David Tennant in Hamlet
David Tennant in Hamlet
The Royal Shakespeare Company confirmed this afternoon that David Tennant will not be returning to its long sold-out production of Hamlet at the West End's Novello Theatre until sometime after Christmas.

Tennant missed Monday's preview and last night's press performance, which went ahead with his understudy Edward Bennett (who normally performs Laertes) in the title role, following a recurring back injury which has now been identified as a prolapsed disc. He'll undergo surgery tomorrow, but hopes to return to the production on recovery.

While now best known to TV fans for his onscreen adventures in Doctor Who, from which he took a year off to fulfill his RSC commitments, Tennant made his acting debut on stage in his native Scotland. Early in his career, he spent two seasons with the RSC, where his other roles included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Jack in Peter Whelan's The Herbal Bed. His many other stage credits include The Pillowman, Lobby Hero, and Look Back in Anger.

The cast of Hamlet also features Patrick Stewart, who doubles as the Ghost and Claudius, Penny Downie as Gertrude, Oliver Ford-Davies as Polonius, John Woodvine and Mariah Gale as Ophelia. In the cast reshuffle, Tom Davey, normally Guildenstern, has taken over as Laertes, Ricky Champ has taken on the role of Guildenstern, and Robert Curtis is now Lucianus.

For more information, visit www.whatsonstage.com.