BBC One’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the adaptation of the classic play from Doctor Who‘s Russell T Davies, is part of the network’s 2016 Shakespeare Season. Originally announced last month in Edinburgh, the one-off TV event has completed casting. The Theory Of Everything’s Maxine Peake will star as Titania with Matt Lucas (Paddington, Bridesmaids) as Bottom, John Hannah (Four Weddings And A Funeral) as Theseus, Eleanor Matsuura (The Lady In The Van) as Hippolyta and newcomer Hiran Abeysekera as Puck.
A truthful version of the original play, it’s set in the tyrannical court of Athens and the magical forest around the city and is aimed at all audiences. Davies last month said he’s “wanted to make this for the BBC for my entire adult life.” It will include “a riot of prosthetics, CGI, magic and action” and be made by the team behind Doctor Who. BBC Cymru Wales is producing in association with BBC Worldwide.
Also, stage veteran Elaine Paige will return to TV to play Mistress Quince. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Richard Wilson, Bernard Cribbins, Javone Prince and Fisayo Akinade.
The BBC is a specialist in bringing plays to television and is increasingly returning to the form. BBC Two recently partnered with Starz on the adaptation of classic stage play The Dresser with Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen. Produced by Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment, it airs later this year.