Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

Tennant back on stage as Hamlet

David Tennant as Hamlet
Tennant said it had been "impossible to carry on without surgery"

Actor David Tennant has returned to the lead role of Hamlet on the London stage after undergoing back surgery.

Tennant, who is quitting Doctor Who, received an ovation along with his fellow actors, the Royal Shakespeare Company said.

But they added his return would be assessed on a "day by day" basis and theatre-goers are advised to check the website for updates.

The 37-year-old's run at the Novello Theatre is due to finish on 10 January.

Tennant's understudy Edward Bennett, who played Hamlet during his absence, has resumed his role as Laertes.

Bennett received standing ovations when he initially assumed the lead, but mixed reviews from critics.

Tennant paid tribute at the time, saying it was a "fantastic achievement" getting to grips with the part of Hamlet at short notice.

Sell-out

Tennant had an operation for a slipped disc in December, and said his enforced absence from the play was "hugely disappointing".

"My back problem has progressed to the point where it is currently impossible for me to carry on without surgery," he said last month.

Hamlet director Gregory Doran on David Tennant's performance - This was first broadcast in August 2008

He played Hamlet 60 times in Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer ahead of the production's London transfer.

Tickets for the London shows sold out within three hours when they went on sale in September.

Tennant is due to begin filming scenes for a Doctor Who special later this month.

Matt Smith has been unveiled as the next actor to take on the role, and will be seen on screens from 2010.

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SEE ALSO
Tennant out of Hamlet for surgery
10 Dec 08 |  Entertainment
Ovation for Tennant's understudy
10 Dec 08 |  Entertainment
Tennant's Hamlet play sells out
12 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
Mixed response to Tennant's play
06 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
Review: David Tennant in Hamlet
06 Aug 08 |  Entertainment

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