UPDATED: David Tennant Says He was 'Terribly Moved' By Gift Of Late Actor's Ring

David Tennant, currently garnering glowing reviews for his performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Richard II, has said that he was "touched and thrilled" to receive the gift of a ring that once belonged to the late actor Ian Richardson.

The ring was sent by Richardson's widow Maroussia. The Scots actor, who is remembered by many as Francis Urquhart in the classic series House Of Cards, also played the lead in Richard II for the RSC in 1973. Maroussia explained that she was keen to maintain the Scottish connection, and as both actors had attended the same drama school it seemed apt that the ring should go to David.

“It’s very nice, I actually used to wear it myself occasionally. I’m not wearing it now, it weighs a ton, for one thing!..I read in the paper that David was about to do it and I thought, that would be a good idea.” she told Rebecca Jones of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“You very sweetly said that you suspected that I was only the second Scottish Richard II there had been and therefore there seemed to be a sort of link and it would be something to pass on.” David added

David explained how the ring came to him.“When I received this which arrived on the press night in a very exciting package, I was so touched and thrilled that this had been passed on to me I immediately wanted to wear it in the performance and I thought it’s lovely to have this as a sort of talisman.” 

Richardson's performance in the play is held up, David said, as “…one of the all-time great productions of Richard II. In all the performance histories that you read, this is one of the ones, if not the one that is always referred to. One of the great things about coming to Stratford is that you feel like you’re stepping into a line of theatrical history. It’s also one of the things that’s rather intimidating about coming here. So, this production that had been something to aspire to, suddenly we had a physical connection to it and it felt like a blessing and encouragement from history, so it was wonderful.” Therefore he was determined to wear the item on stage that night. “I wanted a bit of that legacy. I wanted a bit of Ian Richardson on stage with me giving me a hand!”

Maroussia Richardson has gifted the ring to David permanently, although there was some debate about who it truly belonged to.

“There’s some talk in the building about whether strictly speaking this is RSC property anyway, nobody’s entirely sure! But I’m keeping it now.” laughed David

“In the old days they never used anything twice and the prop room was absolutely crammed," Maroussia added. "You used to go and say to the prop man ‘Would anybody mind if I kept this?’ and nobody ever minded.”

However David feels that the ring should not remain his permanent possession “I’m now committed to passing this on in the fullness of time to make sure that the legacy moves on. I don’t know when there’ll next be a Scottish Richard II. I hope I’m still alive to see it,” he said.

Listen to the interview here

Richard II directed by Gregory Doran is in residence at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until 16th November 2013. It transfers to the Barbican in London on 9th December where it plays until 25th January 2014.
 Both runs are currently sold out but returns may be available: call the RSC on 0844 800 1110 to check availability
The production will be filmed on November 13th and broadcast into cinemas across the UK and worldwide. More information can be found on the RSC Onscreen site. The recorded play will also be released on DVD.

Source: BBC News