Russell T Davies defends adding lesbian kiss to the BBC's A Midsummer Night's Dream: 'It's 2016'

Davies has reimagined Shakespeare's comedy for a TV film airing at the end of the month

Jess Denham
Friday 06 May 2016 09:19 BST
Russell T Davies will end his take on A Midsummer Night's Dream with a kiss between Titania and Hippolyta
Russell T Davies will end his take on A Midsummer Night's Dream with a kiss between Titania and Hippolyta (Rex Features)

There will be a lesbian kiss in Russell T Davies’ BBC reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream whether Shakespeare aficionados like it or not.

The screenwriter and former Doctor Who showrunner has defended his controversial addition, arguing that there is no reason not to include same-sex romance in 2016.

Davies is diverging from the playwright’s original comedy to make fairy queen Titania and Amazonian queen Hippolyta share a kiss at the end.

“My feeling about the end of the play is that Titania is submissive to Oberon and he gets away with his tricks,” he said. “It’s very male-female, male-female, so I wanted to have a man with a man, a man who was dressed as a woman with a man, and a woman with a woman because it’s 2016, so that’s the world now.”

Davies added that he hopes children will watch his TV movie and “see the real world in the middle of this fantasy”.

The 53-year-old does not think Shakespeare fans should not be offended by the re-interpretation as the Bard’s works have been reinterpreted for centuries. “If you’re a Shakespeare purist, it means you’re in love with imagination and drama and truth and fun and honesty,” he said.

“The plays reinvent themselves constantly, every generation does them differently, so if there’s a problem kiss me instead!”

In his version of A Midsummer Nights Dream, due to air on BBC One at the end of May, Theseus is killed and Flutes speech becomes a lament for the king as he is dying. The film stars Maxine Peake as Titania, John Hannah as King Theseus, and Little Britain star Matt Lucas in the comical role of Bottom.

Davies did admit that “sitting down at a computer and looking at words that have been sat there for 400 years” was “quite daunting”.

“I did genuinely feel strange,” he said. “But you’ve just got to do it.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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