Friday 9 December 2016

Time lord, what fools these mortals be! Tennant jokes in Shakespeare classic

Published 24/05/2016 | 00:11

Russell T Davies told the Radio Times that he turned to his old colleague David Tennant for help
Russell T Davies told the Radio Times that he turned to his old colleague David Tennant for help

Russell T Davies has joked that he "stole" gags from his old time lord David Tennant for his new adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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The former Doctor Who showrunner has adapted William Shakespeare's play for the BBC.

He told the Radio Times that he turned to his old colleague Tennant for help when it came to some of the comic touches.

He said: "To give credit where credit's due, I stole from the best.

"When I embarked on this production, I scrolled down my phone to seek the advice of the greatest expert in Shakespeare I know, David Tennant.

"Sadly, he wasn't free to appear in this production - he would have made a great Moth - but he suggested some brilliant jokes.

"When you see the gag with Bernard Cribbins and a handpump, that's copyright DT."

Davies, 53, first appeared in a production of the play as a schoolboy and said he has always wanted to adapt it for the small screen.

"When I was 21, I directed my own production in the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. And I swear - the arrogance of youth! - I said to myself, this would be great on TV. I'm going to do it one day..." he said.

Davies' programme stars John Hannah as King Theseus, Little Britain's Matt Lucas as Bottom and Maxine Peake as fairy queen Titania.

Peake's version of the character is tattooed, wears leather body armour and has a partially bald head.

"I've shaved - I'm committed to my art," said the actress. "I've got a sort of mad monk, Richard III bowl going on!"

Peake said the punk-rock take on Titania is one of many ways Davies is making the play relevant to a new generation.

She said: "It's brilliant because it's got Russell in there - mischievous and clever and fun and warm and witty, and challenging as well.

"And if you get a younger audience interested at the right age, they know it can be fun."

:: This week's Radio Times is on sale from Tuesday May 24.

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