Click here to edit title

Acting on the radio is challenging, inspiring, delicate and always a privilege.


BBC Radio 4 broadcast this one hour, in depth, look at how the role of Hamlet varies so much from actor to actor.  Michael Sheen, who was about to take on this huge role, was the host of the show.

The show featured clips from various past Hamlet performances from the 1920's through David Tennant's triumph in 2008 and also interspersed were the actor's own thoughts about playing the role.

Playing The Dane aired on October 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm and was produced by Emma Harding.

"The last few years have seen a glut of high-profile Hamlets in the British theatre, culminating recently with Rory Kinnear at the National Theatre in London and John Simm at Sheffield Crucible.

Michael Sheen, who played the role at the Young Vic in 2011, asks why Shakespeare's play remains very much the thing for 21st century audiences.

He considers the rich archive of Hamlets from the theatre, cinema and radio archives, starting with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1908 and journeying to the present-day, taking in the interpretations of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Jonathan Pryce, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, as well as female Hamlets, Sarah Bernhardt and Frances de la Tour.

Michael explores the challenges of a role that has become a rite-of-passage for leading actors, arguing that Hamlet is the most dangerous play that exists, but that our culture has made it safe.

He examines the changing political, social and psychological interpretations of the role that holds a mirror up to history, from the Edwardian stage through Freud, Modernism and two World Wars, to Thatcherism and New Labour." - excerpt from the BBC


Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.