The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant was set to direct Russell T. Davies’ adaptation of the much-loved Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Richard Wilson, who plays Starveling, one of the Rude Mechanicals (who are acting out the so-called “play within a play”), explains why he took on the role:
“It was the fact that Russell had written it – and David Tennant was going to direct it at one time and so I did it as a favour to him, because I know him very well.”
A little while back, the Internet was abuzz with an image of Tennant meeting with Davies in Cardiff, so it seems likely this is what that meeting was about. It’s a shame he didn’t get to direct the 90-minute show as he’s known to be an expert on the Bard and has appeared in numerous plays by Shakespeare, notably Hamlet and Richard II. He did, nonetheless, contribute to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including a gag for Bernard Cribbins’ character, Snout.
Directing duties, instead, went to another David: Kerr has previously directed such series as Inside No. 9, Fresh Meat, and Judge John Deed.
Wilson calls RTD’s adaptation “very accessible”, and admits:
“There are certain Shakespeare plays I’ve seen many times and I’m still not quite sure what they’re about. Sometimes I think it’s my lack of university education that keeps me out from him – which is a terrible thing to say, because it sounds as if I’m saying you need a university degree to understand him. I know that a lot of children respond to him. But I have problems…”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which also stars Matt Lucas (The Husbands of River Song), Colin McFarlane (Under the Lake/ Before the Flood), and John Hannah (A Touch of Cloth), is on BBC1 or you can catch up on iPlayer.