THE actor who has taken over from Dr Who star David Tennant in the role of Hamlet is former Ledbury Young Farmer Ed Bennett.

Mr Bennett will play the part until further notice for the Royal Shake-speare Company at the Novello Theatre in London because Mr Tennant has suffered a back injury.

It is a big break for Mr Bennett, who lives in Broadway but has a long association with Ledbury Young Farmers, including co-writing the group’s 2006 pantomime The Emperor’s New Clothes, which was staged at the Market Theatre.

Mr Bennett also performed in that production.

Friend Andrew Blandford, the vice-president of Ledbury Young Farmers, said: “Appearing on stage in Ledbury can lead right to the West End!

“We wish Ed all the best. He is a much loved former member of our group.”

Some disappointed Dr Who fans have returned their tickets rather than see a Shakespeare production without Mr Tennant.

But critics have responded warmly to Mr Bennett’s performances.

Sarah Hemming, of the Financial Times, wrote: “Bennett acquitted himself with great credit and composure and was sometimes very good. He doesn’t have Tennant’s mercurial wit but he did make the part his own.”

Mr Bennett was due to play Laertes on stage but fortunately he was also Mr Tennant’s understudy.