David Tennant reveals all about his 'compelling' new thriller Deadwater Fell

David Tennant in Deadwater Fell
(Image credit: Anne Binckebank)

David Tennant tells us why his gripping four-part thriller, Deadwater Fell, is more secretive than Doctor Who or Broadchurch…

A heinous crime sends shockwaves through a small, sleepy Scottish community in C4’s chilling four-part thriller, Deadwater Fell, starring David Tennant.

Set in the fictional village of Kirkdarroch, the drama follows well-liked and trustworthy GP Tom Kendrick (David Tennant) and his wife, Kate (Anna Madeley), who teaches at the local primary school.

With an enviable marriage, three young daughters, a big house and fancy car, their lives seem pretty much perfect – especially to their two best friends, teacher Jess Milner (Cush Jumbo) and her police sergeant partner, Steve Campbell (Matthew McNulty).

But after a fire breaks out at the Kendricks’ house, Kate and her children are found dead, while Tom is rushed to hospital as the sole survivor.

When more details emerge about Kate and the girls’ deaths, mistrust soon sets in within this once close-knit village, where everyone has something to hide…

We caught up with Scottish-born former Time Lord and Good Omens star, David Tennant, to find out more about Deadwater Fell…

What can we expect from Deadwater Fell?

David Tennant: "There’s something about the way that creator Daisy Coulam has written it that keeps pulling the rug out from under you. Just when you think you’ve figured out who the characters are and what they’re doing to each other, there’s another set of left turns that confound you once again. It’s so compelling and ambiguous."

Can you tell us more about your character, Tom Kendrick?

DT: "Tom is very much the centre of the community and his public perception is very important to him. He’s popular, confidant, and has three beautiful children and a beautiful wife. To the outside world, he has the perfect life."

What’s the state of his marriage?

DT: "Tom and Anna are like a power couple, but not every marriage is that straightforward and they have some serious fractures in theirs, which are revealed piece by piece. But all the characters are so full of contradictions and secrets that it’s hard to talk about them without giving something away."

Deadwater Fell

Kate (Anna Madeley) and best friend Jess (Cush Jumbo)

You’re used to keeping tight-lipped about spoilers after starring in Doctor Who and Broadchurch…

DT: "Yes, but of all the shows I’ve starred in, this is the hardest to talk about. At least with Broadchurch, everyone knew it was a whodunit from episode one. With Doctor Who, the spoilers were about which monster would feature that week, or whether Rose Tyler [Billie Piper] would return. That’s all fun stuff to tease an audience, but this is much more delicate."

How does the story unfold?

DT: "A lot of it will play out through flashbacks and viewers will come to understand more about what’s going on retrospectively. You’ll revisit scenes in episode four that you saw briefly in episode one, but you’ll see an extra five seconds, which suddenly makes things seem very different."

MORE: First look at David Tennant playing serial killer Dennis Nilsen

Deadwater Fell

Local police sergeant Steve (Matthew McNulty)

You’re also making your debut as an executive-producer. How did you find that experience?

DT: "It was fascinating, and I was delighted to have more input at an earlier stage. I think I have a relatively light touch, though. I wasn’t shouting and telling people what to do. But I think coming at it from a slightly different perspective, as an actor, can be useful."

Was it like a homecoming for you shooting in Scotland?

DT: "I’m always delighted to have an excuse to go back to Scotland. I was working out of Glasgow and got to see my sister, nieces and nephew. But we shot in a beautiful village called Dunlop. It’s not like where I grew up [in Paisley, outside Glasgow], but it feels like a very recognisable place."

You recently starred as a suspect in Netflix crime drama Criminal. Do you enjoy playing ambiguous characters?

DT: "I've always been quite promiscuous with genres and roles. I like variety, and there’s something appealing about characters that are complicated and unknowable from an acting point of view. But if the writing is good then I’m hooked. Deadwater Fell is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Viewers will be constantly surprised!"

Deadwater Fell airs on Friday 10 January on C4 at 9pm

Senior Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week, What's On TV and whattowatch.com

Rebecca has more than 20 years' experience in journalism and is now writing about all things telly-related for TV Times, TV&Satellite Week, What’s On TV and whattowatch.com.

She’s interviewed all sorts of big-name stars, including Al Pacino, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Winona Ryder, Benedict Cumberbatch and more. She’s also been known to step in front of the camera, dressing up as a 1920s flapper to star in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and co-hosting ITV News at Ten with Mark Austin – all in the line of duty! 

When she’s not quizzing actors, directors and producers, you’ll find her bingeing US dramas and anything horror/sci-fi/zombie-themed. But her greatest love will always be Game of Thrones… just don’t mention the ending!