Hamlet and the Doctor
The idea for Hamlet was first discussed at the court of Elizabeth I. The First Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright and Vicki Pallister used the Time-Space Visualiser to witness Shakespeare's initial rejection of Francis Bacon's thoughts on writing a play about Hamlet. They then saw Shakespeare appear to warm to the idea, once he'd left Bacon's presence. (TV: The Chase)
The First Doctor collaborated with Shakespeare between drafts one and two (PROSE: Byzantium!) and the Fourth Doctor helped Shakespeare write down the final draft of Hamlet after he sprained his wrist writing sonnets. This manuscript was acquired by Scaroth in the 20th century (TV: City of Death, PROSE: The Stranger, The Writer, His Wife and the Mixed Metaphor). The Fourth Doctor later attempted to teach his companion Leela about poetry by introducing her to Hamlet. (AUDIO: The Foe from the Future)
The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones visited Shakespeare in 1599. They inspired Shakespeare to write about father-son relationships, which is the main theme of Hamlet. Shakespeare also confused the name of his deceased son, Hamnet, with Hamlet. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
- This is a nod to the theory that Hamlet's name actually was inspired by Hamnet.
Hamlet and other races
Behind the scenes
In The Chase, Bacon speaks of Hamlet as if he's common knowledge. Indeed, Shakespeare warms to the idea without ever having been told who Hamlet was. The direct implication is that Hamlet is a real person in the DWU. This marks a clear distinction between the DWU and our world. In the real world, Shakespeare never intended that Hamlet be taken as a biography. The character of Hamlet is an entire fiction.
Doctor Who actors in Hamlet
- In 1947, the first telecast version of the play also saw the television debut of actor Patrick Troughton in the role of Horatio.
- A 1948 film version was the cinematic debut of Patrick Troughton in the role of the Player King. The film also had the first major film role for Peter Cushing who played Osric.
- In 1980, Derek Jacobi played Hamlet and Lalla Ward played Ophelia in a BBC TV production of the play, opposite Patrick Stewart as Claudius.
- In 1996, Jacobi took the role of Claudius in a film that starred Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet. Brian Blessed, who had previously played Yrcanos in TV: Mindwarp, played the ghost of King Hamlet.