BOLTON'S Sir Ian McKellen has made his long-awaited return as Hamlet, 50 years after first playing the doomed Danish prince.

The veteran star, 82, promised an "age-blind interpretation" of the Shakespearean tragedy at the Theatre Royal in Windsor.

Hamlet is thought to have been about 30 in the original text.

During a photo call, Sir Ian cut a regal figure, looking pensive while wearing a crown.

In another picture he was seen posing with the skull of Yorick - one of the most recognisable scenes in Western literature.

In June, Sir Ian, who is gay, said it was clear to him Hamlet was bisexual.

He told BBC Radio 4's Front Row: "When you come see me you won't see an old man pretending to be an young man, you'll see a man pretending to be a prince, pretending to be an intellectual, pretending to be a neurotic, pretending to love his mother, pretending to love girls and boys.

"You didn't know that was in Hamlet did you?

"It's there, Rosencrantz to Hamlet: 'You did love me once'."

Directed by Sean Mathias, Hamlet also stars Ben Allen, Francesca Annis and Steven Berkoff.

It runs until September 25.