Tuesday 27 September 2016

Screenwriter adds lesbian kiss to A Midsummer Night's Dream 'because it's 2016'

Published 05/05/2016 | 13:56

TV producer Russell T Davies has adapted Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream into a BBC TV movie
TV producer Russell T Davies has adapted Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream into a BBC TV movie

Russell T Davies has defended his decision to add a lesbian kiss to A Midsummer Night's Dream because "it's 2016".

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The former Doctor Who showrunner has adapted Shakespeare's comedy into a BBC TV movie - but diverging from the original, Titania and Hippolyta share a kiss at the end.

Davies said: " My feeling about the end of the play is that Titania is submissive to Oberon and he gets away with his tricks.

"It's very male-female, male-female, so I wanted to have a man with a man, a man who was dressed as a woman with a man, and a woman with a woman because it's 2016, so that's the world now.

"I wanted children to watch this and see the real world in the middle of this fantasy."

Midsummer Night's Dream stars Maxine Peake as lovelorn fairy queen Titania, John Hannah as King Theseus, and Little Britain star Matt Lucas in the comical role of Bottom.

In this version, due to air on BBC One at the end of May, Theseus is killed and Flute's speech becomes a lament for the king as he is dying.

Davies said Shakespeare plays had been constantly reworked - and so the Bard's fans should not be offended by the re-interpretation.

"If you're a Shakespeare purist, it means you're in love with imagination and drama and truth and fun and honesty," he said.

"The plays reinvent themselves constantly, every generation does them differently, so if there's a problem kiss me instead!"

Davies said it was "quite daunting" to re-imagine Shakespeare.

He said: "There's something sacred about when you sit down at a computer and you're looking at words that have been sat there for 400 years, and I did genuinely feel strange. But you've just got to do it."

The TV producer and screenwriter also revealed an awkward encounter with a taxi driver - who thought he had been working on the detective drama Midsomer Murders.

He said: "I was in a taxi yesterday and the driver said to me, 'What are you working on at the moment Russell?' and I said, 'I've just done A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

"And he went, 'Oh, my wife loves that show!'"

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