David Tennant (as Malvolio), Rosie Cavaliero (as Maria), Ron Cook (as Sir Toby Belch), Vanessa Kirby (as Olivia), and James Lailey (as Feste) recording in the studio for BB3’s Radio production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 2012.

[…] At 40, Tennant seems too young (and frankly, too attractive) for the part of Malvolio, the deluded hypocrite who sighs after his young mistress, but the actor makes a spirited case for the casting.

"I’m making him slightly puritanical, and I think he can be any age, really. He’s often played by an older gent, but there’s nothing in the text to tell you to do it that way. He’s the butler, and I think it’s the social divide rather than the age gap that matters. That’s what he dares to presume he might be able to traverse, and I think it’s really interesting in that he might believe himself to have a chance."

If Viola is some hot young thing and Malvolio’s being played by some septuagenarian, that seems rather less likely. “Not,” adds Tennant, hastily “that there aren’t relationships like that which work. Take my wife!” [n January he married 27-year old Georgia Moffett]. “But,” he argues, “I’d say they’re quite rare. Though obviously if I finally play Malvolio aged 75, I’ll be arguing against that.” (x)