Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in star Hamlet production
May 30 2009 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IT’S a stellar combination – a Star Trek captain and a Time Lord.
And it is heading for television in a big way.
David Tennant – shortly to quit as Dr Who – has signed up to reprise his role of Hamlet for BBC Two.
And he will be joined by key cast members from the Royal Shakespeare Company production, including Mirfield actor Patrick Stewart as Claudius.
Stewart, of course, made his name as Capt Jean Luc Picard in the hit TV series Star Trek.
But now both stars are keeping their feet very much on the ground.
BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow is delighted the 180-minute screen production of Hamlet has been confirmed.
She said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring one of the great stage successes of last year to a wider audience.”
Tickets for the stage performances, which opened in Stratford-upon-Avon and later moved to London, sold out in hours.
Tennant made his long-awaited appearance as Hamlet in a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production and the critics have declared him a good, if not great, Dane.
And there was also fulsome praise from the critics for Stewart, the Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.
Stewart said: “I have loved Shakespeare all my life. I started reading Shakespeare in my teens and listening to him on the radio.
“I didn’t actually see any Shakespeare until I was 16. I went to London and saw Julius Caesar at the Old Vic. But it became, and I don’t quite know how it happened, an important part of my life.
“And when I became a professional actor, all I wanted to do was classical theatre. And my ambition, from the day I left drama school was to work for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Or, as it was then, the Stratford Memorial Theatre Company.
“But when I started seeing the work that Peter Hall was doing here – The Wars of the Roses and Hamlet – I knew that this was the place I had to be”.