One of William Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is getting the BBC1 treatment – by none other than former Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T. Davies… and it’s been a project he’s wanted to work on for some time!
The writer, who was the main driving force behind bringing Doctor Who back in 2005, says:
“I’ve wanted to make this for around 30 – 40 years; I’ve been dying to do it! I was in a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was 11 years old, playing Bottom. I loved it and it really opened my eyes to what drama is. We had such a laugh and I’ve loved the play ever since then – it’s the perfect play… I have been thinking about how to adapt this play and what to do with it for decades, especially the interpretation of Theseus. I’ve had a long time to get the text ready in that way, so when it actually came to writing the script it only took a few weeks because I was so certain of what I wanted to do already.”
Under Russell’s reign as showrunner, he charged Gareth Roberts with writing The Shakespeare Code (2007), which speculated about the Bard’s so-called “lost play”, Love’s Labours Won, and Davies wants to reassure fans:
“This is a very faithful version, it’s not a modern translation with MC Bottom putting on a rap, it’s the real play with the real words and the original text. So that was the challenge, to get across that we’re not throwing the baby out of the bath water.
“It’s a beautiful old strong play that has survived for 400 years, it will survive me and it will survive all of us. This is our take on it in 2016 and there are dozens of other versions and takes on it going on right now across the country.”
The 90-minute show stars a host of familiar faces to Doctor Who fans, including Matt Lucas (The Husbands of River Song), Richard Wilson (The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances), Colin McFarlane (Voyage of the Damned; Under the Lake/ Before the Flood), Eleanor Matsuura (The Sontaran Stratagem), and Bernard Cribbins, who played Wilfred Mott during RTD’s era.
The cast also includes Maxine Peake as Titania, John Hannah as Theseus, and Nonso Anozie as Oberon.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set to air on BBC1 on Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May, at 8:30pm.