David Tennant on Playing the Dane

Saturday 23rd October 2010
BBC Radio Four


On Saturday 23rd October at 8pm (repeated on Monday 25th at 3pm) BBC Radio 4 aired a documentary on Hamlet, including David Tennant's interpretation. It was presented by Michael Sheen who will be playing the role in London in 2011.

The BBC described the programme as:
"In anticipation of his own stage Hamlet in 2011, Michael Sheen looks back at classic productions of the play and the many different interpretations of a young actor's most coveted role.
The last few years have seen a glut of high-profile Hamlets in the British theatre, culminating recently with Rory Kinnear at the National Theatre in London and John Simm at Sheffield Crucible.
Michael Sheen, who is due to play the role at the Young Vic in 2011, asks why Shakespeare's play remains very much the thing for 21st century audiences.
He considers the rich archive of Hamlets from the theatre, cinema and radio archives, starting with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1908 and journeying to the present-day, taking in the interpretations of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Jonathan Pryce, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, as well as female Hamlets, Sarah Bernhardt and Frances de la Tour.
Michael explores the challenges of a role that has become a rite-of-passage for leading actors, arguing that Hamlet is the most dangerous play that exists, but that our culture has made it safe.
He examines the changing political, social and psychological interpretations of the role that holds a mirror up to history, from the Edwardian stage through Freud, Modernism and two World Wars, to Thatcherism and New Labour.
Michael is joined by other famous Hamlets, who reflect on the challenges of bringing something fresh and unexpected to some of the most famous lines in English literature.
Produced by Emma Harding.
"

David Tennant was interviewed during the programme and his sections can be heard at approximately 4 minutes, 9 minutes 10 seconds, 17 minutes and 55 seconds, 26 minutes and 29 minutes 40 seconds.

Click here to listen to the hour long programme.

On Sunday 21st November 2010 the David Tennant Treat 4 Today was a compilation clip from this programme of actors performing the "To be or not to be" soliloquy including David Tennant. Click here to listen to it.

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