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Published on July 21st, 2008 | by Christian Cawley

Hamlet Buzz

Heavily into the rehearsal stage, David Tennant is causing a bit of a buzz among certain sections of the theatre world. Rather delicious pictures of him rehearsing as The Dane opposite Patrick Stewart (to name but one) aside, casting Doctor Who as Hamlet really is an ideal way to take Shakespeare to the masses.

Unless of course your name is Jonathan Miller, who – and I only recently discovered this – declared Tennant’s casting as "celebrity casting" of "that man from Doctor Who".

Hardly the best attitude to take when discussing two much-loved British institutions.

An interesting piece in the Independent takes the Shakespeare-Doctor Who relationship further, and compares a small selection of adventures – classic and modern – to the works of Shakespeare in order to judge how star and fan David Tennant might cope with the work of the Bard.

Some had dabbled with the Dane: Patrick Troughton was Player King to Olivier’s Hamlet, Colin Baker was Laertes to Martin Jarvis’s Hamlet, Christopher Eccleston was a creditable Hamlet for the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002. None, however, had what Tennant has – a long-term commitment to Shakespeare coupled with a spooky command of the arcana of Doctor Who. Should you ever meet him, do put this to the test and ask Tennant whether he recognises a genealogical relationship between the Cybermen, the Voord and the Fishmen of Kandalinga. You’ll get a view.

You’d only get a polite smile from Peter Davison.

It’s a fun piece, with mentions of Genesis of the Daleks and The Masque of Mandragora, as well as the characterisation of the Doctor himself since 2005 and how aspects of each are related to the work of William Shakespeare.

As for the conclusion:

Tennant has already performed one successful act of exorcism. He seems destined to complete a second.

Well don’t put too much pressure on the chap, will you?

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.



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