William Shakespeare has sprained his wrist while writing sonnets, but the Fourth Doctor, who has paid him a visit, gives him some help in drafting Hamlet. However, the phrase "take arms against a sea of troubles" ends up remaining in the play at Shakespeare's insistence, despite the Doctor claiming that it is a mixed metaphor.
to be added
- In the accompanying illustration by John Molyneaux, Shakespeare is designed to look like his predecessor in the television story The Chase.
- The title of the story is based on the 1989 Peter Greenaway film, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
- The Doctor would later tell his companion Leela that Shakespeare was the greatest poet in the English language "with [his] assistance", (AUDIO: The Foe from the Future) and mentions to Countess Scarlioni that he had helped Shakespeare finish Hamlet. (TV: City of Death)
- During his first incarnation, the Doctor encountered Shakespeare in Venice in 1609 in the company of Vicki Pallister and Steven Taylor. On that occasion, Shakespeare told him that another man who called himself "the Doctor" had helped him to finish Hamlet. He inquired if the First Doctor had a younger brother who was "tall, with curly brown hair." The First Doctor was unaware that Shakespeare was referring to his future self. (PROSE: The Empire of Glass)
- As a young boy, Shakespeare met the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard in the 2050s and briefly travelled in the TARDIS, an incident which would happen for many years in the Doctor's personal timeline. (AUDIO: The Time of the Daleks) Later in his personal timeline, Shakespeare would travel in the TARDIS once again in the company of the Fifth Doctor, Peri Brown, Erimem and King Richard III. (AUDIO: The Kingmaker) Furthermore, the Doctor would encounter Shakespeare again in 1597 during his fifth incarnation (AUDIO: The Kingmaker) and in 1599 during his tenth incarnation. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
- Both Shakespeare's sprained wrist and the mixed metaphor in the first draft of Hamlet were mentioned by the Fourth Doctor to Countess Scarlioni. (TV: City of Death)