Former Doctor Who David Tennant to take on ‘challenge’ of Richard II for Royal Shakespeare Company!

by Anna Howell

Former Doctor Who, David Tennant is reportedly returning to the Royal Shakespeare Company, five years after audiences and critics hailed his performance as Hamlet, The Independent newspaper reports!

Tennant, who bowed out of the popular BBC family sci-fi entertainment show in 2010, is to play Richard II in the new production as part of a winter season at The Royal Shakespeare Company which is due to include the world premiere of the stage adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.

This announcement is the first made by Gregory Dorans since taking over as artistic director of the RSC from Michael Boyd last year.

The production, which Doran will direct, will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon in October this year.

Of Tennant’s casting Doran admitted the title role of the famous Shakespeare play would be a “challenge”, adding: “Of course Hamlet was a challenge, it’s the Everest. Richard II is written entirely in verse. He has no problem with verse. He breathes it, he makes it sound as if it is completely effortless.”

The director went on to say how the main obstacle for Tennant to overcome in his role would be “the sense of the man’s volatility, fragility; that psychology is more alien to David’s character”

After its opening at the famous Stratford theatre, the production will then move to the equally famous London Barbican Theatre, which was the company’s home for 20 years before moving in 2002, in December, of which Doran commented:

“They are welcoming of our return. We are different to 10 years ago, so is the Barbican.”

David Tennant as Hamlet

David Tennant as Hamlet

As for a new place to permanently call home, the company is still looking around London for somewhere suitable, with looks to be finally settled by 2016 of which Doran mused: “Every option is back on the table.” However it is thought that the Barbican is, at this point, not an option being considered:

“I have no qualms about how it may look if we did discuss that. They may not want us anyway. It is a two way conversation after all,”

Doran said the winter programme “acts as a prologue to a wider plan, stretching forward over the next five years” in which he wishes to include 2014, Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and followed two years later by the 400th anniversary of his death:

“It’s great to be taking the reins of this company that I’ve been around for the past 25 years,” Doran said. “I have been given on a plate a three year plan, which I have expanded into a five year plan.”

The RSC has turned down an approach of becoming part of a wider celebration involving The Globe, the National Theatre, the British Library and the British Museum in 2016.

Watch Tennant discussing his new role in the clip below: