David Tennant to play Richard II with the Royal Shakespeare Company

Former Doctor Who star to head the cast in a new production of the Bard's history play this autumn


Former Doctor Who star David Tennant will rejoin the ranks of the Royal Shakespeare Company later this year to play the lead in a new production of Richard II.


Tennant was last involved with the RSC in 2008, when he starred in Hamlet and appeared as Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost. The actor expressed delight at the prospect of treading the boards again.

He said: “I’m very excited about being back at the RSC. It’s my fourth season with the company and it’ll be getting on for 20 years since I was first there. It’s always an honour. If you want to do Shakespeare’s plays, and I do, then, really, it’s the place to do them.”

Tennant also revealed that he’s been a lifelong fan of Richard II and is looking forward to putting his stamp on the play’s leading role.

“I saw Derek Jacobi play Richard II when I was at drama school,” said the 41-year-old.

“He was touring and he came to Glasgow, and it was one of those formative experiences for me. I’ve seen the play many times since and I’ve always been fascinated by it. It felt like there was always something in that part that was extraordinary and enticing, and slightly unknowable.

“[Richard]’s not a hero at all. He’s quite a complicated character, so I’m daunted by the prospect of doing it justice but very excited to get a chance.”

The new production of Richard II will be directed by Gregory Doran, the RSC’s recently appointed director, who oversaw the Tennant-fronted 2008 production of Hamlet.

Written by Shakespeare in about 1595, Richard II was the second of the Bard’s history plays to appear in the earliest known collection of his work, and scholars believe it may have been written as the first in a series of plays about Richard and his successors, Henry IV and Henry V. The title role was played by Skyfall star Ben Whishaw on BBC2 last year as part of the Hollow Crown series.

Richard II will be staged at Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Thursday 10 October until Saturday 16 November. The production will then transfer to the Barbican in London on Monday 9 December, where it will run until 25 January 2014.


Watch Tennant discussing Richard II and its director in this clip: