things which has always been very enjoyable for both parties i think are interviews with public and the like . Bit of physical distance but plenty of joint atmosphere and fun to be had. SDs are odd things and maybe because i’ve experienced equal amounts of people who thrive on them and enjoy them and those who don’t and don’t like the interaction on the street if you can call it that or are just not comfortable with it it doesn’t matter that much.
          To be fair to DT, he’s totally energetic and lovely BUT he doesn’t do social media at all and his opinion is not that far from the ones he expresses as the Don 😉 He neither understands nor likes it.
          Bottom line i get my kicks out of watching and listening to interviews and hearing and seeing them talk about their work where most people i follow to a greater or lesser degree become very similar. The more direct interaction just isn’t for everyone and i don’t mind as much. But i can see how people can be affected by it. Shrugs, it’s all about expectations and what people are comfortable with.

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          • I have to admit that the whole SD thing is a bit “I can take it or leave it” for me, too. Mind you, whenever there *was* the opportunity, I *did* do it. Not sure whether that proves my “take it or leave it”-attitude wrong. Especially as I am never looking for communication. Naturally, interviews are much richer (hehe) because there he actually *says* something.

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              • Well, when he is *himself* and not mute. As an actor, I always think he is best when he is acting with his body, not with speech. (Sounds back handed, but I mean that in the best possible way – he is convincing either way, but even better when he is using his body.)

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          • This popped back up on my radar as I checked the mail associated with this account. (ha!) and got caught back up in reading some of the comments. Thought I would respond to this one as the topic came up this week with Jodie Whittaker’s big news and the horrible response by some people.

            David Tennant used to participate on the Doctor Who websites, when he was just a fan. He was on as recently as shortly after he started in the role… but was turned off by how awful some of the fans were to him. He left, and as far as I know, never looked back. To me, that’s very sad. But he sees no reason to expose himself to that sort of treatment.

            He tries very hard to keep his personal and professional lives separate to the extent that you NEVER see him and his wife (also an actress) pose for photos together, never walk the red carpet together, etc. He seems to have opened up a little bit, telling a few stories about his kids, but it’s very rare.

            So, I don’t blame celebrities who shun social media or who are distraught when they are seen as sex objects and their serious work doesn’t seem to be appreciated for the effort and talent it requires. With social media, their privacy, and hence their enjoyment of life, is diminished.

            Thanks for the discussion! Not sure I ever said, when I hijacked the blog last month!

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            • Ah i didn’t know that about DT and websites but makes total sense to me as well as the privacy point. It seems the usual attitude round here i think. I pretty much agree with it too. This way the work stays hopefully in focus and not any private stuff

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  13. Oh ich beneide Euch!!! Es gibt nur wenige Schauspieler die ich wirklich gerne auf einer Bühne sehen würde, aber er gehört definitiv mit dazu! Und die Fotos sind schön, er macht einen unglaublich sympathischen Eindruck ❤ tolles Erlebnis für Euch!

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    • Für mich wurde DT erst deswegen aktuell, weil ich die Digital Theatre-Aufnahme von Much Ado einfach herausragend gut fand. Dass es sich jetzt auch um eine Komödie handelte, war wirklich ein Glücksgriff. Und die SD ein netter Bonus.

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  14. Interesting post — and discussion! Hope you don’t mind if I share some of my thoughts on the various threads, since I’m coming into it so late.
    I knew David Tennant from watching Dr. Who with my younger son. When “Jessica Jones” began showing on Netflix, I started watching because I like Krysten Ritter. I couldn’t imagine DT as the evil super-powered ex-love interest turned stalker. But wow! He was great! And I really love the “Jessica Jones” series, by the way. Not your typical superhero. She is deeply flawed with issues, but cool and bad-ass at the same time.
    I think most actors don’t think about the public activities that are also in the job description when they decide to become actors, so it’s a bonus if they enjoy stage-door or promotion.
    In terms of Meyers-Briggs and introversion, it has brought me a lot of insight into myself and others. I am an introvert by this definition. My alone-time is valuable to me in that it brings me energy. I find crowds draining, and at shopping malls I often feel like screaming (although I don’t!). My husband is a MB extrovert and is energized by being in a crowd of people, having music on at all times, singing loudly, laughing loudly, etc. He is an extrovert living with three introverts (by that definition), which can be difficult for all of us at times.
    Many of us (MB introverts) can learn to do OK in situations similar to stage door, but a MB extrovert will find it energizing, whereas a MB introvert will find it draining, especially after already being drained by expending energy on performing.
    And finally on the giving aspect of meeting a performer… I went to see a singer I like a few years ago. Michelle Shocked is probably not all that well-know and it was a small venue. She did an autograph session, which my older son and I went to. Of course, I was there to meet someone I admired. But I also wanted to make her feel good about her music’s impact by telling her how my son had grown up listening to her music all the time while we drove in the car. My son saw this as me trying to get her to notice me by telling her details about our lives. To me, though, I was giving her a gift of knowing that her music is loved. I hope it was received in the way it was intended, but who knows.

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    • SD activities are definitely a bonus, no matter whether the actor in question enjoys doing them or not. I never ever thought about the SD much *before* I got involved with a fandom. But I always assumed that some actors enjoy the immediacy of the accolades at the SD, whereas others didn’t. Of course I would wish that the actor *I* support, likes the SD…
      I take your point on the extrovert/introvert dfferences. (In my household, the situation is the other way around, with an introvert husband and me as an extrovert. It’s pretty much exactly how you are describing it. And nonetheless, to this day, I *do* have difficulties understanding his introvert reactions because they are so diametrically different to my own, and I often have to consciously dial my behaviour down a notch because it appears that it is harder for him to adjust to my needs than for me to adjust to his.)
      Michelle Shocked! Ha! I remember her! But to the point: It’s hard to know whether what we say is received as intended. I always hope that people just take it at face value.

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    • I remember Michelle Shocked 🙂

      I’m concerned that in pursuing this I may be understood to be speaking specifically and personally, and that is not my intent; what I’m about to say is both hypothetical and general as opposed to directed at an individual. I can’t judge what is in anyone’s heart on this level.

      I do think that there’s probably a different between the labor / attitude of an artist of her stature and that of Armitage (or taking it a level higher, that of a megastar). Seeing a few dozen fans after one’s performances is possibly different from lines of 50-70 after every play and/or the hundreds of encounters, autographs, and selfies of a Hobbit premiere; the effort required to get through it is different — even the noise level is different. And I don’t think there’s nothing well meant by the fan in “giving the gift” of going to a SD — that something is “all about me” (not least in that I am the one initiating the activity) doesn’t preclude that there are other things going on. Nonetheless, I often see people on Twitter saying something in the vein of “If only Armitage knew that / how much he / how wonderful …” etc., etc. and I always wonder why someone would think that after a decade plus of having a fandom, he wouldn’t know or have heard these things (there’s also the variant “if only he believed that” which is a separate topic but also fascinates me). Of course he knows. He says things in interviews that indicate he knows (e.g., I remember him saying something once about fans who were unable to leave the house).

      I don’t think it’s never the case that a fan somehow gets through to him or touches him with a gift or a message (I’m thinking now specifically of the RH t-shirt, or the shoes he was photographed with, or that patchwork quilt of his roles several years ago that was auctioned — or more significantly, the letter he received that he read during the Crucible event in 2014). There are fans who have met him several times and are convinced he has recognized them at subsequent meetings and I am in no position to question that conclusion. However, at the same time, given the length of his time in the spotlight, the number of fans he has, and the extent of their enthusiasm, I’m going to estimate that he has heard 90% or better of anything anyone is going to say to him about “how much he,” “how wonderful he,” etc., and that he has received thousands of assorted personal gifts of various kinds, many of them home made and/or unique to the giver. Rationally speaking if we paused to think about this we would know it. So if I am standing in the SD line to “give” him something (a present, a verbal thank you, whatever), either I have to acknowledge that on some level there’s nothing tremendously meaningful about that given that I’m essentially adding a tiny pin-feather to a huge heavy featherbed of stuff like this that’s been under assembly since 2004. It might have been different back then but more than a decade has past. If 10,000 fans have told him “thank you, your work inspires me so much” why should another 50 of them matter, especially if he’s tired? So if I know he’s just been on stage, and can reasonably deduce that he might rather be on his way home to Netflix and chill or whatever he does after work, if I am standing there, knowing that I’m not going to do or say anything particularly unique or original in the entire spectrum of things that have been said and done in that context, if I really wanted to give him a gift that was about him or his needs, I’d stay away. That I don’t — that I stand there hoping to talk to him or whatever, suggests that I think there’s something really important about what *I* have to say, about *my* thank you, about *my* “gift.” But I would suggest that that importance is primarily to me and not to him. He won’t remember me ten minutes later. I will just be part of the blur. However, if I get my moment, *I* will feel like *I* was seen (and that’s the goal of all of the parasocial behaviors, assuming he has the energy to perform them).

      I think these statements of “if only he knew that” mean something more like “if only *I knew* he knew how I feel about him.” Transferred to the SD, it’s something like “it’s important to *me* to be the kind of person who says thank you.” That’s not wrong, but it’s still about me. I think that the fan / crush relationship is so inherently and purposefully unbalanced that it is often hard for us as fans to fully grasp our minor importance in the scheme of things, even if we understand it theoretically. And if we are important to someone with the notoriety level of Armitage, then only in the aggregate — and only in the rarest number of cases, individually. So if it doesn’t really matter that much to him (or is even a negative for him) if there are fans at the stage door, of course I am doing that for myself. From beginning to end, from the decision to go there to what I bring and say and do, it’s all about my desires. It’s just not in general a fun enough of an event to participate in just to say thank you, and I would never say thank you in that venue if I weren’t getting something significant for me by participating in it. If I could be anyone standing there, which is what I am from his perspective, why would I go?

      That said, if I am at a performance and I can go to a stage door, I will, in hopes that he appears. I think he’s special. He gives me something essential, that I get from nothing and no one else. But he’s more special to me than I am to him, just as my experiences in the fandom are specific to me and he’s merely the occasion.

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      • You’re right that it is different for a bigger star where a greater number of interactions would take place. For the performer and for the fan. I’m not sure I’d have the same urge to tell the performer’s impact on me with them if I thought they heard it all the time. Personally that is.
        I also think it’s different and easier for both fan and artist if the meet is more structured. Michele Shocked was seated at a table with pen in hand and fans lined up to approach one by one. Probably easier all round than a stage door.
        I actually hadn’t thought about the sheer volume of events, multiplied by the number of fans at each one, and again times the years. Quite possibly overwhelming and everyone would start to look the same in the crowd.
        Most people feel unique to themselves and it is hard to come to terms with not being unique in an admired person’s eyes. I haven’t taken an opportunity to meet stars I’ve seen in casual situations. I can’t think that they would want to meet me (in particular ) and I don’t want to intrude.
        I’m not sure if I would do a stage door or not. Probably. But I might linger farther back. Not sure.
        I like your last line, “… my experiences in the fandom are specific to me and he’s merely the occasion.”

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        • If Armitage does ComicCon again, he might be in that situation (lines, walk up and sign, etc.) One might be more likely to be able to speak in a situation like that; but at least w/ComicCon it can’t really be construed as a gift the fan gives the celeb (not least b/c he did it for free the one time he did it, whereas often there’s a charge).

          I think there’s something about the feeling he causes that makes one feel like no one has ever felt it before or in the way I have and that’s valid for me, anyway. I just don’t think it is for him.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I was thinking about ComicCon as being that type of event, although I’ve never been.
            There is something that feels special and unique about this. But I’m sure you’re right that it wouldn’t be for him, because we are each just one of many. (Until and unless he got to know us, that is! But that would take more than a brief fan encounter.)

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            • Sue, I highly recommend Comic Cons and other fan events. I went to my 1st in May 2016. I’ve now been to 6. The actors are incredibly nice and you’ll meet some of the nicest people just waiting in line. But I wouldn’t start with San Diego unless you like to cosplay. I go for autographs and photo ops, but San Diego is so big, these ops go by lottery so you could spend a fortune getting out there and not get to see the actor you went there for. This is what I’ve been told by people who’ve gone there. They recommended the smaller Cons and Expos for the photos and autographs I want. Although 50,000 people sounds pretty big to me, it’s nothing compared to SDCC and NYCC, the two biggest Cons with Toronto close behind.

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                • oth in the 2 i went to, one in London the other one in DE the most interesting stuff was in the panels and discussions, some on subjects i didn’t know much about and found fascinating, like the Weta experts talking about developing the weapons or storyboard and graphics artists talking about their work. Often these events are great opportunities to just find out things about the industry you might not have any other opportunity to see. I stayed well away from autographs and pics, not my thing at all. Though watching Iain Glen be utterly sweet to the loooong line of people waiting was nice. Oh and the costumes people wore were fascinating.
                  There’s something for everyone in these things i think and they are worth experiencing once.

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                    • Than the formerly known Hobbitcon in DE now known as Magicon but essentially the same thin from what i hear is perfect. I’d very much like to go back maybe next year, it’s around Easter always at a weekend. I had loads and loads of fun 🙂

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                    • Was it on TV or in the movie theatre? I lost my copy of the book and can’t seem to buy one anywhere. 😦

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                    • Movie theatre… just opened on Friday. I bought the book too, which they have on iTunes (iBooks) and Kobo too. There’s an edition with both that ebook and ‘Rebecca for $8.99.

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                    • I’d forgotten it was coming to theatres. My granddaughter and I had planned to see it but she has had a baby since then (their first) so I doubt if she’ll want to go see it right now. He’s only a few months old and if I may say, totally adorable!! Great-grandchild #6!

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                    • I know!! I’m SO excited! It would be fantastic if we could meet up somehow! You’d be the first fellow RA “well-wisher” I’ve met in the flesh – so to speak! I Skype with a friend in Australia on a fairly regular basis which is the next best thing!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes that would be fun! Hopefully we can find each other. My son is coming as well, as he read it in school and wants to see it performed.

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                    • ahhh, do share the link pls! Haven’t seen it yet but intend to go 🙂 Got distracted with Wonder Woman and Kind Arthur’s sword over weekend 😉 a bit of fun was much needed.

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                    • I looooooved it very empowering for girls and had a right old laugh at Pine in the cave a pool 😍 nice touch role reversal there and well done Chris,not too shabby 😉 thoroughly enjoyed myself and loved that old photo idea

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                    • T. wanted to see it, and I was happy to go along (also because our movie business relative was involved in the making of the film). And yes, empowering – I loved the Amazons on their island. So bad ass. (I was less enthusiastic about the whole ‘German female baddie’ thing. *yawn* Need to have a word with aforementioned relative. *meh*)
                      That blue pool scene was hilarious. And all very family friendly *hehe*. Anyway, T loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it. I think I need to order a WW plushie from Nancy…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • plushie great idea! I rolled eyes at German baddie BUT for once the baddie was a woman too which was somewhat refreshing. I’ll surely watch it again once it’s out on DVD and the like. Well, well, your relatives certainly did well to be involved with this 🙂 I also think Pine was a perfect choice, some of the more in your face types in Avengers and stuff wouldn’t have worked as well. But then again i really liked his Cpt Kirk too.

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                    • I have now ordered WW in plushie form from Nancy. Mind you – for T, not myself. She has already got an Agent Carter plushie, so I am slowly building up a feminist heroine collection there…
                      Pine really surprised me, tbh. I remembered him as a rather baby-faced Capt. Kirk, but he had weathered nicely and looked like the quintessential WW1 American pilot. He was good.

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                    • i knew it was for her! i looooved Agent Carter too and Haylay in it as well! So few real lady role models for us girls 😉 And yes, the Kirk thing was interesting as as an actor he’s more mature than that, but i think it was the exact intention of the films to show us Kirk in his very early years. Pine himself has weathered rather interestingly into a grey tinted maturity which becomes him i think. https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/thumbor/YxKccAeG0ANtFlQvpdDqauMFSpU/fit-in/1024×1024/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/2016/07/12/194/n/1922398/942320700dfe8ddf_GettyImages-546589014/i/Chris-Pine-Star-Trek-Beyond-UK-Premiere-July-2016.jpg ( i really like non- dyeing confidence, McAvoy is another one with quite a bit showing though in his case it’s probably more intensity than age causing it LOL)

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          • well, it just can’t be 🙂 because realistically he’s said Bless you, thank you! like a million time and more. Of course that excludes the one he said to me at C stage door, because that was special and unique ;-))))) And it will always be so to me 😉

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      • true, and there is one point in particular where i fully concur, interestingly through personal experience 🙂 But it’s been 10 years going and it took some digesting but i came to the same conclusion, that the one gift which i can give which would mean to him more than to me is time 🙂 One less to sign for, one less to attend to, one less to worry about if they go home unhappy for some reason (and i am saying this because of specific concerns raised about people not seeing him, not getting a chance to say hello etc). (not talking RA here just to make it clear). So happy to clap, wave and leave and be one less standing at some doorstep. But maybe that’s the kind of comfortable situation you reach after many years, knowing it’s been there for 10 and it will likely be there more at least another 10.
        Funny, i wonder why the time element never came to mind in this case when it has been very present in the other. To soon i guess to not want to at least linger about the SD even if just oggling 😉 Can’t let go of it just yet. But then again if crowds not too bad i still linger about to watch in the other case too (just to see who’s got more grey hairs since last time, me or him LOL) .

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        • If Tennant is that engaging at the stage door, it would make sense that concern about his time might be less in the forefront. At the same time, with Armitage, I take it that if he appears after a performance he is willing to be there and if he doesn’t he is not. But I think that a fan’s propensity to “stay away” as “a gift” is not necessarily related to time spent as a fan. There were long-term fans in London who’d never met him and didn’t go to the stage door and there are long-term fans who are at the stage door every time they can be; I’d say there are too many factors in that decision to relate it to one thing. There’s one fan whose partner seems to work in UK tv and film and I’ve seen pictures of hers of him and with him on almost every English set stretching from Spooks to Urban.

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  15. Pingback: 2017 Armitage Weekly Round-up #21 | Guylty Pleasure

  16. I am a Whovian and Tennant is my favorite doctor so I envy you getting to see him on stage. But I did meet him and Barrowman in San Antonio, Texas last October and had nice conversations with both. (Barrowman, especially is a big hugger and teddy bear.) Doctor Who is why I started going to fan events; 6 last year alone. I love them and have met some of the nicest people. I’m also a big fan of Broadchurch and hate that it’s ending.
    One of my oldest friends, who now lives in Minnesota, is a big fan of David Tennant and has seen him in all his stage performances in the UK and US. She also was in attendance at the RST’s gala 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in Stratford-on-Avon, which I caught on the big screen and again on PBS last December. Someday I hope to catch him on stage. Meanwhile Digital Theatre recorded his performance (and Catherine Tate, one of his Dr. Who companions who I finally met last April in Dallas) in their production of Much Ado About Nothing. She says they have plans to act together again. I hope to catch that one.

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    • Nice to hear that Tennant inspires such loyalty from his fans. From the little glimpse I had of him, I can only say that he totally deserves that.
      Much Ado About Nothing was absolutely brilliant.

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  17. Great read. Guylty! Nice to see the difference for you in the differing stage door experiences. It’s a whole lot of interesting discussion you have here as well that I will need to get back to when I have a little more time… 🙂

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    • Yep, the whole experience was really quite eye-opening, and it was equally interesting to discuss the SD here with people. I very much enjoyed my little peek into DT’s fandom, too. I might go again 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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