Thursday 17 Apr 2014
The Royal Shakespeare Company's award-winning production of Hamlet, directed by RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran, and with David Tennant in the title role, will premiere on BBC Two later this year.
Produced by Illuminations, the screen version of Shakespeare's great tragedy will retain the quality and tone of the critically-acclaimed stage production but filming will take place on location.
All key original members of the cast, including Patrick Stewart as Claudius, are confirmed to star in this special 180-minute production, alongside the same creative team.
Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, says: "This is a wonderful opportunity for BBC Two to bring one of the great stage successes of last year to a wider audience."
RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: "We are very pleased that this RSC production will be seen by so many people when broadcast.
"As the show was sold out for its entire run, this is a really great opportunity for our work to be seen by so many who could not come to the theatre and see it on stage."
Filming begins in June for broadcast later this year on BBC Two.
Broadcasts in the United States and Japan will follow in 2010.
Illuminations previously worked with Doran and the RSC on the filmed version of Macbeth with Antony Sher and Harriet Walter.
Chris Seager is in post as Director of Photography; Robert Jones, who designed the stage production, will also design the film and, as on stage, the music is composed by Paul Englishby, the movement director is Mike Ashcroft and the fight director is Terry King.
John Wyver is the producer for Illuminations and Bethan Jones is executive producer for BBC Wales. The project was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and George Entwistle, Controller, BBC Knowledge Commissioning.
The director Gregory Doran said: "Contrary to press reports at the time, the RSC always had plans to make a recording of this production but had the inevitable long journey in getting the cast together again and securing funding for this project. The Hamlet cast and the RSC are all really delighted that we now have the chance to share this show with audiences around the world, and I would like to thank all those involved in making this plan a reality at last."
To support the new film of Hamlet, a rich online BBC site is being created in collaboration with the RSC. It will feature behind-the-scenes stills and footage; specially-shot interviews with the actors talking about their characters and how they've approached the play; further interviews, with the director and other key backstage personnel; and a comprehensive range of links through to the full depth of BBC Learning's content on Shakespeare and RSC Education's content on Shakespeare in performance.
George Entwistle said: "We hope we can use our experience in building compelling online sites to encourage a large TV audience to pursue their interest in Hamlet and Shakespeare as far as possible, off the back of a superb TV version of the play."
David Ajala (Reynaldo), Sam Alexander (Rosencrantz and Second Gravedigger), Edward Bennett (Laertes), Ricky Champ (Lucianus), Ewen Cummins (Barnardo), Robert Curtis (Franciso), Tom Davey (Guildenstern), Peter De Jersey (Horatio), Penny Downie (Gertrude), Oliver Ford Davies (Polonius), Samuel Dutton (Lord), Ryan Gage (Osric), Mariah Gale (Ophelia), Mark Hadfield (Gravedigger), Andrea Harris (Lady), Jim Hooper (Priest), Keith Osborn (Marcellus), Roderick Smith (Lord and Captain), Patrick Stewart (Claudius/Ghost), Riann Steele (Lady), David Tennant (Hamlet), Zoe Thorne (Lady and Player), John Woodvine (Player King).
The original stage production of Hamlet played in repertoire at The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from 24 July to 15 November 2008, followed by perfomances at the Novello Theatre, London from 3 December 2008 to 10 January 2009