Russell T Davies to bring Doctor Who magic to A Midsummer Night’s Dream adaptation for BBC1

Writer says he is fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition of making the magical Shakespeare classic about fairies and forbidden love and will pack the film with stylish CGI and magic from the BBC's sci-fi team in Cardiff

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Russell T Davies is adapting William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the BBC.

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The former Doctor Who showrunner is to pen a “bold and accessible” 90-minute version of the comedy for BBC1, the channel’s controller Charlotte Moore revealed at the Edinburgh Television Festival today.

According to Moore, the as-yet-uncast adaptation will be a “truthful version of the play – the original play, the original words, the original Shakespeare”.

She added that it would be “warm and funny” and “will have as much attitude and invention as any theatrical interpretation.”

Davies himself said: “I’ve wanted to make this for the BBC for my entire adult life – and only the BBC can put on a play like this, for all the family, smack-bang in the heart of primetime.  With a riot of prosthetics, CGI, magic and action, it needs the brilliant Doctor Who team in Cardiff to bring it to life.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in the tyrannical court of Athens and starts with two sets of lovers eloping to the forest around the city.

There they encounter a magical world overseen by fairy King and Queen Titania and Oberon and their winged servants. The woods also play host to the ribald Bottom and his Rude Mechanicals who are rehearsing a play for the court and find themselves unwittingly caught between the warring fairy Monarchs. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be filmed in Cardiff’s Roath Lock studios and will air in 2016.

The most recent Russell T Davies drama was the gay themed Cucumber for Channel 4. It was a self-contained eight part series following the consequences of a break-up involving a couple played by Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri.

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You can see Russell T Davies talking about his career in television live at the Radio Times Festival at Hampton Court in London on Friday 25th September – book tickets now!