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Following John Hurt’s death, we spoke to the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, who shared warm memories of working with him on 2013’s The Day of the Doctor.


When David Tennant returned to Doctor Who in 2013 for the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, he and Matt Smith were joined by acting royalty. It takes someone very special to turn up in in the middle of Doctor Who’s birthday celebrations, and steal the show so effortlessly, but John Hurt was indeed someone very special.

In February 2017, a few days after the news of John Hurt’s death, DWM contacted David Tennant, to reflect on Sir John’s amazing life and career. So, when, precisely, did David first become aware of the name John Hurt?

“That’s a good question!” David pauses, momentarily thrown. “I don’t know. He feels like he’s one of those people who’s always been there. He’s done such an enormous amount of work across such a range of genres… yes, he was always there, wasn’t he? He’s always been one of our great actors. I couldn’t say what the first thing I saw him in was. It’s hard to know now. Obviously Alien would have been something I was very aware of. The Naked Civil Servant too. I think I did see The Naked Civil Servant as a child, but I didn’t really know what was going on until I rewatched it in later years. And I, Claudius! Again, I missed that the first time round, but I was hugely admiring of that when I caught up with that as a young adult. He’s been ubiquitous. I think everyone in the country would know who John was. He was part of our cultural furniture.” I’m five years younger than David, but as a child, I think I first came across John Hurt as the title character in Jim Henson’s 1980s anthology series The Storyteller. Remember that?

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: A tribute to Sir John Hurt, the man who played the War Doctor, featuring contributions from those whose knew and worked with him, including David Tennant; Richard Curtis is interviewed about his Doctor work, including The Curse of Fatal Death and Vincent and the Doctor; showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers' questions; a look at the history of the home video recording of Doctor Who; the SFX of The Invisible Enemy, the story that took on Star Wars; Sydney Newman's attempts to reinvent Doctor Who in the 1980s is revealed; the Time Team watch Day of the Moon; new comic strip adventure as the Doctor faces the original Master in Doorway to Hell part three; DWM interviews the people behind the fanzine Vworp! Vworp! ; plus official news, reviews, previews, the Wotcha! page, prize-winning competitions and more!