Tickets to see Doctor Who star David Tennant as Hamlet have sold out in less than three hours, according to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Some 270 people camped outside London's Novello Theatre to purchase tickets, with 6,000 sold in total.

The Scottish star is currently playing the Dane in the RSC production at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, with Sir Patrick Stewart in the roles of Claudius and the Ghost.

And though tickets for the London performances have been quickly snapped up, fans will be able to see the play with on-the-day tickets once shows begin in December.

"We're very pleased that the play in is accruing so much interest," an RSC spokeswoman said.

"The great news for us is that it's encouraging that younger contingent of theatre-goers, which is one of our real aims."

"David has been wonderful in encouraging those people to come," she said of Tennant.

Fans of Tennant and Stewart were banned from having merchandise related to their most famous roles signed during the Stratford performances.

The RSC issued a statement confirming that fans would not be permitted to bring Doctor Who or Star Trek merchandise to be autographed, with only programmes and Hamlet-related products to be signed by the company.

Tennant has previously played Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors for the RSC while Stewart - who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard - recently won a best actor prize in the Evening Standard newspaper's theatre awards for the title role in Rupert Goold's Macbeth revival.

12/09/2008 16:31:38