David, 39, returned to his roots to star in the new BBC Scotland series Single Father, in which he plays a widowed dad-of-four.
And he decided that to make the onscreen family as real as possible, he needed to get close to the youngsters playing his kids.
So David, who was brought up in Renfrewshire, took them bowling in Glasgow, where the series was filmed.
He said: "We all had such a laugh and threw ourselves into it from the off.
"It was a funny one because we were trying to fashion a family bond to try to make the drama feel as real as possible.
"Instead of lengthy rehearsals on set, we just hung out and got to know each other bowling and playing football in the park."
David had to admit to some unfair tactics in dealing with his onscreen kids - played by Natasha Watson, Chris Hegarty, Robert Dickson and Millie Innes.
He said: "I told them I had been Scottish under-17 Tenpin Bowling Champion just to unnerve them - but it didn't seem to work.
"But, at the end of the day, they had bowling bumpers to help them. Not that I'm bitter, not that I'm being competitive against children."
Single Father is David's first starring role since quitting Doctor Who and making his final appearance as the Time Lord on New Year's day.
The four-part series, filmed earlier this year, is the first time in five years David has worked in Scotland. His last work here was starring in Look Back In Anger at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum theatre.
His last TV acting job in his homeland was A Mug's Game - the story of life in a fishing village - back in 1996.
David added: "It's always great to be back in Glasgow. It's a lovely city - a great city.
"People are so friendly in Glasgow. So it was lovely to stay for an extended period during filming.
David stars with Coronation Street's Suranne Jones in Single Father.
Suranne plays his character Dave's late wife's best friend Sarah, whom Dave starts falling in love with.
David is going further afield for his next role. He is in New Mexico filming his first big Hollywood movie - a remake of 1985 vampire movie Fright Night.
David revealed: "I'm playing a character called Peter Vincent, who's a Las Vegas illusionist who also happens to be an expert on vampires. And, as well as some acting, I've spent a lot of time being sewn into very tight costumes."