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One of his earliest big screen roles was in Jude (1996), in which he shared a scene with his Doctor Who predecessor Christopher Eccleston, playing a drunken undergraduate who challenges Eccleston's Jude to prove his intellect.
He has lent his voice to several supporting characters in Big Finish audio plays based on the 1963 version of Doctor Who.
He got a chance to have a peripheral connection to the series when he narrated a prelude episode of Doctor Who Confidential that aired prior to the broadcast of Rose.
With Eccleston's announcement on 30 March that he would not be returning for a second series, the BBC confirmed Tennant as his replacement in a press release on 16 April.
Unlike his predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, who confessed to having only a passing interest in the 1963 version of Doctor Who, Tennant is a long-time fan of the series, and has exhibited extensive knowledge of its history and trivia in interviews, podcasts and DVD commentaries.
In March 2009 he gave a demonstration of his knowledge of the franchise during a mock edition of Mastermind for the BBC's Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon.
He has regularly appeared in Doctor Who Confidential — a program for which he also notably picked up his first television directing credit, the episode "Do You Remember the First Time?
Not originally cast in the production, Tennant happened to be recording a radio play in a neighbouring studio and, when he discovered what was being recorded next door, managed to convince the director to give him a small role.He has often expressed enthusiasm about fulfilling his childhood dream.He remarked to an interviewer for GWR FM, "Who wouldn't want to be the Doctor? " Like Peter Davison before him, Tennant was knowledgeable enough about the program to ask for his character to be credited as "The Doctor" instead of "Doctor Who", as had been done during Eccleston's tenure.His first story was Colditz (also guest starring Tracey Childs, who later appeared in The Fires of Pompeii), where he played the German officer Kurtz.He later played two versions of Ross Brimmicombe-Wood in Sympathy for the Devil and the UNIT story The Wasting, Daft Jamie in Medicinal Purposes, a Time Lord in Exile and Galanar in the third series of Dalek Empire.