Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Tennant's hopes for Hamlet return

David Tennant
Tennant said he was 'impatient to be back at work'

David Tennant is hoping to return to the Royal Shakespeare Company's current production of Hamlet before it ends its London run on 10 January, he has said.

The 37-year-old had an operation for a slipped disc on 11 December. His understudy, Edward Bennett, has been playing Hamlet since 8 December.

The star told BBC Radio 5 Live it would be "great to get back" and that he would "do my best".

"But obviously I've got to do what I'm told," he added.

"It's supposed to be a six-week recovery period but I seem to be doing quite well so we'll keep monitoring it."

He said that, before he was treated for the slipped disc, the pain had "started getting worse and worse and then I woke up one morning and I couldn't really walk any more".

If I could be on stage I would be so I'm very sorry if that's disappointed people. But we've got great understudies
David Tennant

"There wasn't one defining incident that happened - it was just one of those things," he said.

"If I could be on stage, I would be so I'm very sorry if that's disappointed people. But we've got great understudies with Ed Bennett, whose playing Hamlet, and all the other guys who are understudying.

"I've been working with them all year, I know how good they are, so you won't be disappointed if you go and see the show with them, I promise."

Danish prince

In a statement, the RSC said doctors were "pleased" with the star's progress and his recovery was "encouraging".

"We are not ruling out that he [Tennant] might be able to return to Hamlet during the last week of the run, although we cannot be more specific about the exact date of his possible return," it added.

Tennant's run as Hamlet at the Novello Theatre is due to finish in less than three weeks.

He played the Danish prince 60 times in Stratford-upon-Avon over the summer, ahead of the production's transfer to London.

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