SOMETIMES I wish that writers, directors and producers would just leave William Shakespeare alone.

His plays, that is. Sometime, somewhere, there's always someone willing to tinker with the Warwickshire Bard's words and believe they can do better.

I've got news for them, they can't, and shouldn't even try. His plays speak for themselves.

So, as a purist, I spent an agonising hour or two of my life, watching Shakespeare Live try to better the 16th century playwright by re-imagining the end of Hamlet.

Hamlet Act 6: A Comedy, is a one-act written by Dennis Harkness and an attempt to give the Elizabethan tragedy a happy ending.

I don't agree that it is "brilliantly clever and very funny" as the programme alleges. I do agree that they have taken liberties with his tragic masterpiece.

For me, it was a parody of the real thing, and can only be seen as a relatively harmless piece of fun.

The cast, led by Andy Cork and Lynne McCaffrey, as Claudius King of Denmark and his Queen Gertrude, make a good fist of it, and I liked the performances of Dan Darragh as Hamlet and Laurence Parnell as Horatio/Friar.

Shakespeare Live have toured it with sold-out performances in Bath, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Fiddington and Frome, which just goes to show that I am probably wrong to criticise.

John Baker