Tag Archives: The Shakespeare Code

Confirmation that Tennant is Leaving Doctor Who?

We got back from Canada to what is possibly confirmation that David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the next series – Beth being a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company had a copy of their 2008 brochure sitting waiting, confirming this Daily Mail story from July, David Tennant is to play Hamlet, and also, somewhat ironically appear as Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, the play at the centre of the Shakespeare Code. The Royal Shakespeare Company issue publicity to their members a month or so before publicity is generally released – so the productions aren’t even listed on their website yet.

Since his performances run from July 24th to November 15th 2008 it seems unlikely that he will be able to film for Doctor Who unless the BBC were willing to do some significant rescheduling.

Having said that, he’s not the only TV sci-fi star appearing in the productions, playing Claudius alongside David Tennant will be none other than Patrick Stewart. Tennant and Stewart together on stage – I guess I might just have to join Beth when she goes up to see that one…

Update: An interesting news release from the BBC today describes as unconfirmed that Tennant will play Hamlet – although obviously the Royal Shakespeare Company members have been told otherwise.

However the news that he will be appearing in three specials during 2009, whilst he is at the RSC, with full scale Doctor Who production resuming in 2009 for a 2010 series does hold out the prospect, even if they aren’t fully confirming that he will appear in the 2010 series, that Tennant is not leaving, and the BBC are adapting their schedules to accommodate him. I can’t see that the BBC would want to deliberately rest one of their top rated, and most financially successful series for any other reason as to accommodate their star – so I can certainly see Tennant climbing up from his position as 24th most influential person in the recent Media Guardian List if that is what has happened!

Update 2: Questioned after winning an award at the TV Quick/TV Choice awards Tennant will neither confirm or deny whether he will be appearing in the series in 2010.

Shakespeare Not Decoded


On paper it had loads going for it, a fantastic recreation of Tudor London, parts filmed in the Globe Theatre, and a writer in Gareth Roberts who had co-written the great pilot episode for The Sarah Jane Adventures, Invasion of the Bane.

However, in much the same way as sometimes an episode can rise above the sum of it’s parts, The Shakespeare Code seemed to just not add up. The Doctor takes Martha to London in 1599, and after Martha quizzes the Doctor on potential perils and paradoxes that could occur, off they go to the nearby Globe Theatre to see a performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost. At the end of the performance, Shakespeare himself comes onto the stage and announces that the next night will be the premier performance of the follow up, Love’s Labour’s Won – the apparently lost Shakespeare play that is listed but of which no copy apparently exists.

However, Shakespeare is being guided by what appears to be a coven of witches, but who are in fact creatures called Carrionites. The creatures had previously been trapped by the eternals, who had imprisoned the creatures with a word back in the distant past, but three of whom had been released by Shakespeare’s words, who they were now manipulating to speak the words to bring forth the remainder of their race.

The whole core of the plot is that the Carrionites have a science based on words, so by speaking a certain combination of words, it creates the gateway to the realm where the Carrionites were imprisoned, and equally, the words spoken at the climax of the episode send the creatures back again.

Ultimately, I think the whole episode floundered on gimmicks. The impression I got from the edition of Doctor Who Confidential that followed it was that the production team thought it would be great to use the Globe Theatre, and to include Shakespeare, and then wrote a plot to fit around it. What was probably most annoying though was the number of times they either did a variation of a Shakespeare line gag, so we had Shakespeare thinks up significant line, Doctor gives Shakespeare significant line, Doctor quotes from someone else and tells Shakespeare he can’t use it, and finally Doctor quotes Shakespeare which Shakespeare likes but then realises is one of his own. Alongside this you also get a couple of Harry Potter references including Expelliarmus being used to get rid of the Carrionites, and just to round it all off the Doctor uses Back to the Future to explain to Martha what will happen to her if the Carrionites are not defeated. Now I know that new Doctor Who has made somewhat a habit of these sorts of references, and having met other historical figures made equivalents of all the Shakespeare gags, but ultimately I think they were overdone this time around, and basically covered up a comparatively weak plot.

Anyway, the good thing about the Doctor Who concept is that if one plot and idea doesn’t quite work, next week there will be a new episode along, so hopefully next week will be an improvement. In Gridlock, the Doctor has his third meeting with the Face of Boe, the point when, as he promised in New Earth to reveal a great secret to “a wandering travellerâ€?, something that would happen on their third and final meeting. So will it be worth the wait? Only a week to go before we find out – then it’s onto Daleks in Manhattan