Published on January 2nd, 2009 | by Christian Cawley
Tennant: Doctor Who is High Art
Oh yes, this is a man who knows where it’s at.
Regardless of your opinion of David Tennant, he is a fan of Doctor Who, and at times it really shows. What better example of this than his rejection of the sentiments of Dr Jonathan Miller regarding Tennant’s casting in Hamlet?
To recap, prior to Hamlet opening with David Tennant in the lead, "public intellectual" Jonathan Miller derided the Royal Shakespeare Company’s casting of an established name, referring to Tennant as "that man from Doctor Who".
Tennant has since responded in a recent interview with The Times, anbd his argument is fair:
"Why should there be this sense of snobbery we seem to indulge in? His implication is that Doctor Who is low art and Hamlet is high art. I don’t think it’s true."
He is of course absolutely right. Both were written for mass entertainment. If Tennant as Hamlet was celebrity casting, then it was celebrity casting of utterly the right kind.
Few Hollywood actors would have got the same sort of critical reception and box office success that Tennant brought to Hamlet.
(NB: It is worth pointing out that Dr Jonathan Miller’s derision of Tennant’s casting pretty much ruined his original and very pertinent point – that in casting David Tennant, the RSC missed out on promoting younger talent from regional productions.)