12 Things We Learned About 12 Monkeys Season 3 From a Visit to the Set

Syfy
Syfy

For two seasons now, fans of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys have watched as James Cole (Aaron Stanford), Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire), and the rest of Team Splinter have traveled the past, present, and future trying to thwart The Army of the 12 Monkeys, a nefarious cult that wants to destroy time and create the Red Forest—a place where neither time, nor death, exist. Unfortunately, their prophet called The Witness—who they believe will be the one to bring their world-ending aspirations to fruition—seems to be Railly and Cole’s son. Now that the identity of The Witness has been revealed, season three is a very personal race against fate to try to save the world.

We visited the Toronto set of 12 Monkeys in April to chat with the cast and showrunner Terry Matalas about season three, which will air on Syfy over the course of three nights in a binge-weekend event beginning Friday, May 19 at 8/7c. Here’s what we found out.

WARNING: This piece contains mild spoilers for 12 Monkeys season three. If you’d prefer to go in spoiler-free, bookmark this piece and revisit it on May 22.

1. EACH NIGHT IS LIKE A SELF-CONTAINED MOVIE.

Aaron Stanford as James Cole.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

Matalas says the writers didn’t find out about the binge weekend until they were late into writing season three, so it didn’t change anything about how they told the story. “The thing that I pushed for was that episodes one through four would be on night one, because it was like kind of one big movie with the right ending,” he says, “and that the second night would be five through seven because they’re like a whole movie. Each night is like a season’s worth of stories. I hope it’s something that’s successful and they do it again, because this show in particular, even though it’s very, very episodic and each one is a different thing, the threads are all united and I think if they’re fresh in your brain, the more satisfying it will be.”

According to Stanford, the binge weekend didn’t change anything on set, but he is excited to have the season shown this way. “I think the show lends itself to that format,” Stanford says. “Particularly with a serialized show like this, where every episode ends with an incredibly high-stakes cliffhanger and you just can’t wait to find out what happens, well, now you don’t have to wait anymore. You can watch the next one and make an evening out of it.”

2. EPISODE ONE IS MATALAS’S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT.

Episode One of season three is Matalas’s directorial debut. “It’s scary because it’s a whole new language to learn,” he says. “You know more than you think you do and so much less than you want to. But I loved it.” Matalas enjoyed directing so much that he’s directing episode two of season four as well as the series finale. (You can also spot him making an unforgettable cameo in one episode this season.)

3. AMANDA SCHULL TAKES REALLY DETAILED NOTES.

Amanda Schull as Cassandra Railly.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

Matalas has often said that he and the writers didn’t use a whiteboard or any other method to track where and when the show’s characters have been—they could mostly keep it in their heads. But thanks to the introduction of a unique new form of time travel, they did have to start tracking things more closely at the end of season three.

“It’s fun, but it’s challenging to say the least,” Matalas says. “You have to know what came before it and what came after it and what’s going to be happening two years from now. That’s the maddening part. It makes you long to write a nice doctor [or] lawyer show.”

The actors all have their own strategies for keeping it straight. For Hampshire, it’s more important to know where her character is emotionally, rather than time-wise, before she shoots a scene. “In the first episode, when I'm in 1921, the fact that I just splintered there by accident was the thing that was important to me more so than what time I was in. Then the time became important,” she says. “The emotional arcs are so perfectly narrative and come full circle—that’s what I connect with.” Ditto for Stanford, who notes that the show shoots multiple episodes at once, “so you can’t just read one episode and keep that all in your mind at once; you have to juggle multiple episodes at once. But what’s nice is that Terry has written the show so that no matter what’s happening in terms of time travel, emotionally, it tends to be linear. It’s easy enough to track the emotional journey and the overall arc of your character because that all makes very, very clear sense. So that’s what I focus on for the most part.”

For Barbara Sukowa and Schull, though, it’s all about putting pen to paper. “I write a timeline for my character,” Sukowa, who plays temporal scientist Dr. Jones, says. “I write down what I’m doing in every scene.”

“I take a lot of notes,” Schull says. “Maybe it's a product of me taking so many notes, but I have a pretty good memory for episodes, and some of the other actors will ask me questions about things, so I have this sense of responsibility that I have to be the one to remember some of the details. But it is a challenge; we shoot really quickly and we shoot multiple episodes simultaneously, and things can get a little bit garbled. So I take as many notes as I possibly can, on the script, on a notebook—whatever I can.” According to Matalas, Schull has “kept us honest a couple times. It’ll be like, ‘Well don’t forget I said this!’ And we’re like, ‘Oh, right, OK,’ and we’ll alter a line or two. Yeah, she takes a crazy amount of notes.”

4. ONE SCENE HAD MATALAS WORRIED HE’D END UP IN “DIRECTOR JAIL.”

Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines in 12 Monkeys.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

One of night one’s best scenes is a musical sequence that takes place inside Jennifer Goines’s head. (We won’t spoil what she sings, but: It’s in German. And you can watch it here, if you want.) Matalas describes the sequence as a Katy Perry video, and the result is Hampshire’s favorite scene of season three. “Terry told me that really early on I was going to do that, and I learned the whole song,” she says. “I did some crazy dance moves. The best thing to come of that is the party trick I have now for karaoke.” Her German, Sukowa says, is “very good!”

The moment is sandwiched between two very intense scenes, and it’s just the breather the viewer needs—a wonderful, laugh-out-loud moment. And it’s true: Hampshire’s moves are great. “This show can get real, real dark,” she says, “but whenever it’s Jennifer, it’s processed through her logic and her brain, and that’s exactly how Jennifer would process it.”

When they watched the sequence in the editing bay later, when most of the season had been shot, “My editor was really happy,” Matalas recalls. “But I was so tired. I was like, ‘We’ve jumped the shark, we need to cut this out.’ He said, ‘It’s great—just test it.’” Matalas spent his Christmas break showing the sequence to people, who loved it as much as his editors had. The one big question is how viewers will react to the sequence: “Either we’ve earned this and I’m going to be able to pull this off, or I’m going to director jail forever,” Matalas jokes. “We’ll see if I’m cuffed by the end of May 19.”

5. NATURE VERSUS NURTURE IS A BIG THEME.

Amanda Schull as Cassandra Railly in 12 Monkeys.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

By season three’s opening, Railly—who discovered at the end of season two that she’s the mother of The Witness—has spent her entire pregnancy imprisoned by the Army of the 12 Monkeys. “This pregnancy is a very challenging thing for her, because she's not really sure what she's carrying,” Schull says. “She doesn't know if it's nature—that she's giving birth to the devil because this is just what's meant to be—or if it's nurture, that [the Army is] going to create this hideous, horrible person.”

Railly has, at this point, spent two seasons in pursuit of The Witness with the goal of killing him to stop the plague that ends the world, but it becomes a lot more complicated when she realizes The Witness is her son. “I think her arc for this season is really trying to figure out what she’s capable of changing on the huge grand scheme of the fate of the world,” Schull says. “What she can do about it—if she can do anything about it.”

Schull wore a silicone baby bump in her costume that was so realistic it even had a belly button. “When I would touch it, I could actually feel the silicone rubbing my own stomach,” she says. “I found myself sitting down and holding the belly. It was like, ‘Get a hold of yourself, you’re not actually pregnant!’ But I did feel this ownership of it, and you can understand how, even if you've been told that you’re going to give birth to something that is completely beyond your control, how you would hold out an iota of hope that you can change things.”

6. ONE OF HAMPSHIRE’S COSTUMES WAS INSPIRED BY THE KID.

Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines in 12 Monkeys.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

After accidentally splintering directly into the trenches of World War I, Jennifer lives in Paris into the 1920s, where she eventually becomes an actress. Before she gets there, though, she's basically living on the streets. “I knew I was going to be in the ‘20s, and I did my Pinterest research, which I love to do,” she says. Her search brought up photos of the titular character in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921), and bam: She knew exactly what Jennifer should look like, pre-acting gig. “The picture of The Kid is exactly my costume, which is what I wanted—the little hat and everything," she says. "The costume also reminded me a bit of Éponine [from Les Misérables]. Sometimes I feel like Jennifer really is Éponine—she’s always the one that isn’t Cosette.” Goines becomes a more integral part of the action this season, and Hampshire kills it, providing hijinks, heart, and heartbreak in equal measure.

7. SCHULL HAS SOME MAJOR FIGHT SEQUENCES.

Demore Barnes as Whitley and Amanda Schull as Cassandra Railly.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

Fans of 12 Monkeys know that it’s not just the dudes on the show who get to kick ass. Schull has her fair share of fight sequences throughout this season—and she does as many of the stunts herself as she can. “I have this ridiculous chip on my shoulder, having been a dancer, that I feel like I really ought to be able to do everything myself—but there are some things I very clearly cannot,” she says. “Jen Murray, my stunt person, is totally comfortable getting thrown into a cabinet and onto the ground or getting hit by a car. I, on the other hand, am not. Nor would it look great on film, so she does it. But there are times—like the fight in night one—where I did everything I possibly could. At the end, there's a person on the ground that I'm supposed to jump over, and take out somebody else afterwards. The angle that they ended up using, I'm not sure if it’s Jen or if it's me. Because I have a feeling she probably caught a little bit more air than I did doing it, so I don't know. But she’s really giving and gives me great corrections and advice, and we get an opportunity to do as much as we can.”

8. STANFORD’S ‘80S OUTFIT MADE SCHULL LAUGH UNTIL SHE CRIED.

The cast of 12 Monkeys.
SyFy

One episode of night two takes place in 1989—which, of course, means era-appropriate outfits. Hampshire alone had five looks (“they're so amazing, and on paper they're the craziest,” Schull says), but Stanford’s Marty McFly-inspired getup got the biggest reaction on set—“particularly the 1980s mom jeans that I was wearing,” he says.

“I actually collapsed to the floor when I saw Aaron,” Schull says. “I laughed so hard that they had to redo my makeup—it was streaming down my face.”

Costume designer Joyce Schure sourced the outfits from thrift and vintage stores in the Toronto area. “I did a lot of shopping myself on that, and I had the best time!” she says. “Baskets and baskets [of clothes], the uglier the better, because you wanted it to be very iconic. Our leads, they laughed so hard. Once they were in it, they loved it.”

Stanford is loving the fact that the show is now at a point where they can have some fun with time travel. “When the show began, it was strictly future apocalypse and the present where there’s about to be a plague,” he says, “so it’s really fun to jump back to Victorian London and wear a bowler hat, or go the 1980s and hear all the music.”

9. CHRISTOPHER LLOYD HAD AN IDEA TO MAKE HIS CHARACTER EXTRA UNSETTLING.

Matalas knew going into season three that he wanted to explore the origins of the Army of the 12 Monkeys and their leader, the creepy Pallid Man. When it came time to cast the Pallid Man’s father, Zalmon Shaw, Matalas knew they’d need a tall, angular looking actor to play him. “I was like, ‘How cool would it be if it was Christopher Lloyd?” he says. Matalas got on the phone with Lloyd—who had heard about the show at fan conventions—and pitched him the character, and Lloyd said yes. “The coolest thing about it was how much he embraced the role and the mythology,” Matalas says. “To be having these theological discussions about the Red Forest with Christopher Lloyd was so surreal.”

The actor came to the role with lots of ideas for his character, from costume to ... eyebrows. Specifically: Lloyd didn't think his character should have them. “He said, ‘I think it would be really weird, you'd look at him and know something is off but you wouldn’t know what,’” Matalas recalls.

At first he hesitated, but, Matalas says, “There was this voice in the back of my head that was like, ‘This is an American icon who wants to shave his eyebrows for your show. Goddamn it, you’re going to let him shave his eyebrows if he wants to.’ And he did, and it looks great. It was just really cool to collaborate with somebody you have such deep respect for, for so many years.”

10. MENTAL FLOSS INSPIRED A LINE.

Late in the season, Team Splinter heads back to Victorian era London to track down The Witness. So—as the writers and all of the show’s departments must do whenever they start plotting out a trip back in time—Matalas hit the internet to do some research. “I was sitting here in Toronto, it was on a Sunday morning and I was like God, I’m never going to be able to find anything on Victorian slang,” he says. “Victorian slang was exactly what I Googled, and a Mental Floss article came up.” We won’t tell you who says it, or in what context, but the line is “Hello, chuckaboo.” The word is, according to the 1909 book Passing English of the Victorian Era, “a name given familiarly to a favourite chum.”

11. THE COSTUMES FOR THE BIG MASQUERADE WERE MADE ON THE GROUND IN PRAGUE.

Aaron Stanford as James Cole and Amanda Schull as Cassandra Railly in 12 Monkeys.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

“Like the people on our show, we’re always battling time,” costume designer Schure says. Case in point: The epic Victorian London masquerade the travelers attend in 1899, which was shot on location in Prague. Schure couldn’t design the main characters’ costumes until a freelancer she’d hired went to London and picked costumes for the extras. “The company she was dealing with had been completely picked over,” Schure says, “but she managed to pull together some really nice things. [Our costumes] are all original; they had to work with what we were getting, and I didn’t know what we were getting until I got there.”

The costume department designed the costumes (which are actually from the Louis XVII era—"in Victorian times, they would wear clothes from an earlier time period; that was their idea of dress up," Schure says) and did fittings in muslin in Toronto, then brought those along to Prague, where they had around five weeks to actually create the ornate costumes. Each outfit has little details that reflect a part of the character wearing it. “I tried to keep what we’ve established as their character costume looks to this point,” Schure says. “For example, Jennifer’s a double sock girl—she always wears tights with double socks—and we repeated that little motif in her costume.”

Schure’s team also had to create doubles of the costumes for things like stunt work and photo doubling. “And we’re killing people, left, right, and center,” she says, joking, “I’m always up for a clean strangulation, but they like to shoot or knife people, so there’s always blood.”

The Victorian costumes came with an added challenge: There was a lengthy exterior scene, and it was very, very cold. “The second set of costumes, I fleece-lined them all—basically you could go skiing or snowboard in any of the fleece-lined versions,” Schure says. “We used the fleece-lined version if it was a stunt double or photo double or [on the actors] when we actually did the exterior portion.”

12. IT ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER.

It wouldn’t be 12 Monkeys if the season didn’t end on a cliffhanger, and season three’s finale, “Witness”—which sets up the final confrontation in a totally unexpected way—will definitely have fans screaming for more, like immediately.

The cast and crew are currently shooting the final season of 12 Monkeys. “Going into season three, we had to know how we were going to end, because it is a finite story and it felt like at the end of season two we were kind of at the midpoint,” Matalas says. “The most gratifying thing is knowing for sure you’re going to be able to tell that story. When you don’t know you have another season coming you might be like ‘Oh, well, we have to do this now because we may never do it again,’ but when you know that you’re not you can tell the story as it organically wants to be told.”

And yes, he knows what the final scene will be. “I definitely knew what the last scene was from day one. I think you kind of have to, right? It just influences so much [of] where you go. So yeah, it’s going to be very strange in a few months to actually shoot that scene. It’s going to be very, very bittersweet.”

tv

10 Clever Moments of TV Foreshadowing You Might Have Missed

Gene Page, AMC
Gene Page, AMC

Spoiler alert! Sometimes TV shows shock their audiences with mind-blowing twists and surprises, but the writers are often clever enough to foreshadow these events with very subtle references. Here are 10 of them.

**Many spoilers ahead.**

1. The Walking Dead

During season five of The Walking Dead, Glenn (Steven Yeun) picks up a baseball bat a few times in the Alexandria Safe-Zone. He was also almost killed by one at Terminus at the beginning of the season. Two seasons later, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) brutally kills Glenn with his barbed-wire baseball bat (a.k.a. Lucille) during the season seven premiere.

2. Breaking Bad

In Breaking Bad's second season finale, a Boeing 737 crashes over Albuquerque, New Mexico. While the event was hinted at throughout the season during the black-and-white teasers at the beginning of each episode, the titles of certain episodes predicted the crash altogether. The titles “Seven Thirty-Seven,” “Down,” “Over,” and “ABQ” spell out the phrase “737 Down Over ABQ,” which is the airport code for the Albuquerque International Sunport.

3. Game Of Thrones

In “The Mountain and the Viper,” a season 4 episode of Game of Thrones, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen) tells his stepson, Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli), “People die at their dinner tables. They die in their beds. They die squatting over their chamber pots. Everybody dies sooner or later. And don’t worry about your death. Worry about your life. Take charge of your life for as long as it lasts.”

Throughout that same season, viewers see King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) die at a dinner table during his wedding and watch Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) strangle his former lover, Shae (Sibel Kekilli), in bed, before killing his father, Tywin (Charles Dance), while he’s sitting on a toilet.

4. Arrested Development

Throughout seasons 1 and 2 of Arrested Development, there are a number of references that foretell Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) losing his hand. In “Out on a Limb,” Buster is sitting on a bus stop bench with an ad for Army Officers, but the way he’s sitting hides most of the ad, so it reads “Arm Off” instead. Earlier in season 2, Buster says “Wow, I never thought I’d miss a hand so much,” when he sees his long lost hand-shaped chair in his housekeeper’s home.

5. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) comes out as gay and begins a relationship with Tara (Amber Benson). However, in the episode “Doppelgangland” in season 3, a vampire version of Willow appears after a spell is accidentally cast. After Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) capture the vampire Willow, the real Willow takes a look at her vampire-self and comments, "That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay!"

6. Futurama

In the very first episode of Futurama, "Space Pilot 3000," Fry (Billy West) is accidentally frozen and wakes up 1000 years later. Just before he falls into the cryotube, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, you can see a small shadowy figure under a desk in the Applied Cryogenics office. In the season four episode “The Why of Fry,” it was revealed that Nibbler (Frank Welker) was hiding in the shadows. He planned to freeze Fry in the past, so that he could save the universe in the future. According to co-creator Matt Groening, “What we tried to do is we tried to lay in a lot of little secrets in this episode that would pay off later.”

7. American Horror Story: Coven

American Horror Story: Coven follows a coven of witches in Salem, Massachusetts. When Fiona (Jessica Lange), the leader of the witches, is stricken with cancer, she believes a new witch who can wield the Seven Powers will come and take her place. Fiona then begins to kill every witch she believes will take her place until the new Supreme reveals herself.

During the opening credits of each episode in season 3, Sarah Paulson’s title card appears with the Mexican female deity Santa Muerte (Holy Death), the Lady of the Seven Wonders. And as it turned out, Paulson’s character, Cordelia, became the new Supreme witch at the end of the season.

8. Mad Men

At the end of Mad Men's fifth season, ad agency partner Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) committed suicide by hanging himself in his office. While it was a shock to the audience, the show's writers hinted at his death throughout the entire season.

In the season 5 premiere, Lane jokes "I'll be here for the rest of my life!" while he’s on the telephone in his office. Later, in episode five, Don Draper doodles a noose during a meeting, while Lane wears a scarf around his neck in a bar to support his soccer club. Early in episode 12, Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) mentions that the agency’s life insurance policy still pays out, even in the event of a suicide.

9. How I Met Your Mother

In How I Met Your Mother's season 6 episode, “Bad News,” Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) are waiting for test results that will tell them whether or not they can have children. While we’re led to believe the title of the episode reflects their test results, it actually refers to the news that Marshall’s father, Marvin Eriksen Sr. (Bill Fagerbakke), had passed away after suffering a heart attack.

Keen-eyed viewers knew this news already because the writers of How I Met Your Mother foreshadowed the death two seasons earlier in the episode “The Fight.” At the beginning of the episode, Marshall said that lightsaber technology is real and will be on the market in about three to five years from now. By the end of the episode, a flash forward reveals what Thanksgiving looks like at the Eriksen family’s home in Minnesota; Marshall’s father is not shown or referenced during the holiday meal.

10. True Detective

During season 1 of True Detective, detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart are trying to solve a murder investigation, as they try to identify the mysterious “Yellow King.” The color yellow is used when the detectives are on the right track, but the detectives already met the killer in episode three, "The Locked Room."

When the pair went to the Light of the Way Academy, posted on the school’s sign was a very clever hidden message that read “Notice King,” which pointed to the school's groundskeeper as the killer.

This article has been updated for 2019.

15 Surprising Facts About David Tennant

Colin Hutton, BBC America
Colin Hutton, BBC America

Though he’s most often linked to his role as the Tenth Doctor on the legendary sci-fi series Doctor Who, David Tennant is much more than that, as audiences around the world are beginning to discover. Born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland on April 18, 1971, the man who would become David Tennant has spent the past 30-plus years carving out a very particular niche for himself—both on the stage and screen in England and, increasingly more, as a Hollywood staple. To celebrate the Good Omens's star's birthday, here are 15 things you might not know about David Tennant.

1. He took his name from the Pet Shop Boys.

As a teenager, the budding actor learned that because there was already a David McDonald in the actors’ union, he needed to come up with an alternate moniker to pursue a professional acting career. Right around the same time, he read an interview in Smash Hits with Neil Tennant, lead vocalist for the Pet Shop Boys, and "David Tennant" was born.

Today, he legally is David Tennant. “I am now actually Tennant—have been for a few years,” he said in 2013. “It was an issue with the Screen Actors' Guild in the U.S., who wouldn't let me keep my stage name unless it was my legal name. Faced with the prospect of working under two different names on either side of the globe, I had to take the plunge and rename myself! So although I always liked the name, I'm now more intimately associated with it than I had ever imagined. Thank you, Neil Tennant.”

2. He became an actor with the specific goal of starring in Doctor Who.

While a lot of young kids dream of growing up to become astronauts or professional athletes, Tennant set his own career goal at the tender age of three: to star on Doctor Who. It was Tom Baker’s version of The Doctor in particular that inspired Tennant to become an actor. He carried around a Doctor Who doll and wrote Who-inspired essays at school. "Doctor Who was a massive influence," Tennant told Rolling Stone. "I think it was for everyone in my generation; growing up, it was just part of the cultural furniture in Britain in the '70s and '80s.”

On April 16, 2004, just two days before his 34th birthday, Tennant achieved that goal when he was officially named The Tenth Doctor, taking over for Christopher Eccleston. “I am delighted, excited, and honored to be the Tenth Doctor,” Tennant said at the time. “I grew up loving Doctor Who and it has been a lifelong dream to get my very own TARDIS.”

3. Though becoming The Doctor was a lifelong dream, there was some trepidation.

Though landing the lead in Doctor Who was a lifelong dream come true for Tennant, the initial excitement was followed by a little trepidation. When asked by The Scotsman whether he worried about being typecast, Tennant admitted: “I did remember being thrilled to bits when I got asked and then a few days later thinking, ‘Oh, is this a terrible idea?’ … But that didn't last very long. Time will tell. The only option is you don't take these jobs when they come up. You've got to just roll with the punches.”

4. He made his professional debut in a PSA.

While most actors have some early roles they’d prefer to forget, Tennant’s first professional gig didn’t come in some otherwise forgettable movie, TV series, or play. When he was 16 years old, he booked a role in an anti-smoking PSA for the Glasgow Health Board, which played on television and was shown in schools. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can watch his performance above.

5. He married the Fifth Doctor's daughter, who once played the Tenth Doctor's daughter.

Confused? In 2011, Tennant married Georgia Moffett, who played his artificially created daughter, Jenny, in the 2008 Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Daughter.” In real life, Moffett really is The Doctor’s daughter; her father is Peter Davison, who played the Fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984.

6. His first movie role had him acting opposite Christopher Eccleston.

In 1996, Tennant landed his first movie role in Michael Winterbottom’s Jude, where he played the very descriptive “Drunk Undergraduate.” His big scene had him acting opposite Christopher Eccleston—the man who, less than a decade later, would hand over the keys to the TARDIS to Tennant.

7. He avoids reading reviews of his work.

While it’s hard to imagine that Tennant has ever had to deal with too many scathing reviews, it doesn’t really matter to the actor: good or bad, he avoids reading them. When asked during a livechat with The Guardian about one particularly negative review, and whether he reads and reacts to them, Tennant replied: “The bad review to which you refer was actually for a German expressionist piece about the Round Table called Merlin. It was the first extensive review I'd ever had, and it was absolutely appalling. Not that it's scarred into my memory in any way whatsoever. I try not to read them, these days. Reviews aren't really for the people who are performing, and—good or bad—they don't help. You always get a sense if something you're in has been well received or not, that's unavoidable. But beyond that, details are best avoided.”

8. He hosted Masterpiece Theatre.

In 2007, Masterpiece Theatre reinvented itself. In addition to dropping the “Theatre” from its title, the series announced that it was splintering into three different seasons—Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery!, and Masterpiece Contemporary. Unlike the days of the past, when Alistair Cooke held court, each of the new series had its own host, Tennant among them. (He was in charge of Masterpiece Contemporary.)

9. He got a lot of younger audiences interested in Shakespeare.

Tennant has logged a lot of hours with the Royal Shakespeare Company over the years. In 2008, while still starring in Doctor Who, he took on the role that every actor wants in the RSC’s production of Hamlet, which ended up being one of London’s hottest (and hardest to get) tickets. The Guardian reported that hundreds of people were lined up to buy tickets, with some even camping out overnight outside the West End theater. Within three hours of the tickets going on sale, all 6000 of them were sold out.

Hamlet is a very popular play,” a RSC spokesperson said at the time. “It's the most famous. But obviously there's the factor that David Tennant is in it and the good news is that he's bringing a lot of younger audiences to Shakespeare."

10. He was on a Royal Stamp.

In 2011, the Royal Mail paid tribute to Royal Shakespeare Company’s 50th anniversary with a series of stamps featuring images from a handful of the RSC’s productions, including Tennant as Hamlet.

11. He almost played Hannibal Lecter.

Though it’s easy to see why Bryan Fuller cast Mads Mikkelsen in the title role of his television adaptation of Hannibal, Tennant came pretty close to playing the fava bean-and-chianti-loving, flesh-eating serial killer at the heart of Thomas Harris’s novels. Fuller was so impressed with Tennant’s dark side that he tried to make a guest appearance happen during the series’ run.

“I’m a huge fan of David Tennant, and we’ve been trying to get him on the show for quite some time,” Fuller said. “He’s such a spectacular actor. He brings such an effervescence to every performance. I would love to have David on the show. Or just write for David! I would kill and eat somebody to work with David! He’s my favorite Doctor.”

12. He is Jodie Whittaker's favorite Doctor.

David Tennant stars in 'Doctor Who'
Adrian Rogers, BBC

Fuller isn’t the only one who puts Tennant at the top of their Favorite Doctor list. Jodie Whittaker, who recently made her debut as the Thirteenth Doctor—and is the first woman to take on the role—told The Sunday Times that “David [is my favorite Doctor] of course, because I know him.” (The two spent three seasons co-starring in the British crime drama Broadchurch.)

When asked about Whittaker’s casting at the New Orleans Wizard World Comic Con, and whether he had given her any words of advice, Tennant said that, “We had a wee chat, yes. It is quite a unique job, because it's a show that has so much history to it. And it has a reach that's quite unlike other things. It's a bit of a kind of cultural thing—Who's going to be the Doctor?—it's a news story, really. So to find yourself in the middle of that is a bit overwhelming. I think inevitably, you sort of look to people who'd been there before to go, 'What is this like? What is this madness I entered into?' And that's certainly been the case with Matt and Peter, and now with Jodie. I know that Jodie's talked to Peter, and she's talked to Matt. You just for a little support group. You go, 'What is this madness? Tell me about it.' And of course, you know, she's a little trepidatious, but she's basically really excited. She's such a fantastic choice for it. You see it in just those 30 seconds that she did at the end of the last episode. You just go, 'Oh my god, she's all over it. Brilliant. It's great.’”

13. He's dying to work with Aaron Sorkin.

When asked by Collider if there’s ever been a television show he’s watched and wished he was a part of, Tennant copped to being a huge fan of The West Wing.

The West Wing is finished now [but] that’s the one that I would have loved to have been part of," he said. "I’d love to work with Aaron Sorkin on something. Just the way he writes, he has no fear in writing people that are fiercely intelligent, and I love that. I love the speed of his stuff, and the way people free-associate and interact. That kind of writing is very exciting. It’s hard to have that kind of clarity of voice, especially in a world where there’s a million executives listening to everything you do and having an opinion and trying to drive everything towards the lowest common denominator because that’s what happens when things are made by committee. So, to have someone who’s got a strong individual voice that is allowed to be heard is quite increasingly rare. These people need to be cherished.”

14. He has earned a lot of fan accolades, including "Coolest Man on TV."

David Tennant in 'Jessica Jones'
Linda Kallerus, Netflix

In addition to his many professional acting accolades—including a couple of BAFTAs and a Daytime Emmy and an Olivier Award nomination—Tennant has earned a number of less official “awards” over the years. In 2007, a Radio Times survey named him the Coolest Man on TV. The National Television Awards named him Most Popular Actor of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. In 2008, he was one of Cosmopolitan’s Sexiest Men in the World. In 2012, British GQ readers named him the third Best Dressed Man (behind Tom Hiddleston and Robert Pattinson).

15. the royal shakespeare company sold his pants.

On April 17, 2018, as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stitch in Time fundraiser, the organization auctioned off more than 50 original costumes worn during RSC performances. Among the items they had on offer? The black trousers Tennant wore in Hamlet, and the white robe he wore in Richard II.

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