Skip to main content

On missed opportunities…and David Tennant

I’m going to take a deep breath and quickly type the following: I’maDoctorWhofact. Still with me? Hope so! I will type the following less quickly:

Except that it is…sort of…sorry.

Before we talk about adventures in Space and Time, let’s talk about missed opportunities. We all have them, buried out the back, never to be contemplated for too long. They are sometimes life-changing I-should-have-spoken-to-that-guy/taken-that-job/gotten-on-that-plane missed opportunities or more of a doesn’t-seem-like-the-biggest-deal-at-the-time-but-I-still-can’t-get-over-it missed opportunity.

The latter happened to me in 2007, the year I was living in London in my British life v.1.

Back then, Tennant was the Cumberbatch-flavour of the day and it was announced that he would be staring in an adaptation of Hamlet at the Novello Theatre.
Mmmm Hamlet-y

Cue sharp intake of breath.

My love for Doctor Who was a slow-burning flame that flickered to life when I began working as an editor in London all those years ago. It was a job whose remit included editing Doctor Who books for children. In order to become acquainted with this new-to-me-then, recently rebooted British institution, I hired DVDs (!) and caught up on what I had missed. At the end of the first (new) season, <SPOILER ALERT> as I watched Christopher Eccleston’s ninth Doctor regenerate into David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, the flickering flame became a bonfire surrounded by fireworks. With this new, all-consuming obsession (a personal trait I documented in last week’s post), I’m sure you can appreciate the cloak of anxiety I wore as the days leading to the release of Hamlet tickets counted down. And this anxiety wasn’t just for myself. Thoughtful, sharing, kind person that I was, I had loudly declared to the rest of my team that I would secure tickets for them, too so we could all bask in David’s Tennant-ness.

Cut to ticket release day and me:

Constantly refreshing the ticketing web page!

I had the clammiest hands!

With an erratically beating heart!

And a sweaty top lip!

Along with a grossly churning stomach!

With sort, gaspy breaths…




I couldn’t secure tickets for either a group or myself (desperate times called for desperate measures). Panic set in and a plan B was swiftly put into action. The Novello Theatre was a convenient five-minute walk from the office so a friend and I power-walked all the way there, chirping at the brilliance of this new plan and how confident we were we’d find success.


We came to an abrupt stop outside the theatre. 4,587 people had the same idea as we did and they were lined up around the block and then some.

After a time, we came to accept our defeat. We returned to work.

Before I leave 2007 and cut to present day, I just want to add an epilogue to this sad missed opportunity that took me waaayyy too long to get over (like, until 2015 when I finally, FINALLY watched Tennant as Hamlet thanks to tracking down a DVD [!] of the production at my local library). Sometime into the run, Tennant had to pull out owing to a sore back. Apart from how unfortunate this was for the tenth Doctor, I happily accepted this silver lining and moved on with my life as best I could.

And then I returned to the UK for my British life v.2. Could it be a time to rewrite history? To dig up those missed opportunities buried out back and put them in the no-longer missed opportunity column? Or would I hesitate and crumble and repeat the mistakes of my past? And was I just thinking about the theatre or were there other things I regretted not accomplishing during my v.1 life that I wanted to remedy? Were they buried too far down for me to acknowledge? Only time in v.2 would tell.

A few months after my 2016 arrival, it was announced that the not-so-much-tenth-Doctor-as-bearded-detective-from-Broadchurch David Tennant would be staring in Don Juan in Soho and OMG THIS WAS MY MOMENT TO MAKE MY TWENTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD-SELF HAPPY!

Mmm Don Juan-y
With a familiar churning of my stomach and clammy hands, I logged on to Ticketmaster and with the ability to breathe completely abandoning me, I waited as the website decided whether or not to deliver good or bad news. (Also, I had chosen a date early in the run, just to be sure. A bad back wasn’t going to ruin things for me this time.) And so I waited.



I HAD MY TICKET! Finally, after a decade, I would get to see David Tennant on stage, as it had always been intended.

Let’s cut, for the last time, to last week when I took my stead, dead centre, six rows from the front, and waited for the show to begin. And then the curtains parted, and other actors were on stage, being funny, doing their job until…

There he was. The man, the Doctor, the Tennant.

He was cheeky, he was suave, he was damaged, he was brilliant. It was a role he was born to play and oh how happy I was to see it.

My kind of theatre
Afterwards, as I caught the bus home, warmed with a re-ignited bonfire in my soul, I happily rewrote history. No longer was Hamlet the dire missed opportunity of my past. Instead, it was a precursor to what was to come. And as other, no longer buried, missed opportunities began to surface, I promised myself that I would continue to rewrite my history in this, my v.2 life.


  1. Was he Don Juan in Scots or English? Twenty-six? You're only twenty-six? Get out of town! Miss you still.X

  2. Alas he was English. His native Scottish drawl would have been my pref! And, alas, if only I was still 26! But I did make my 26-year-old self v happy when I saw this play. She was still upset about Hamlet weeeellll into her 30s.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

On the existential crisis of the weekend

  Weekends used to be what life was for. Two days of freedom and relief from the weekday routine, from the grind of office life, from waking up with an alarm. The sweet, giddy euphoria of a Friday night was made all the more intoxicating if you had plans to socialise, go to a gig, watch a film, eat at your local Italian. Not only did you get your socialising/culture/food fix in, but you then had two more days of doing the very same thing. The weekend also offered endless pottering-around-the-house hours since usually it was a space you scarcely saw during the week. A Saturday started with a little light cleaning was one sure way to make you feel as if you were ahead in the productivity stakes, and made the Netflix binge that followed feel earned.   Friday night was balanced out by the cold sweats of Sunday evening but still, the weekend was always worth it, regardless of whether you didn’t move from the couch after Friday night work drinks, or because you p

On my first trip abroad

  I took my first overseas trip when I was in year eleven. It was to Noum é a, New Caledonia and it almost didn’t happen. The trip’s purpose was to improve the French language skills of those of us insistent on studying French during our last two years of school, believing the subject a necessity for our futures when we would most certainly be in Paris living our best French lives being all Parisian and speaking fluent French and just being all chic in our Frenchness and you get the picture. The first step on this road to being so Frenchy so chic, was a week’s trip to this South Pacific island wherein we would live with the locals, have 3-hour French lessons each day and immerse ourselves in the otherworldness that comes with visiting a place far removed from that in which you live. But whether it was the 3-hour lessons or the 3-hour flight, not enough of my classmates put their hands up to make this trip a reality. Cue teenage woe-is-me angst, the shedding of many tears, threats

On learning a new skill

So how many new skills have you mastered during this Covid-19? Are you fluent in Latin? French? Turkish? Is your personal brand lighting up Twitter/Instagram/Facebook as you sell the wellness candles you cooked up in the kitchen after you created an online festival but before finishing a new dress made from scraps around the house you can wear when you next meet a friend for ‘exercise’ with a keep cup full of ‘coffee’? Spoiler, it has wine inside. Thought so. But guess what. It seems that if you haven’t managed to generally improve yourself, and a substantial number of people online, during this dire time of unprecedented crappness, then apparently you’re doing it wrong. (Bonus points if said improvement was expressed in a language other than that with which you were born). Having missed this chance at enlightenment earlier in the Covid-19 mayhem, this week I decided to give it a go. To change up lockdown life for the better. I vowed that no longer would I spend my