BBC Television Shakespeare

BBC Television Shakespeare
UK DVD Box-Set
Also known as The Shakespeare Collection (UK)
The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (US)
Genre Comedy, Tragedy, History
Created by Cedric Messina
Written by William Shakespeare
Theme music composer William Walton (Seasons 1 & 2)
Stephen Oliver (Seasons 3-5)
Country of origin UK
Original language(s) English
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 37
Production
Producer(s) Cedric Messina (Seasons 1 & 2)
Jonathan Miller (Seasons 3 & 4)
Shaun Sutton (Seasons 5, 6 & 7)
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Production company(s) BBC Television
Time Life
Distributor 2 Entertain
Release
Original channel BBC2
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Monaural
Original release 3 December 1978 (1978-12-03) – 27 April 1985 (1985-04-27)
External links
Production website

The BBC Television Shakespeare is a series of British television adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare, created by Cedric Messina and broadcast by BBC Television. Transmitted in the UK from 3 December 1978 to 27 April 1985, the series spanned seven seasons and thirty-seven episodes.

Development began in 1975 when Messina saw that the grounds of Glamis Castle would make a perfect location for an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It for the Play of the Month series. Upon returning to London, however, he had come to envision an entire series devoted exclusively to the dramatic works of Shakespeare. When he encountered a less than enthusiastic response from the BBC's departmental heads, Messina bypassed the usual channels and took his idea directly to the top of the BBC hierarchy, who greenlighted the show. Experiencing financial, logistical and creative problems in the early days of production, Messina persevered and served as executive producer for two years. When he was replaced by Jonathan Miller at the start of season three, the show experienced something of a creative renaissance as strictures on the directors' interpretations of the plays were loosened, a policy continued under Shaun Sutton, who took over as executive producer for seasons five, six and seven. By the end of its run, the series had proved both a ratings and a financial success.

Initially the adaptations received generally negative reviews, although the reception improved somewhat as the series went on, and directors were allowed more freedom, leading to interpretations becoming more daring. Several episodes are now held in high esteem, particularly some of the traditionally lesser known and less frequently staged plays. The complete set is a popular collection, and several episodes represent the only non-theatrical production of the particular play currently available on DVD.

Contents

  • Introduction 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Shakespeare on the BBC 1.2
    • Funding 1.3
    • Rejected plans 1.4
    • Realism 1.5
    • UK publicity 1.6
    • US publicity 1.7
    • Scheduling 1.8
    • Production 1.9
      • Early restrictions 1.9.1
      • Seasons 1 and 2 (Cedric Messina, producer) 1.9.2
      • Seasons 3 and 4 (Jonathan Miller, producer) 1.9.3
      • Seasons 5, 6 and 7 (Shaun Sutton, producer) 1.9.4
      • Reception 1.9.5
  • Plays 2
    • Season one; Cedric Messina, producer 2.1
      • Romeo & Juliet 2.1.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.1.1.1
      • King Richard the Second 2.1.2
        • Behind the scenes 2.1.2.1
      • As You Like It 2.1.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.1.3.1
      • Julius Caesar 2.1.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.1.4.1
      • Measure for Measure 2.1.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.1.5.1
      • The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight 2.1.6
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.1.6.1
    • Season two; Cedric Messina, producer 2.2
      • The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, with the life and death of Henry surnamed Hotspur 2.2.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.1.1
      • The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth containing his Death: and the Coronation of King Henry the Fift 2.2.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.2.1
      • The Life of Henry the Fift 2.2.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.3.1
      • Twelfth Night 2.2.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.4.1
      • The Tempest 2.2.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.5.1
      • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 2.2.6
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.2.6.1
    • Season three; Jonathan Miller, producer 2.3
      • The Taming of the Shrew 2.3.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.1.1
      • The Merchant of Venice 2.3.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.2.1
      • All's Well That Ends Well 2.3.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.3.1
      • The Winter's Tale 2.3.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.4.1
      • Timon of Athens 2.3.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.5.1
      • Antony & Cleopatra 2.3.6
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.3.6.1
    • Season four; Jonathan Miller, producer 2.4
      • Othello 2.4.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.4.1.1
      • Troilus & Cressida 2.4.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.4.2.1
      • A Midsummer Night's Dream 2.4.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.4.3.1
    • Season Five; Shaun Sutton, producer 2.5
      • King Lear 2.5.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.1.1
      • The Merry Wives of Windsor 2.5.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.2.1
      • The First Part of Henry the Sixt 2.5.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.3.1
      • The Second Part of Henry the Sixt 2.5.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.4.1
      • The Third Part of Henry the Sixt 2.5.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.5.1
      • The Tragedy of Richard III 2.5.6
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.5.6.1
    • Season six; Shaun Sutton, producer 2.6
      • Cymbeline 2.6.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.6.1.1
      • Macbeth 2.6.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.6.2.1
      • The Comedy of Errors 2.6.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.6.3.1
      • The Two Gentlemen of Verona 2.6.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.6.4.1
      • The Tragedy of Coriolanus 2.6.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.6.5.1
    • Season seven; Shaun Sutton, producer 2.7
      • The Life and Death of King John 2.7.1
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.7.1.1
      • Pericles, Prince of Tyre 2.7.2
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.7.2.1
      • Much Ado About Nothing 2.7.3
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.7.3.1
      • Love's Labour's Lost 2.7.4
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.7.4.1
      • Titus Andronicus 2.7.5
        • Behind-the-scenes 2.7.5.1
  • Omissions and changes 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Introduction

Origins

The concept for the series originated in 1975 with Cedric Messina, a BBC producer who specialised in television productions of theatrical classics, while he was on location at Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland, shooting an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's The Little Minister for the BBC's Play of the Month series.[1] During his time on set, Messina realised that the castle grounds would make a perfect location for an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It. By the time he had returned to London, however, his idea had grown considerably, and he now envisioned an entire series devoted exclusively to the dramatic work of Shakespeare; a series which would adapt all thirty-seven Shakespearean plays.[2]

Almost immediately upon pitching the idea to his colleagues, however, Messina began to encounter problems. He had anticipated that everyone in the BBC would be excited about the concept, but this did not prove so. In particular, the Drama/Plays division felt the series could not possibly be a financial success without international sales, which they did not see as likely. Furthermore, they argued that Shakespeare on television rarely worked, and they were of the opinion that there was simply no need to do all thirty-seven plays, as many were obscure and would not find an audience amongst the general public, even in England. Disappointed with their lack of enthusiasm, Messina went over the departmental heads, forwarding his proposal directly to Director of Programmes, [4] Writing several months into production, journalist Henry Fenwick wrote the project was "gloriously British, gloriously BBC."[5]

Shakespeare on the BBC

The BBC had screened many Shakespearean adaptations before, and by 1978, the only plays which they had not shown in specifically made-for-TV adaptations were Henry Oscar as Henry and Yvonne Arnaud as Katherine.[8] O'Ferrall would oversee numerous broadcasts of Shakespearean extracts over the course of 1937, including Mark Antony's funeral speech from Julius Caesar, with Henry Oscar as Antony (11 February),[9] several scenes between Benedick and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, featuring Henry Oscar and Margaretta Scott (also 11 February),[10] several scenes between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth from Macbeth, starring Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson (25 March),[11] and a heavily truncated version of Othello, starring Baliol Holloway as Othello, Celia Johnson as Desdemona and D.A. Clarke-Smith as Iago (14 December).[12]

Other 1937 productions included two different screenings of scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream; one directed by Dallas Bower, starring Patricia Hilliard as Titania and Hay Petrie as Nick Bottom (18 February),[13] the other an extract from Stephen Thomas' Regent's Park production, starring Alexander Knox as Oberon and Thea Holme as Titania, aired as part of the celebrations for Shakespeare's birthday (23 April).[13] 1937 also saw the broadcast of the wooing scene from Richard III, directed by Stephen Thomas, and starring Ernest Milton as Richard and Beatrix Lehmann as Lady Anne (9 April).[14] In 1938, the first full-length broadcast of a Shakespearean play took place; Dallas Bower's modern dress production of Julius Caesar at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, starring D.A. Clark-Smith as Mark Antony and Ernest Milton as Caesar (24 July).[15] The following year saw the first feature length made-for-TV production; The Tempest, also directed by Bower, and starring John Abbott as Prospero and Peggy Ashcroft as Miranda (5 February).[12] The vast majority of these transmissions were broadcast live, and they came to an end with the onset of war in 1939. None of them survive now.

After the war, Shakespearean adaptations were screened much less frequently, and tended to be more 'significant' specifically made-for-TV productions. In 1947, for example, O'Ferrall directed a two-part adaptation of Michael David as The Dauphin (19 May 1953);[20] a Sunday Night Theatre live performance of Lionel Harris' musical production of The Comedy of Errors, starring David Pool as Antipholus of Ephesus and Paul Hansard as Antipholus of Syracuse (16 May 1954);[21] and The Life of Henry the Fifth, the inaugural programme of BBC's new World Theatre series, directed by Peter Dews, and starring John Neville as Henry and John Wood as The Dauphin (29 December 1957).[18]

There were also four multi-part made-for-TV Shakespearean adaptations shown during the 1950s and 1960s; three specifically conceived as TV productions, one a TV adaptation of a stage production. The first was The Life and Death of Sir John Falstaff (1959). Produced and directed by Ronald Eyre, and starring Roger Livesey as Falstaff, the series took all of the Falstaff scenes from the Henriad and adapted them into seven thirty minute episodes.[22] The second was An Age of Kings (1960). Produced by Peter Dews and directed by Michael Hayes, the show comprised fifteen episodes between sixty and eighty minutes each, which adapted all eight of Shakespeare's sequential history plays (Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III).[23][24] The third was The Spread of the Eagle (1963), directed and produced by Dews. Featuring nine sixty minute episodes, the series adapted the Roman plays, in chronological order of the real life events depicted; Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.[25] The fourth series was not an original TV production, but a made-for-TV "re-imagining" of a stage production; The Wars of the Roses, which was screened in both 1965 and 1966. The Wars of the Roses was a three part adaptation of Shakespeare's first historical tetralogy (1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III) which had been staged to great critical and commercial success at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1963, adapted by John Barton, and directed by Barton and Peter Hall. At the end of its run, the production was remounted for TV, shot on the actual Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage, using the same set as the theatrical production, but not during live performances. Directed for television by Michael Hayes and Robin Midgley, it originally aired in 1965 as a three parter, just as the plays had been staged (the three parts were called Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III). Due to the popularity of the 1965 broadcast, the series was again screen in 1966, but the three plays were divided up into ten episodes of fifty minutes each.[26][27]

Although An Age of Kings, which was the most expensive and ambitious Shakespearean production up to that point was a critical and commercial success, The Spread of the Eagle was not, and afterwards, the BBC decided to return to smaller scale productions with less financial risk.[28] In 1964, for example, they screened a live performance of Elsinore Castle.[30] In 1970, they screened The Tragedy of Richard II, sourced from Richard Cottrell's touring production, and starring Ian McKellen as Richard and Timothy West as Bolingbroke.[31]

Additionally, the Play of the Month series had screened several Shakespearean adaptations over the years; Romeo and Juliet (1967), The Tempest (1968), Julius Caesar (1969), Macbeth (1970), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1971), The Merchant of Venice (1972), Love's Labour's Lost (1974) and King Lear (1975).

Funding

The BBC Television Shakespeare project was the most ambitious engagement with Shakespeare ever undertaken by either a television or film production company. So large was the project that the BBC could not finance it alone, requiring a North American partner who could guarantee access to the United States market, deemed essential for the series to recoup its costs. In their efforts to source this funding, the BBC met with some initial good luck. Cedric Messina's script editor,

  • British Universities Film and Video Council
  • The BBC Television Shakespeare at Screenonline (Archived at WebCite)
  • "The Television Revolution" (Archived at WebCite)

External links

  1. ^ Willis, Susan (1991). The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. p. 3.  
  2. ^ At the time, Shakespeare's complete canon was considered thirty-seven plays; seventeen comedies, ten tragedies, and ten histories. These comprised the thirty-six plays of the First Folio (1623), plus Pericles, Prince of Tyre from the second impression of the Third Folio (1664). As The Two Noble Kinsmen was considered primarily the work of John Fletcher, Shakespeare's authorship of Edward III was still in doubt, his involvement with Sir Thomas More confined to one scene, and the situation involving Cardenio/Double Falshood far from certain, these four plays were not included.
  3. ^ Willis, p. 4.
  4. ^ a b Willis, p. 5.
  5. ^ Fenwick, Henry (24 September 1978). "Transatlantic Row Breaks over the BBC's Most Ambitious Drama Series".  
  6. ^ a b Willis, p. 8.
  7. ^ Rothwell, Kenneth S. (2004) [1999]. A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 91.  
  8. ^ Rothwell, Kenneth S.; Henkin Melzer, Annabelle (1990). Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and Videography. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman. p. 11.  
  9. ^ Greenhalgh, Susanne (2006). ""True to you in my fashion": Shakespeare on British Broadcast Television". In Burt, Richard. Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture. Volume Two. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 690.  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Rothwell, Kenneth S.; Henkin Melzer, Annabelle (1990). Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and Videography. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman. p. 152.  
  12. ^ a b Rothwell, Kenneth S. (2004) [1999]. A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 94.  
  13. ^ a b Greenhalgh, Susanne (2006). ""True to you in my fashion": Shakespeare on British Broadcast Television". In Burt, Richard. Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture. Volume Two. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 703.  
  14. ^ Willis, p. 322.
  15. ^ Rothwell, Kenneth S. (2004) [1999]. A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 92.  
  16. ^  
  17. ^ Shewring, Margaret (1996). Shakespeare in Performance: Richard II. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 142.  
  18. ^ a b Smith, Emma, ed. (2002). Henry V. Shakespeare in Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 70.  
  19. ^ Schafer, Elizabeth, ed. (2002). The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare in Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 69.  
  20. ^ Díaz Fernández, José Ramón (2008). "The Henriad: An Annotated Filmo-Bibliography". In Vienne-Guerrin, Nathalie. Shakespeare on Screen: The Henriad. Rouen: Université de Rouen. p. 336.  
  21. ^  
  22. ^ Smith, Emma (2007). "Shakespeare Serialized: An Age of Kings". In Shaughnessy, Robert. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 136.  
  23. ^ Lennox, Patricia (2001). "Henry VI: A Television History in Four Parts". In Pendleton, Thomas A. Henry VI: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. pp. 235–241.  
  24. ^ Smith, Emma (2007). "Shakespeare Serialized: An Age of Kings". In Shaughnessy, Robert. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 134–149.  
  25. ^ Hatchuel, Sarah (2011). Shakespeare and the Cleopatra/Caesar Intertext: Sequel, Conflation, Remake. Plymouth: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 33–34.  
  26. ^ Willis, p. 328.
  27. ^ Lennox, Patricia (2001). "Henry VI: A Television History in Four Parts". In Pendleton, Thomas A. Henry VI: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. pp. 241–245.  
  28. ^ Brooke, Michael. "The Spread of the Eagle".  
  29. ^  
  30. ^ Rothwell, Kenneth S. (2004) [1999]. A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 103.  
  31. ^ Shewring, Margaret (1996). Shakespeare in Performance: Richard II. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 81.  
  32. ^ a b Willis, p. 9.
  33. ^ a b c d Willis, p. 14.
  34. ^ Quoted in Willis, p. 10.
  35. ^ a b c d Willis, p. 13.
  36. ^  
  37. ^ a b c Wiggins, Martin (2005). The (BBC DVD) Shakespeare Collection: Viewing Notes (booklet included with DVD box-set). London: BBC Video. p. 6. 
  38. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1978). Romeo & Juliet. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. pp. 20–21.  
  39. ^ a b Willis, p. 88.
  40. ^ Wilders, John (10 July 1981). "Adjusting the Sets".  
  41. ^ Willis, p. 35.
  42. ^ A complete list of the Prefaces to Shakespeare episodes, with details on each presenter and content, can be found here
  43. ^ A complete list of the Shakespeare in Perspective episodes, with details on each presenter and content, can be found here
  44. ^ Quoted in Willis, p. 42.
  45. ^ Willis, p. 43.
  46. ^  
  47. ^ Willis, pp. 35-36.
  48. ^ Willis, p. 36.
  49. ^ Willis, p. 37.
  50. ^ Willis, p. 45.
  51. ^ Willis, pp. 45-46.
  52. ^ a b Willis, p. 46.
  53. ^ Willis, p. 334n68.
  54. ^ Willis, p. 32.
  55. ^ See Willis, pp. 60-61.
  56. ^ Willis, pp. 62-63.
  57. ^ Willis, pp. 10-11.
  58. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1978). Romeo & Juliet. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 21.  
  59. ^ Willis, p. 11.
  60. ^ Andrews, John F. (Spring 1979). "The Shakespeare Plays"Cedric Messina discusses .   (subscription required)
  61. ^ Willis, pp. 12-13.
  62. ^ a b c Willis, p. 24.
  63. ^ Banham, Martin (March 1980). "BBC Television's Dull Shakespeares".   (subscription required)
  64. ^ Willis, p. 53.
  65. ^ a b "Shakespeare in Performance: Film - Much Ado about Nothing (1978, Donald McWhinnie)".  
  66. ^ a b Coburn, Randy Sue (25 January 1979). "Shakespeare Comes to the Colonies".  
  67. ^ a b "BBC scrap £1/4m Much Ado".  
  68. ^ a b Lawson, Mark (29 June 2012). : as good as TV Shakespeare can get?"The Hollow Crown".  
  69. ^ Willis, pp. 15-16.
  70. ^ Irwin, Ken (2 December 1978). "A Date with Bard's Birds".  
  71. ^ Willis, pp. 16-17.
  72. ^ Willis, pp. 17-18.
  73. ^ a b Willis, p. 101.
  74. ^ Hallinan, Tim (Summer 1981). "Jonathan Miller on the Shakespeare Plays".   (subscription required)
  75. ^ Hallinan, Tim (Summer 1981). "Jonathan Miller on the Shakespeare Plays".   (subscription required)
  76. ^ a b c Willis, p. 27.
  77. ^ a b c d e Willis, p. 111.
  78. ^  
  79. ^  
  80. ^ a b Quoted in Fenwick, Henry (18–24 October 1980). "To Be Or Not To Be A Producer".  
  81. ^ Quoted in Willis, pp. 114-115.
  82. ^  
  83. ^ a b Willis, p. 26.
  84. ^ Quoted in Griffin-Beale, Christopher (8 February 1982). "All's Well That Ends Well for BBC Bardathon".  
  85. ^ Quoted in Maher, Mary Z. (October 1986). "The Shakespeare Plays"Shaun Sutton at the End of the Series: . Literature/Film Quarterly 14 (4): 190. Retrieved 12 September 2014.  (subscription required)
  86. ^ Quoted in Donovan, Paul (18 September 1982). "The Bard's in the Black".  
  87. ^ Willis, p. 333n60.
  88. ^ Smith, Cecil (26 May 1985). "Good Night, Sweet Series, Parting is Such...Or Is It?".  
  89. ^  
  90. ^ Last, Richard (11 December 1978). "Shakespeare Creates Boxed-In Feeling".  
  91. ^ Nicholson, Christopher (11 December 1978). "A Precious Stone Called Culture".  
  92. ^ Day-Lewis, Sean (5 March 1979). "Years of the Bard".  
  93. ^ Reynolds, Stanley (28 February 1980). "Review of The Tempest".  
  94. ^ Rissik, Andrew (February 1985). "BBC Shakespeare: Much to be Desired".  
  95. ^ Quoted in Day-Lewis, Sean (24 January 1983). "History in an Adventure Playground".  
  96. ^ Willis, p. 16.
  97. ^ a b  
  98. ^ Willis, pp. 201-202.
  99. ^ Willis, p. 202.
  100. ^ a b c Willis, p. 190.
  101. ^ Willis, p. 93.
  102. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1979). Julius Caesar. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 20.  
  103. ^ Kliman, Bernice W. (December 1979). "Wilders Interview at MLA". Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 4 (1): 3. 
  104. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1979). Measure for Measure. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 19.  
  105. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1979). Measure for Measure. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 25.  
  106. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1979). Measure for Measure. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 24.  
  107. ^ "Kent Film Office Henry VIII (1979)". Kent Film Office. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  108. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1979). The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 22.  
  109. ^ Willis, p. 189.
  110. ^ Brooke, Michael. (1979)"Henry IV, Part II".  
  111. ^ a b Willis, p. 19.
  112. ^ a b c Wiggins, p. 4.
  113. ^ Willis, p. 191.
  114. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1980). The Tempest. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 19.  
  115. ^ Willis, p. 20.
  116. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1980). Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 18.  
  117. ^ Willis, p. 39.
  118. ^ Schafer, Elizabeth, ed. (2002). The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare in Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 72–73.  
  119. ^ Brooke, Michael. (1980)"The Taming of the Shrew".  
  120. ^ Quoted in Henderson, Diana E. (2003). "A Shrew for the Times, Revisited". In Boose, Lynda E.; Burt, Richard. Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and DVD. London: Routledge. p. 123.  
  121. ^ Quoted in Romain, Michael (1992). A Profile of Jonathan Miller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 134.  
  122. ^  
  123. ^ Dunkley, Chris (24 October 1980). "The Taming of the Shrew Review".  
  124. ^ Quoted in  
  125. ^ Hodgdon, Barbara, ed. (2010). The Taming of the Shrew. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Methuen. pp. 120–121.  
  126. ^  
  127. ^ Henderson, Diana E. (2003). "A Shrew for the Times, Revisited". In Burt, Richard; Boose, Lynda E. Boose. Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and DVD. London: Routledge. pp. 122, 138n5.  
  128. ^ For more information on this production, see  
  129. ^ All information in this section is taken from Willis, pp. 37-38.
  130. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1980). The Merchant of Venice. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 20.  
  131. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1981). All's Well That Ends Well. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 26.  
  132. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1981). All's Well That Ends Well. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 25.  
  133. ^ Willis, p. 137.
  134. ^ Willis, p. 144.
  135. ^ Willis, p. 149.
  136. ^ Willis, p. 150.
  137. ^ a b Willis, p. 125.
  138. ^ a b Willis, p. 127.
  139. ^ a b c d e f g The first transmission date in the United States is earlier than that in the United Kingdom.
  140. ^ Willis, 110-111
  141. ^ a b Wiggins, 7
  142. ^ John Wilders (ed.), BBC-TV Shakespeare: Othello (London: BBC Books, 1982), 20
  143. ^ Willis 67-68
  144. ^ John Wilders (ed.), BBC-TV Shakespeare: Othello (London: BBC Books, 1982), 26
  145. ^ a b Willis, p. 230.
  146. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1982). Troilus and Cressida. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 28.  
  147. ^ Quoted in Willis, p. 229.
  148. ^ For a detailed overview of the production of this episode, see Willis p. 229-259.
  149. ^ Willis, p. 69.
  150. ^ Willis, p. 72.
  151. ^ Willis, p. 17
  152. ^ Willis, p. 128.
  153. ^ Willis, p. 129.
  154. ^ Willis, p. 130.
  155. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1982). The Merry Wives of Windsor. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. pp. 18–19.  
  156. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1982). The Merry Wives of Windsor. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. pp. 25–26.  
  157. ^ a b c This episode was re-edited for US broadcast, split in two and shown on different days; beginning at twelve noon on successive Sundays; for more information, see Willis, pp. 62-63.
  158. ^ Quoted in  
  159. ^ Taylor, Neil (1986). "Two Types of Television Shakespeare". Shakespeare Survey 39: 106–107.  
  160. ^ Bingham, Dennis (1988). "Jane Howell's First Tetralogy: Brechtian Break-out or Just Good Television?". In Bulman, James C.; Coursen, H.R. Shakespeare on Television: An Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Lebanon, NA: University Press of New England. pp. 221–229.  
  161. ^ a b c d e  
  162. ^ Hattaway, Michael, ed. (1990). The First Part of King Henry VI. The New Cambridge Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 51.  
  163. ^ Willis, p. 28.
  164. ^ Knowles, Ronald, ed. (2001). King Henry VI Part 2. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Methuen. p. 306.  
  165. ^ Kingsley-Smith, Jane, ed. (2005) [1981]. Henry VI Part I. The Penguin Shakespeare (Revised ed.). London: Penguin. pp. lxvii.  
  166. ^ a b c d Warren, Roger, ed. (2003). Henry VI, Part Two. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 15.  
  167. ^ a b c d Willems, Michèle (1986). "Verbal-Visual, Verbal-Pictorial, or Textual-Televisual? Reflections on the BBC Shakespeare Series". Shakespeare Survey 39: 101.  
  168. ^ a b c d Manheim, Michael (December 1986). "The English History Play on screen". Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 11 (1): 12. 
  169. ^ a b c An analysis of the entire tetralogy can be found in Willis, pp. 175-185.
  170. ^ Knowles, Ronald, ed. (2001). King Henry VI Part 2. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Methuen. p. 24.  
  171. ^ Cox, John D.; Rasmussen, Eric, eds. (2001). King Henry VI Part 3. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Methuen. p. 37.  
  172. ^ Willis, p. 181.
  173. ^ See Taylor, Neil (1986). "Two Types of Television Shakespeare". Shakespeare Survey 39: 105.  
  174. ^ Quoted in Richmond, Hugh M. (1989). Shakespeare in Performance: Richard III. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 90–91.  
  175. ^ Quoted in Eccles, Mark, ed. (1998) [1964]. The Tragedy of Richard III. Signet Classic Shakespeare (Second Revised ed.). New York: Signet. p. 244.  
  176. ^ Burns, Edward, ed. (2000). King Henry VI Part 1. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Thompson Learning. p. 306.  
  177. ^ Willis, p. 179.
  178. ^ Hassel Jr., R. Chris (1987). Songs of Death: Performance, Interpretation and the Text of Richard III. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 28.  
  179. ^ Richmond, Hugh M. (1989). Shakespeare in Performance: Richard III. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 12.  
  180. ^ a b Kossak, Saskia (2005). "Frame My Face to All Occasions": Shakespeare's Richard III on Screen. Berlin: Braumüller. p. 188.  
  181. ^ An analysis of this production can be found in Richmond, Hugh M. (1989). Shakespeare in Performance: Richard III. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 89–110.   An analysis of the entire tetralogy can be found in Willis, pp. 175-185.
  182. ^ Willis, pp. 154-155.
  183. ^ a b Willis, p. 156.
  184. ^ Gilbert, Miriam (1993). Shakespeare in Performance: Love's Labour's Lost. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 57.  
  185. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1984). Macbeth. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 21.  
  186. ^ Willis, pp. 260-261.
  187. ^ An analysis of this production can be found in Coursen, H.R. (2001). "The Comedy of Errors on Television". In Miola, Robert S. The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. pp. 533–538.  
  188. ^ Brooke, Michael. (1983)"The Two Gentlemen of Verona".  
  189. ^ Willis, p. 212.
  190. ^ Warren, Roger, ed. (2008). The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 11–13.  
  191. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1984). The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 26.  
  192. ^ See also Keyishian, Harry (December 1984). "The Shakespeare Plays on TV: Two Gentlemen of Verona". Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 9 (1): 6–7.  and Derrick, Patty S. (December 1991). "Two Gents: A Crucial Moment". Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 16 (1): 1–4.  Both essays are reprinted in Schlueter, June, ed. (1996). The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. pp. 257–262.  
  193. ^ Willis, p. 157.
  194. ^ Willis, pp. 159-160.
  195. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1984). The Life and Death of King John. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 20.  
  196. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1984). Pericles, Prince of Tyre. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 21.  
  197. ^ Wilders, John, ed. (1985). Much Ado About Nothing. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 20.  
  198. ^ Willis, p. 209.
  199. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1985). Love's Labour's Lost. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 18.  
  200. ^ Maher, Mary Z. (December 1985). "Moshinsky's Love's Labour's Lost". Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 10 (1): 2.  The essay is reprinted in Hardison Londré, Felicia, ed. (1997). Love's Labour's Lost: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. pp. 415–417.  
  201. ^ Quoted in Wilders, John, ed. (1985). Love's Labour's Lost. The BBC TV Shakespeare. London: BBC Books. p. 25.  
  202. ^ See Gilbert, Miriam (1993). Shakespeare in Performance: Love's Labour's Lost. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 67–72.  
  203. ^ Willis, p. 162.
  204. ^ An analysis of the production can be found in Gilbert, Miriam (1993). Shakespeare in Performance: Love's Labour's Lost. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 56–76.  
  205. ^ Willis, p. 30.
  206. ^ For much factual information on this production, see Maher, Mary Z. (1988). "Production Design in the BBC's Titus Andronicus". In Bulman, James C.; Coursen, H.R. Shakespeare on Television: An Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Lebanon, NA: University Press of New England. pp. 144–150.  
  207. ^ Quoted in  
  208. ^ Quoted in Dessen, Alan C. (1989). Shakespeare in Performance: Titus Andronicus. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 44.  
  209. ^ Maher, Mary Z. (1988). "Production Design in the BBC's Titus Andronicus". In Bulman, James C.; Coursen, H.R. Shakespeare on Television: An Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Lebanon, NA: University Press of New England. p. 146.  
  210. ^ For more information on this production, see Dessen, Alan C. (1989). Shakespeare in Performance: Titus Andronicus. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 44–48.   For a detailed overview of the production process itself, see Willis, pp. 292-314.

References

See also

  • Titus Andronicus
    • Some minor lines are omitted from various scenes, such as Lavinia's "Ay, for these slips have made him noted long" (2.3.87), Titus' "Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands,/To bid Aeneas tell the tale twice o’er,/How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?" (3.2.26-28), Marcus' "What, what! The lustful sons of Tamora/Performers of this heinous, bloody deed" (4.1.78-79), and Titus and Marcus' brief conversation about Taurus and Aries (4.3.68-75).
    • Several lines from the Q1 text which were removed in subsequent editions are used; at 1.1.35 Titus' "bearing his valiant sons/in coffins from the field" continues with "and at this day,/To the Monument of that Andronicy/Done sacrifice of expiation,/And slaine the Noblest prisoner of the Gothes." These lines work in tandem with a rearrangement of the opening scenes to avoid a continuity problem. The lines concern the sacrifice of Alarbus, which has not yet happened in the text. However, Howell got around this problem by beginning the play at 1.1.64 – the entrance of Titus. Then, at 1.1.168, after the sacrifice of Alarbus, lines 1.1.1 to 1.1.63 (the introductions of Bassianus and Saturninus) take place, thus Titus' reference to Alarbus' sacrifice makes chronological sense.
    • The character of Young Lucius is a much more important figure in the adaptation than in the play; he is present throughout Act 1, he retrieves the murder weapon after the death of Mutius; it is his knife which Titus uses to kill the fly; he aids in the capture of Chiron and Demetrius; he is present throughout the final scene.
    • Also changed is the fate of Aaron's baby, who is seen dead in a coffin in the final scene. In the play, and most productions, it is implied that the child lives.
  • Love's Labour's Lost
    • A large number of lines are cut from every scene in the play. Some of the more notable omissions include, from 1.1, Longaville's "Fat paunches have lean pats, and dainty bits/Make rich the ribs but bankrupt quite the wits" (ll.26-27); Berowne's "study is like the heaven's glorious sun,/That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks;/Small have continual plodders ever won,/Save base authority from others' books" (ll.84-87); the discussion between the Berowne and the others regarding corn, geese and Spring (ll.96-109); Berowne's condemnation of study, "while it doth study to have what it would,/It doth forget to do the thing it should;/And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,/'Tis won as towns with fire – so won, so lost" (ll.142-145); some of the dialogue discussing Armado and the initial dialogue upon the arrival of Costard and Dull (ll.176-188); and the dialogue between Berowne and Costard which ends the scene (ll.293-302). Absent from 1.2 is most of the discussion between Moth and Armado as to how Armado may get three years' worth of study into an hour (ll.33-55); the discussion between Moth and Armado regarding the four complexions (ll.83-111); and Armado's references to duelling in his soliloquy (ll.169-171). Absent from 2.1 is the second set of word play between Berowne and Rosaline (ll.178-191); and most of the conversation between Boyet and Longaville (ll.198-206). Absent from 3.1 is most of the opening conversation between Moth and Armado regarding love (ll.6-49). Absent from 4.1 is most of the conversation between the Princess and the Forester regarding the deer (ll.11-41); the concluding lines of Armado's letter to Jaquenetta, "Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar/'Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey./Submissive fall his princely feet before,/And he from forage will incline to play./But if thou strive, poor soul, what art thou then?/Food for his rage, repasture for his den" (ll.87-92); the discussion between Boyet, Maria and Costard about aiming (ll.128-140); and most of Costard's closing soliloquy (ll.143-148). Absent from 4.2 is some of the dialogue between Costard and Holofernes (ll.80-88). 4.3 is especially heavily cut, with some of the absences including the opening few lines from Berowne's soliloquy (ll.1-7), his initial aside upon the arrival of the King, "Shot, by heaven! Proceed, sweet Cupid. Thou hast thumped him with thy bird-bolt under the left pap. In faith, secrets" (ll.21-23); most of the King's sonnet (ll.31-41); most of Berowne and the King's asides upon the arrival of Longaville (ll.45-53); most of Berowne, the King and Longaville's asides upon the arrival of Dumaine (ll.77-89); most of Berowne's argument that Rosaline is the most beautiful of the ladies (ll.231-242); and Berowne's closing lines after the others have left (ll.356-361). Absent from 5.1 is the conversation where Moth gets the intellectual and linguistic better of Holofernes (ll.37-76). Also absent from 5.1 is most of Costard’s speech in which he uses the word "honorificabilitudinitatibus" (ll.39-42). Absent from 5.2 is Boyet's report of Moth's rehearsing for the masque (ll.97-118); some of the mockery of Moth when he tries to recite his lines (ll.166-174); most of the dialogue between the King and Rosaline disguised as the Princess (ll.219-226); some of Berowne's explanation as to how the ladies knew what the men were up to (ll.462-467 and ll.474-481); the conversation regarding how many Worthies there are supposed to be (ll.485-505); and some of the insults shouted at Holofernes (ll.607-611).
    • 1.1 and 1.2 are intercut. 1.1. runs to line 175, and then cuts to 1.2, which runs to line 118. At that point, 1.1 picks up at line 189, running to the end, where 1.2 picks up at line 121. The intercutting is structured so as Costard and Dull's exist from the King in 1.1. is followed immediately by their arrival at Armado's in 1.2.
    • An 'invented' scene is added between 2.1 and 3.1. In this scene, we see Berowne drafting the poem which is later read by Nathaniel. The lines he writes in the scene (which are heard in voiceover) are taken from the fifth poem of the William Jaggard publication The Passionate Pilgrim; itself a variant of the final version of Berowne's own poem.
    • Moth is portrayed by an adult actor in the production, whereas in the play, there are multiple references to him being a child.
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
    • 1.1 begins with Mercatio and Eglamour attempting to formally woo Julia; Mercatio by showing her a coffer overflowing with gold coins, Eglamour by displaying a parchment detailing his family history (there is no dialogue in this scene).
    • The capture of Silvia and the flight of Eglamour is seen, as opposed to merely being described.
    • Eglamour is also present at the end of 5.4 (once again without any dialogue).
  • The Comedy of Errors
    • Some minor lines are omitted from various scenes; most of the discussion between Antipholus (S) and Dromio (S) regarding Father Time and baldness (2.2.75-109); Luciana's report of what Dromio (E) told her as to why Antipholus (E) would not come home to dinner (2.2.-160-162); Dromio (S)'s "Your cake here is warm within; you stand here in the cold./It would make a man mad as a buck to be so bought and sold" (3.1.72-73); the argument between Dromio (S), Dromio (E) and Antipholus (E) about birds without feathers and fish without fins (3.1.79-84); Antipholus (E)'s denial that he is having an affair with the Courtesan (3.1.112-114); the reference to "America, the Indies" during the discussion regarding Nell (3.2.136-140); several lines are omitted from Adriana's appeal to the Duke in 5.1 (ll.146-147, ll.150-152 and l.158); Antipholus (E)'s description of Pinch (5.1.238-240); Aegeon's "Though now this grain'd face of mine be hid/In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow" (5.1.312-313)
    • At various points in the production, Aegeon wanders listlessly around the set, unlike the play, where he appears in the opening and closing scene only. In the production, he appears at the start of 3.1, 4.1, 4.3 and 5.1.
    • A small scene is added between 3.2 and 4.1 where Antipholus (S) is standing on his balcony and sees Antipholus (E) wandering in the market place. However, he rubs his eyes, looks at his glass of wine and dismisses what he has seen.
  • The Tragedy of Richard III
    • Of the 3,887 lines comprising the First Folio text of the play, Howell cut only 72; roughly 1.8% of the total.[180] Some of these lines include Richard's reference in 1.3 to Queen Elizabeth's family fighting for the House of Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses (ll.127-130). Also absent is Margaret warning Dorset that he is only recently made a noble and doesn't yet fully understand the value of his role, Richard telling Dorset that this is good council, and the subsequent discussion between Richard and Margaret about eyries (ll.254-272). In 2.1, Edward's reference to "the precious image of our dear Redeemer" is absent (l.122). In 3.1, Richard's comparison of himself to "the formal Vice Iniquity" is absent (ll.82-83), as is his instruction to Buckingham in 3.5 to tell the people that Edward once put someone to death for saying he would make his son "heir to the Crown, meaning, indeed, his house" (ll.74-77). Absent from 4.4 is Elizabeth's accusation that Richard is using the crown to hide his murder of her two sons (ll.134-137) and Richard's subsequent references to "Humphrey Hower" (ll.166-168). Sir Christopher's list of nobles fighting for Richard is absent from 4.5 (ll.11-15), as is Stanley's list of the nobles who have died during the battle from 5.7 (ll.12-15)
    • The character of Lord Grey is not portrayed as Queen Elizabeth's son, but simply as a kinsman; only Dorset is her son. In the text, although there is some confusion and overlapping regarding the two characters in the early scenes, in the latter half of the play, they are both depicted as her sons.
    • After the murder of Clarence, Sir Richard Ratcliffe is revealed to have been watching the entire time from a balcony overlooking the room. As the murderer disposes of the body, Ratcliffe quietly leaves.
    • Jane Shore is present in 3.2; when Catesby comes to see Hastings, Shore comes out of Hastings' house as he prepares himself to meet with Stanley. In the play, Shore is mentioned as the mistress of Edward IV and Hastings, but never appears on-stage.
    • Lovell and Ratcliffe are present throughout 4.1; listening to Lady Anne, the Duchess of Gloucester and Queen Elizabeth lamenting the fact that Richard has been made king.
    • Dorset is present as a member of Richmond's council from 5.2 onwards; in the text, Dorset is not seen after he leaves England. In 5.2, Dorset speaks the lines assigned to the Earl of Oxford/Second Lord.
    • Just prior to the appearance of the ghosts in 5.4, the Duchess of Gloucester's lines where she promises to pray for Richard's enemies and hopes that the spirits of those he has murdered haunts him (4.4.180-185) are repeated in voiceover.
    • The play ends differently from the text. After Richmond is finished speaking, the camera moves away and begins to pan across a huge pyramid of bodies. Off-camera, a woman can be heard laughing. Eventually, the camera moves up the pyramid, and sitting atop, cradling Richard's body, is Margaret.
  • The Third Part of Henry the Sixt
    • Lines are omitted from almost every scene. Some of the more notable omissions include the opening twenty-four lines of the first scene. Instead the play begins with Warwick proclaiming, "This is the palace of the fearful king." Also in 1.1, all references to Margaret chairing a session of parliament are absent (ll.35-42), as are her references to the pains of childbirth, and Henry's shameful behaviour in disinheriting his son (ll.221-226). Absent from 1.3 is Rutland's appeal to Clifford's paternal instincts (ll.41-43). In 2.1, all references to Clarence's entry into the conflict are absent, as he had already been introduced as a combatant at the end of The Second Part of Henry VI. During the debate between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians in 2.2, Richard's "Northumberland, I hold thee reverentially" is absent (l.109). In 3.3, Warwick's reference to Salisbury's death and the incident with his niece are both absent (ll.186-188). In 4.4, the first twelve lines are absent (where Elizabeth reports to Rivers that Edward has been captured).
    • Some lines are also added to the play. In 1.1, four lines are added at the beginning of Henry's declaration that he would rather see civil war than yield the throne; "Ah Plantagenet, why seekest thou to depose me?/Are we not both Plantagenets by birth?/And from two brothers lineally descent?/Suppose by right and equity thou be king." Also in 1.1, a line is inserted when York asks Henry if he agrees to the truce and Henry replies, "Convey the soldiers hence, and then I will." Most significant is in Act 5, Scene 1, where the incident involving Clarence's return to the Lancastrian side is completely different from the text found in the Folio, and is taken entirely from the octavo text of The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (1595).
    • Several lines are spoken by characters other than who speak in the Folio text, particularly in relation to Clarence. For example, in 2.1, it is Clarence who says Edward's "I wonder how our princely father scaped,/Or whether he be scaped away or no/From Clifford and Northumberland's pursuit." Clarence also speaks Richard's "Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun,/Not separated with the racking clouds/But severed in a pale clear-shining sky," Edward's "Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon/Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay," and Richard's "Great lord of Warwick, if we should recount/Our baleful news, and at each word's deliverance/Stab poniards in our flesh till all were told,/The words would add more anguish than the wounds."
    • The presentation of the character of Montague also differs from the Folio text. Montague is not present in 1.1, and as such, his lines are either spoken by Clarence or omitted. He is introduced in 1.2, but with some notable changes to the text; when York is giving his men instructions, his order to Montague, "Brother, thou shalt to London presently" (l.36) is changed to "Cousin, thou shalt to London presently," York's reiteration of the order "My brother Montague shall post to London" (l.54) is changed to "Hast you to London my cousin Montague," and Montague's "Brother, I go, I'll win them, fear it not" (l.60) is changed to "Cousin, I go, I'll win them, fear it not." Additionally, the report of the death of Warwick and Montague's brother Thomas Neville in 2.3 is different from the text; "son" in line 15 is replaced with "father," "brother" in line 19 is replaced with "son" and "gentleman" in line 23 is replaced with "Salisbury."
    • The character of Elizabeth's son, the Marquess of Dorset, is introduced just after the marriage of Elizabeth and Edward (4.1). In the text, Dorset does not appear until Richard III.
  • The Second Part of Henry the Sixt
    • Lines are omitted from almost every scene. Some of the more notable omissions include, in 1.1, both of Humphrey's references to Bedford are absent (ll. 82-83, 95-96), as is the reference to Suffolk's demands that he be paid for escorting Margaret from France (ll. 131-133), and York's allusion to Althaea and Calydon in his closing soliloquy (ll.231-235). York's outline of Edward III's seven sons is absent from 2.2 (ll.10-17), as is Salisbury's reference to Owen Glendower (l.41). Suffolk's accusation that Humphrey was involved in necromancy with Eleanor is omitted from 3.1 (ll.47-53), as is Humphrey's outline of how he dealt with criminals during his time as Lord Protector (ll.128-132). Also absent from 3.1 is York's reference to how he fought alongside Cade in Ireland (ll.360-370). In 4.1, all references to Walter Whitmore's name as Gualtier are absent. The entirety of 4.5 (a brief scene showing Lord Scales and Matthew Gough on patrol at the Tower of London) is absent. In 5.1, some of the dialogue between Clifford and Warwick is absent (ll.200-210).
    • Some lines have also been added to the play. In 1.1, two lines are added to Salisbury's vow to support York if he can prove he is a legitimate heir to the crown; "The reverence of mine age and the Neville's name/Is of no little force if I command" (added between ll.197 and 198). In 1.3, two lines are added to the conversation between Margaret and Thump, where Thump mistakes the word 'usurper' for 'usurer' and is corrected by Margaret (between ll.31 and 32). In 2.1, the conversation between Humphrey and Beaufort is extended, wherein Humphrey says that Beaufort was born "in bastardy." All of these additional lines are taken from the 1594 quarto of the play, The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster.
    • Several lines are spoken by characters other than who speak in the Folio text. In 1.3, Humphrey's line "This is the law and this Duke Humphrey's doom" is given to Henry. In 1.4, during the conjuration, there is no separate spirit in the scene; all the spirit's dialogue is spoken 'through' Magarey Jourdayne. Also, later in this scene, it is Buckingham who reads the prophecies, not York. In 4.1, the second half of line 139 ("Pompey the Great and Suffolk dies by pirates") is given to the Lieutenant.
    • The character of George Plantagenet is introduced towards the end of the play, just prior to the Battle of St Albans, with which the play closes. In the text however, George is not introduced until 3 Henry VI, 2.2.
    • The character of Buckingham is killed onscreen. In the play, his fate is unknown, and it is only revealed in the opening lines of 3 Henry VI that he had been killed by Edward.
    • The play ends slightly differently from the directions in the text. After the battle, the victorious House of York leave the stage, all except Salisbury, who sadly looks around the field of battle at the many dead bodies.
  • The First Part of Henry the Sixt
    • Lines are omitted from almost every scene. Some of the more notable omissions include, in 1.1, Bedford's references to children crying and England becoming a marsh since Henry V died (ll.48-51). In 1.2, Alençon's praise of the resoluteness of the English army is absent (ll.29-34). In 1.5, Talbot's complaint about the French wanting to ransom him for a prisoner of less worth is absent (ll.8-11). In 1.7, some of Charles' praise of Joan is absent (ll.21-27). In 4.6, some of the dialogue between Talbot and John is absent (ll.6-25). In 4.7, twelve of Joan's sixteen lines are cut; the entire seven line speech where she says John Talbot refused to fight her because she is a woman (ll.37-43), the first three lines of her five line mockery of Lucy's listing of Talbot's titles (ll.72-75), and the first two lines of her four line speech where she mocks Lucy as he is about to take over Talbot's position (ll.86-88).
    • The adaptation opens differently from the text, as we see Henry VI singing a lament for his father.
    • Fastolf's escape from Rouen is seen rather than merely mentioned.
    • 5.1 and 5.2 are reversed so that 4.7 and 5.2 now form one continuous piece.
    • The Duke of Burgundy is seen to be killed prior to Joan's capture; in the text, his fate is unknown.
    • The character of Warwick as portrayed by Mark Wing-Davey is Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. In the play however, the character is Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, Neville's father-in-law.
  • The Taming of the Shrew
    • The Induction and the interjection of Christopher Sly at the end of 1.1 are absent.
    • Several lines are omitted from the conversation between Grumio and Curtis in 4.1
    • The brief conversation between Biondello and Lucentio which opens 5.1 is absent.
    • 5.2 ends differently from the play. The last line spoken is Petruchio's "We three are married, but you two are sped;" thus omitting Petruchio's comment to Lucentio "'Twas I won the wager, though you hit the white,/And being a winner, God give you good night," as well as Hortensio's line, "Now go thy ways, thou has tamed a curst shrew," and Lucentio's closing statement, "'Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tamed so." Additionally, Petruchio and Katherina do not leave the banquet prior to the end of the play, but remain, and engage in a song with all present.

All line references are taken from the individual Oxford Shakespeare editions of each play.

Omissions and changes

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Titus Andronicus was presented by Patrick Stewart who had played Titus in a 1981 RSC production directed by John Barton. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by psychiatrist Anthony Clare.[210]

In a significant departure from the text, Howell set Young Lucius as the centre of the production so as to prompt the question "What are we doing to the children?"[208] At the end of the play, as Lucius delivers his final speech, the camera stays on Young Lucius rather than his father, who is in the far background and out of focus, as he stares in horror at the coffin of Aaron's child (which has been killed off-screen). Thus the production became "in part about a boy's reaction to murder and mutilation. We see him losing his innocence and being drawn into this adventure of revenge; yet, at the end we perceive that he retains the capacity for compassion and sympathy."[209]

Initially, director Jane Howell toyed with the idea of setting the play in a contemporary Northern Ireland, but she ultimately settled on a more conventional approach. All the body parts seen throughout were based upon real autopsy photographs, and were authenticated by the Royal College of Surgeons. The costumes of the Goths were based on punk outfits, with Chiron and Demetrius specifically based on the band KISS. For the scene when Chiron and Demetrius are killed, a large carcass is seen hanging nearby; this was a genuine lamb carcass purchased from a kosher butcher and smeared with Vaseline to make it gleam under the studio lighting.[206] In an unusual design choice, Howell had the Roman populace all wear identical generic masks without mouths, so as to convey the idea that the Roman people were faceless and voiceless, as she felt the play depicted a society which "seemed like a society where everyone was faceless except for those in power."[207] In the opening scene, as the former emperor's body is carried out, only Saturninus and Bassianus take their masks away from their faces, no one else, and they do so only to glare at one another.

As Titus was broadcast several months after the rest of the seventh season, it was rumoured that the BBC were worried about the violence in the play and that disagreements had arisen about censorship. This was inaccurate however, with the delay caused by a BBC strike in 1984. The episode had been booked into the studio in February and March 1984, but the strike meant it could not shoot. When the strike ended, the studio could not be used as it was being used by another production, and then when the studio became available, the RSC was using Trevor Peacock. Thus filming did not take place until February 1985, a year later than planned.[205]

Young Lucius stares at the body of Aaron's baby, with his father in the background, out of focus, being inaugurated as the new emperor
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jane Howell
  • Taping dates: 10–17 February 1985
  • First transmitted in the UK: 27 April 1985[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 19 April 1985
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 167 minutes

Titus Andronicus

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Love's Labour's Lost was presented by Kenneth Branagh who had played Navarre in a 1984 RSC production directed by Barry Kyle. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by novelist Emma Tennant.[204]

This was the only production which John Wilders, the series literary advisor, openly criticised; specifically, he objected to the character of Moth being portrayed by an adult actor.[203]

This was one of only two productions which replaced original dialogue with material from outside the play (the other was Jonathan Miller's Anthony & Cleopatra). Here, in an invented scene set between Act 2 Scene 1 and Act 3, Scene 1, Berowne is shown drafting the poem to Rosaline, which will later be read by Nathaniel to Jacquenetta. The lines in this invented scene (delivered in voice-over) are taken from the fifth poem of the William Jaggard publication The Passionate Pilgrim; a variant of Berowne's final version of his own poem.

For Moshinsky, the central episode of the production is the play-within-the-play in the final scene which is interrupted by the arrival of Marcade, an episode to which Moshinsky refers as "an astonishing sleight of hand about reality and the reflection of experiencing reality."[201] He argues that the audience is so wrapped up in watching the characters watch the pageant that they have forgotten reality, and the arrival of Marcade with news of the death of the King of France jolts the audience back to reality in the same way it jolts the eight main characters. In this sense, Moshinsky sees the play more as about artifice and reality than romantic relationships.[202]

Director Elijah Moshinsky used the paintings of Jean-Antoine Watteau, especially his use of fête galante in pictures such as L'Embarquement pour Cythère, the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the writing of Pierre de Marivaux as inspiration during the making of this episode, which is the only play of the thirty-seven to be set in the eighteenth century. Of the play, Moshinsky said, "it has the atmosphere of Marivaux - which is rather delicious, and yet full of formalised rules between men and women, sense against sensibility; there's a distinction between enlightenment and feeling. I think the atmosphere of Watteau's paintings suits this enormously well and gives it a lightness of touch. And also it abstracts it; we don't want anything too realistic because the whole thing is a kind of mathematical equation - four men for four women - and the play is testing certain propositions about love."[199] To ensure that the image match the fête galante style, Moshinsky had lighting technician John Summers use floor lighting as opposed to the usual method of ceiling lighting for some of the exterior scenes, also shooting through a very light gauze to create a softness in line and colour.[200]

The Princess of France and her party await the arrival of the King of Navarre. Note the obvious influence of the fête galante style in everything from the blocking of the characters, to the costumes, to the hairstyles, to the background
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Elijah Moshinsky
  • Taping dates: 30 June-6 July 1984
  • First transmitted in the UK: 5 January 1985
  • First transmitted in the US: 31 May 1985
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 120 minutes

Love's Labour's Lost

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Much Ado About Nothing was presented by Kenneth Haigh who had played Benedict in a 1976 Royal Exchange Theatre production directed by Braham Murray. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by actress Eleanor Bron.

Jan Spoczynski won Designer of the Year at the 1985 Royal Television Society Awards for his work on this episode.

During the reshoot for season seven, director Stuart Burge initially thought about shooting the entire episode against a blank tapestry background, with no set whatsoever, but it was felt that audiences may not respond well to this, and the idea was scrapped.[197] Ultimately the production had a style referred to as "stylized realism"; the environments are suggestive of their real life counterparts, the foregrounds are broadly realistic representations, but the backgrounds tended to be more artificial; "a representational context close to the actors, with a more stylized presentation of distance."[198]

The inaugural episode of the entire series was originally set to be a production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Donald McWhinnie, and starring Penelope Keith and Michael York.[65] The episode was shot (for £250,000), edited and even publicly announced as the opening of the series, before it was suddenly pulled from the schedule and replaced with Romeo & Juliet (which was supposed to air as the second episode). No reasons were given by the BBC for this decision, although initial newspaper reports suggested that the episode had not been abandoned, it had simply been postponed for re-shoots, due to an unspecified actor's "very heavy accent," and concerns that US audiences would not be able to understand the dialogue.[66] However, as time wore on, and no reshoots materialised, the press began to speculate that the show had been cancelled entirely, and would be replaced at a later date by a completely new adaptation, which was in fact what happened.[67] The press also pointed out that the fact that the production was never shown in Britain rubbished any suggestion that the prevailing cause for the abandonment was to do with accents. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that BBC management simply regarded the production as a failure.[68]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Stuart Burge
  • Taping dates: 15–21 August 1984
  • First transmitted in the UK: 22 December 1984[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 30 October 1984
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 148 minutes

Much Ado About Nothing

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Pericles, Prince of Tyre was presented by Amanda Redman who portrayed Marina in the BBC adaptation. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by poet and journalist P.J. Kavanagh.

Director David Jones used a lot of long shots in this episode to try to create the sense of a small person taking in a vast world.[196] Annette Crosbie thought of Dionyza as an early version of Alexis Colby, Joan Collins' character in Dynasty.[112]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by David Jones
  • Taping dates: 21–28 June 1983
  • First transmitted in the UK: 8 December 1984[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 11 June 1984
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 177 minutes

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Life and Death of King John was presented by Emrys James who had played John in a 1974 RSC production directed by John Barton and Barry Kyle. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by chairman of the British Railways Board Peter Parker.

For this production, director David Giles chose to go with a semi-stylised setting which he referred to as both "emblematic" and "heraldic."[195] The music was written by Colin Sell. Leonard Rossiter died before the show aired.

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by David Giles
  • Taping dates: 1–7 February 1984
  • First transmitted in the UK: 24 November 1984
  • First transmitted in the US: 11 January 1985
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 157 minutes

The Life and Death of King John

Season seven; Shaun Sutton, producer

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Tragedy of Coriolanus was presented by Ian Hogg who had played Coriolanus in a 1972 RSC production directed by Trevor Nunn. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by General Sir John Hackett.

The production design of Rome in this episode was very specific; everywhere except the Senate was to be small and cramped. The idea behind this design choice was to reflect Coriolanus' mindset. He dislikes the notion of the people gathering together for anything, and on such a cramped set, because the alleys and streets are so small, it only takes a few people to make them look dangerously crowded.[183] When Caius Marcus fights the Coriolian soldiers, he leaves his shirt on, but when he fights Aufidius in one-on-one combat, he takes it off. Moshinsky did this to give the scene an undercurrent of homoeroticism.[193] In the script for the episode, Coriolanus' death scene is played as a fight between himself and Aufidius in front of a large crowd who urge Aufidius to kill him. However, in shooting the scene, Moshinsky changed it so that it takes place in front of a few silent senators, and there is no real fight as such.[194]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Elijah Moshinsky
  • Taping dates: 18–26 April 1983
  • First transmitted in the UK: 21 April 1984[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 26 March 1984
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 145 minutes

The Tragedy of Coriolanus

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Two Gentlemen of Verona was presented by Russell Davies.

Although the production is edited in a fairly conventional manner, much of it was shot in extremely long takes, and then edited into sections, rather than actually shooting in sections. Taylor would shoot most of the scenes in single takes, as he felt this enhanced performances and allowed actors to discover aspects which they never would were everything broken up into pieces.[191][192]

Director Don Taylor initially planned a representational setting for the film; Verona, Milan and the forest were all to be realistic. However, he changed his mind early in preproduction and had production designer Barbara Gosnold go in the opposite direction – a stylised setting. To this end, the forest is composed of metal poles with bits of green tinsel and brown sticks stuck to them (the cast and crew referred to the set as "Christmas at Selfridges"). Whilst the set for Verona remained relatively realistic, that for Milan featured young actors dressed like cherubs as extras. This was to convey the idea that the characters lived in a 'Garden of Courtly Love', which was slightly divorced from everyday reality.[189] Working in tandem with this idea, upon Proteus' arrival in Milan, after meeting Silvia, he is left alone on stage, and the weather suddenly changes from calm and sunny to cloudy and windy, accompanied by a thunderclap. The implication being that Proteus has brought a darkness within him into the garden of courtly delights previously experienced by Silvia.[190]

The music in this episode was created by Anthony Rooley, who wrote new arrangements of works from Shakespeare's own time, such as John Dowland's piece 'Lachrimae'. Performed by The Consort of Musicke, other musicians whose music was used include William Byrd, Thomas Campion, Anthony Holborne, John Johnson, Thomas Morley and Orazio Vecchi. As no original music was used, Stephen Oliver's theme from seasons three to five was used for the opening titles.[188]

An outlaw hides in the "Christmas at Selfridge's" set; note the stylised steel 'trees' and tinsel foliage
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Don Taylor
  • Taping dates: 25–31 July 1983
  • First transmitted in the UK: 27 December 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 23 April 1984
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 136 minutes

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Comedy of Errors was presented by Roger Rees who had played Antipholus of Syracuse in a 1976 RSC production directed by Trevor Nunn. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by comedian Roy Hudd.[187]

The entire production takes place on a stylised set, the floor of which is a giant map of the region, shown in its entirety in the opening and closing aerial shots; all of the main locations (the Porpentine, the Abbey, the Phoenix, the market etc.) are located in a circular pattern around the centre map.

This production used editing and special effects to have each set of twins played by the same actors. However, this was not especially well received by critics, who argued that not only was it confusing for the audience as to which character was which, but much of the comedy was lost when the characters look identical.

Director James Cellan Jones felt very strongly that the play was not just a farce, but included a serious side, specifically represented by the character of Aegeon, who has lost his family and is about to lose his life. In several productions Jones had seen, Aegeon was completely forgotten between the first and last scenes, and determined to avoid this, and hence give the production a more serious air, Jones had Aegeon wandering around Ephesus throughout the episode.[186]

Opening shot of the episode showing the map of the region on the floor of the stylised market set; at the top of the shot is the abbey, top left is the Phoenix, bottom left is the Centaur, bottom right is the Porpentine, top right is a market stall. The entrance to the bay is opposite the abbey, out of shot
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by James Cellan Jones
  • Taping dates: 3–9 November 1983
  • First transmitted in the UK: 24 December 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 20 February 1984
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 109 minutes

The Comedy of Errors

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Macbeth was presented by Sara Kestelman who had played Lady Macbeth in a 1982 RSC production directed by Howard Davies. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by crime writer and poet Julian Symons.

This episode was shot with a 360 degree cycloramic backcloth in the background which could be used as representative of a general environment, with much use made of open space.[185]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jack Gold
  • Taping dates: 22–28 June 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 5 November 1983[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 17 October 1983
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 147 minutes

Macbeth

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Cymbeline was presented by Jeffery Dench who had played Cymbeline in a 1979 RSC production directed by David Jones. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by dramatist and journalist Dennis Potter.

During the episode, the battle between the Romans and the Britons is never shown on screen; all that is seen is a single burning building, intended to indicate the general strife; we never see the defeat of Iachimo, Posthumous sparing him or Iachimo's reaction. Moshinsky did not want to expunge the political context of the play, but he was not especially interested in the military theme, and so removed most of it, with an aim to focus instead on the personal.[182] Moshinsky shot the scene of Iachimo watching the sleeping Imogen in the same way as he shot the scene of Imogen finding Cloten in bed beside her; as Iachimo leaves the room, the camera is at the head of the bed, and as such, Imogen appears upside-down in frame. Later, when she awakes to find the headless Cloten, the scene begins with the camera in the same position, with Imogen once again upside-down; "the inverted images visually bind the perverse experiences, both nightmarish, both sleep related, both lit by one candle."[183] Moshinsky used Rembrandt's portrait of Agatha Bas as inspiration for Imogen's costume.[184]

From this episode on, the show featured no unique theme music; the opening titles were scored with music composed specifically for the episode; although the new title sequence introduced by Miller at the start of season three continued to be used.

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Elijah Moshinsky
  • Taping dates: 29 July-5 August 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 10 July 1983[139]
  • First transmitted in the US: 20 December 1982
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 174 minutes

Cymbeline

Season six; Shaun Sutton, producer

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Tragedy of Richard III was presented by Edward Woodward who had played Richard in a 1982 Ludlow Festival production directed by David William. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by novelist Rosemary Anne Sisson.[181]

At 239 minutes, this production was the longest episode in the entire series, and when the series was released on DVD in 2005, it was the only adaptation split over two disks. Of the 3,887 lines comprising the First Folio text of the play, Howell cut only 72; roughly 1.8% of the total.[180]

Howell's presentation of the complete first historical tetralogy was one of the most lauded achievements of the entire BBC series, and prompted Stanley Wells to argue that the productions were "probably purer than any version given in the theatre since Shakespeare's time."[161] Michael Mannheim was similarly impressed, calling the tetralogy "a fascinating, fast paced and surprisingly tight-knit study in political and national deterioration."[168]

Somewhat controversially, the episode ended with Margaret sitting atop a pyramid of corpses (played by all of the major actors who had appeared throughout the tetralogy) cradling Richard's dead body and laughing manically, an image Edward Burns refers to as "a blasphemous pietà."[176] Howell herself referred to it as a "reverse pietà," and defended it by arguing that the tetralogy is bigger than Richard III, so to end by simply showing Richard's death and Richmond's coronation is to diminish the roles that have gone before; the vast amount of death that has preceded the end of Richard III cannot be ignored.[177] R. Chris Hassel Jr. remarks of this scene that "our last taste is not the restoration of order and good governance, but of chaos and arbitrary violence."[178] Hugh M. Richmond says the scene gives the production a "cynical conclusion," as "it leaves our impressions of the new King Henry VII's reign strongly coloured by Margaret's malevolent glee at the destruction of her enemies that Henry has accomplished for her."[179]

The production is unusual amongst filmed Richards insofar as no one is killed on camera except Richard himself. This was very much a conscious choice on the part of Howell; "you see nobody killed; just people going away, being taken away - so much like today; they're just removed. There's a knock on the door and people are almost willing to go. There's no way out of it."[175]

Because this version of Richard III functioned as the fourth part of a series, it meant that much of the text usually cut in standalone productions could remain. The most obvious beneficiary of this was the character of Margaret, whose role, if not removed completely, is usually severely truncated. Textual editor David Snodin was especially pleased that a filmed version of Richard III was finally presenting Margaret's full role.[173] Director Jane Howell also saw the unedited nature of the tetralogy as important for Richard himself, arguing that without the three Henry VI plays "it is impossible to appreciate Richard except as some sort of diabolical megalomaniac," whereas in the full context of the tetralogy "you've seen why he is created, you know how such a man can be created: he was brought up in war, he saw and knew nothing else from his father but the struggle for the crown, and if you've been brought up to fight, if you've got a great deal of energy, and physical handicaps, what do you do? You take to intrigue and plotting."[174]

This episode was filmed on the same set as the three Henry VI plays. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear to be a ruin, as England reached its lowest point of chaos.[166] In the same vein, the costumes became more and more monotone as the four plays went on; The First Part of Henry the Sixt features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by The Tragedy of Richard III, everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another.[167]

The controversial final image of the episode - the "reverse pietà" - which divided critics, but which for director Jane Howell was a vital aspect of the thematic design of the production
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jane Howell
  • Produced by Shaun Sutton
  • Taping dates: 31 March-6 April 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 23 January 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 2 May 1983
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 239 minutes

The Tragedy of Richard III

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Third Part of Henry the Sixt was presented by Brewster Mason who had played Warwick in the 1963 RSC production The Wars of the Roses directed by John Barton and Peter Hall. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by historian Michael Wood.[169]

Howell's presentation of the complete first historical tetralogy was one of the most lauded achievements of the entire BBC series, and prompted Stanley Wells to argue that the productions were "probably purer than any version given in the theatre since Shakespeare's time."[161] Michael Mannheim was similarly impressed, calling the tetralogy "a fascinating, fast paced and surprisingly tight-knit study in political and national deterioration."[168]

The scene where Richard kills Henry has three biblical references carefully worked out by Howell; as Richard drags Henry away, his arms spread out into a crucified position; on the table at which he sat are seen bread and wine, and in the background, an iron crossbar is faintly illuminated against the black stone wall.[172]

This episode was filmed on the same set as The First Part of Henry the Sixt and The Second Part of Henry the Sixt. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear to be completely falling apart, as England descended into an even worse state of chaos.[166] In the same vein, the costumes became more and more monotone as the four plays went on - The First Part of Henry the Sixt features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by The Tragedy of Richard III, everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another.[167]

The Battle of Tewkesbury; note the similarity in the costumes of the two sets of combatants - it is virtually impossible to tell the Yorkists from the Lancastrians
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jane Howell
  • Produced by Shaun Sutton
  • Taping dates: 10–17 February 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 16 January 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 24 April and 1 May 1983[157]
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 211 minutes

The Third Part of Henry the Sixt

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Second Part of Henry the Sixt was presented by Brewster Mason who had played Warwick in the 1963 RSC production The Wars of the Roses directed by John Barton and Peter Hall. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by historian Michael Wood.[169]

Howell's presentation of the complete first historical tetralogy was one of the most lauded achievements of the entire BBC series, and prompted Stanley Wells to argue that the productions were "probably purer than any version given in the theatre since Shakespeare's time."[161] Michael Mannheim was similarly impressed, calling the tetralogy "a fascinating, fast paced and surprisingly tight-knit study in political and national deterioration."[168]

A strong element of verfremdungseffekt in this production is the use of doubling, particularly in relation to actors David Burke and Trevor Peacock. Burke plays Henry's most loyal servant, Gloucester, but after Gloucester's death, he plays Jack Cade's right-hand man, Dick the Butcher. Peacock plays Cade himself, having previously appeared in The First Part of Henry the Sixt as Lord Talbot, representative of the English chivalry so loved by Henry. Both actors play complete inversions of their previous characters, re-creating both an authentically Elizabethan theatrical practice and providing a Brechtian political commentary.[170][171]

This episode was filmed on the same set as The First Part of Henry the Sixt. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear that the paint work was flaking and peeling, and the set falling into a state of disrepair, as England descended into an ever increasing state of chaos.[166] In the same vein, the costumes became more and more monotone as the four plays went on; The First Part of Henry the Sixt features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by The Tragedy of Richard III, everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another.[167]

Henry (Peter Benson) surveys the destruction in the wake of the Jack Cade rebellion. Note the charred and rubbish strewn set, which has darkened considerably since 1 Henry VI, where yellow, bright blue and red predominated
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jane Howell
  • Produced by Jonathan Miller
  • Taping dates: 17–23 December 1981
  • First transmitted in the UK: 9 January 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 10 and 17 April 1983[157]
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 213 minutes

The Second Part of Henry the Sixt

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The First Part of Henry the Sixt was presented by Brewster Mason who had played Warwick in the 1963 RSC production The Wars of the Roses directed by John Barton and Peter Hall. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by historian Michael Wood.[169]

Howell's presentation of the complete first historical tetralogy was one of the most lauded achievements of the entire BBC series, and prompted Stanley Wells to argue that the productions were "probably purer than any version given in the theatre since Shakespeare's time."[161] Michael Mannheim was similarly impressed, calling the tetralogy "a fascinating, fast paced and surprisingly tight-knit study in political and national deterioration."[168]

Graham Holderness saw Howell's non-naturalistic production as something of a reaction to the BBC's adaptation of the Henriad in seasons one and two, which had been directed by David Giles in a traditional and straightforward manner; "where Messina saw the history plays conventionally as orthodox Tudor historiography, and [David Giles] employed dramatic techniques which allow that ideology a free and unhampered passage to the spectator, Jane Howell takes a more complex view of the first tetralogy as, simultaneously, a serious attempt at historical interpretation, and as a drama with a peculiarly modern relevance and contemporary application. The plays, to this director, are not a dramatization of the Elizabethan World Picture but a sustained interrogation of residual and emergent ideologies in a changing society [...] This awareness of the multiplicity of potential meanings in the play required a decisive and scrupulous avoidance of television or theatrical naturalism: methods of production should operate to open the plays out, rather than close them into the immediately recognisable familiarity of conventional Shakespearean production."[97]

Another element of verfremdungseffekt in this production is seen when Gloucester and Winchester encounter one another at the Tower; both are on horseback, but the horses they ride are hobbyhorses, which actors David Burke and Frank Middlemass cause to pivot and prance as they speak. The ridiculousness of this situation works to "effectively undercut their characters' dignity and status."[165] The "anti-illusionist" set was also used as a means of political commentary; as the four plays progressed, the set decayed and became more and more dilapidated as social order becomes more fractious.[166] In the same vein, the costumes become more and more monotone as the four plays move on - The First Part of Henry the Sixt features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by The Tragedy of Richard III, everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another.[167]

Inspired by the notion that the political intrigues behind the Wars of the Roses often seemed like playground squabbles, Howell and production designer Oliver Bayldon staged the four plays in a single set resembling a children's adventure playground. However, little attempt was made at realism. For example, Bayldon did not disguise the parquet flooring ("it stops the set from literally representing [...] it reminds us we are in a modern television studio"[158]), and in all four productions, the title of the play is displayed within the set itself (on banners in The First Part and The Second Part (where it is visible throughout the entire first scene), on a shroud in The Third Part, and written on a chalkboard by Richard himself in The Tragedy of Richard III). Many critics felt these set design choices lent the production an air of Brechtian verfremdungseffekt.[159][160] Stanley Wells wrote of the set that it was intended to invite the viewer to "accept the play's artificiality of language and action."[161] Michael Hattaway describes it as "anti-illusionist."[162] Susan Willis argues it allows the productions "to reach theatrically toward the modern world."[163] Ronald Knowles writes, "a major aspect of the set was the subliminal suggestion of childlike anarchy, role-playing, rivalry, game and vandalism, as if all culture were precariously balanced on the shaky foundations of atavistic aggression and power-mad possession."[164]

Joan faces off against Talbot during the Siege of Orléans. Note the brightly coloured "adventure playground" set, which stands out against the obviously studio-bound parquet flooring
Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jane Howell
  • Produced by Jonathan Miller
  • Taping dates: 13–19 October 1981
  • First transmitted in the UK: 2 January 1983
  • First transmitted in the US: 27 March and 3 April 1983[157]
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 188 minutes

The First Part of Henry the Sixt

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for The Merry Wives of Windsor was presented by Prunella Scales who portrayed Mistress Page in the BBC adaptation. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by novelist Jilly Cooper.

Jones was determined that the two wives not be clones of one another, so he had them appear as if Page was a well-established member of the bourgeoisie and Ford a member of the nouveau riche.[156]

Director David Jones originally wanted to shoot the episode in Stratford-upon-Avon but was restricted to a studio setting. Determined that the production be as realistic as possible, Jones had designer Dom Homfray base the set on real Tudor houses associated with Shakespeare; Falstaff's room is based on the home of Mary Arden (Shakespeare's mother) in Wilmcote, and the wives' houses are based on the house of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna, and her husband, John Hall. For the background of exterior shots, he used a miniature Tudor village built of plasticine.[155] Homfray won Best Production Designer at the 1983 BAFTAs for his work on this episode.

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by David Jones
  • Taping dates: 1–8 November 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 28 December 1982
  • First transmitted in the US: 31 January 1983
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 167 minutes

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for King Lear was presented by Tony Church who had played the Fool in a 1962 RSC production directed by Peter Brook. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by literary critic Frank Kermode.

Originally, Cedric Messina had cast Robert Shaw to play Lear, with an aim to do the show during the second season, but Shaw died suddenly in 1978 before production could begin, and the play was pushed back.[151] Jonathan Miller had previously directed a Nottingham Playhouse production of King Lear in 1969, starring Michael Hordern as Lear and Frank Middlemass as the Fool. In 1975, he remounted that same production for the BBC Play of the Month, a heavily truncated version, which happened to be the BBC's last Shakespeare production prior to the beginning of the Television Shakespeare. During his producership, Miller tried to persuade the BBC to use the Play of the Month production as their Lear, but they refused, saying a new production had to be done. At the end of the fourth season, Miller's last as producer, his contract stipulated that he still had one production to direct. In-coming producer Shaun Sutton offered him Love's Labour's Lost, but Miller wanted to do one of the three remaining tragedies; Lear, Macbeth or Coriolanus. He had never directed Macbeth or Coriolanus before, but he felt so comfortable with Lear that he went with it.[76] However, the production was basically the same as his 1969/1975 version, with the same two leading actors, the same costumes design, the same lighting, and the same design concept. The only significant difference is that more of the text is used in the latter production.[138] Miller utilised a "board and drapes" approach to the play; all interiors were shot on or near a plain wooden platform whilst all exteriors were shot against a cycloramic curtain with dark tarpaulins. As such, although exteriors and interiors were clearly distinguished from one another, both were nonrepresentational.[152] To enhance the starkness of the look of the production, Miller had lighting technician John Treays desaturate the colour by 30 per cent.[153] Miller also used colour to connect characters; the Fool wears white makeup which washes off during the storm, Edgar wears a white mask when he challenges Edmund to fight, and Cordelia wears white make-up after her death. Similarly, the Fool has red feathers in his hat, Edgar has a red tunic, and Cordelia's red welts on her neck stand out starkly against the white of her skin after her death.[154]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jonathan Miller
  • Taping dates: 26 March-2 April 1982
  • First transmitted in the UK: 19 September 1982
  • First transmitted in the US: 18 October 1982
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 185 minutes

King Lear

Season Five; Shaun Sutton, producer

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for A Midsummer Night's Dream was presented by Frances de la Tour who had played Helena in a 1970 RSC production directed by Peter Brook. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by art historian Roy Strong.

Jonathan Miller originally planned on directing this episode himself, with fairies inspired by the work of Inigo Jones and Hieronymus Bosch, but he ultimately directed Timon of Athens instead, after original director Michael Bogdanov quit that production.[137] Elijah Moshinsky based his fairies on the baroque eroticism of Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens; in particular Rembrandt's Danaë was used as the inspiration for Titania's bed. A darker production than is usual for this play, Moshinsky referred to the style of the adaptation as "romantic realism."[76] He disliked productions which portrayed Puck as a mischievous but harmless and lovable sprite, so he had Phil Daniels play him as if he were an anti-establishment punk.[149] It has long been rumoured, but never confirmed, that in his portrayal of Peter Quince, actor Geoffrey Palmer was imitating the soon-to-retire Director General of the BBC, Ian Trethowan.[150]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Elijah Moshinsky
  • Taping dates: 19–25 May 1981
  • First transmitted in the UK: 13 December 1981
  • First transmitted in the US: 19 April 1982
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 111 minutes

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Troilus & Cressida was presented by Norman Rodway who had played Thersites in a 1968 RSC production directed by John Barton. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by diplomat Sir David Hunt.[148]

Jim Atkinson won Best Cameraman at the 1982 BAFTAs for his work on this episode.

Of the play, Miller stated "it's ironic, it's farcical, it's satirical: I think it's an entertaining, rather frothily ironic play. It's got a bitter-sweet quality, rather like black chocolate. It has a wonderfully light ironic touch and I think it should be played ironically, not with heavy-handed agonising on the dreadful futility of it all."[146] Miller chose to set the play in a Renaissance milieu rather than a classical one, as he felt it was really about Elizabethan England rather than ancient Troy, and as such, he hoped the production would carry relevance for a contemporary TV audience; "I feel that Shakespeare's plays and all the works of the classic rank, of literary antiquity, must necessarily be Janus-faced. And one merely pretends that one is producing pure Renaissance drama; I think one has to see it in one's own terms. Because it is constantly making references, one might as well be a little more specific about it. Now that doesn't mean that I want to hijack them for the purposes of making the plays address themselves specifically to modern problems. I think what one wants to do is to have these little anachronistic overtones so that we're constantly aware of the fact that the play is, as it were, suspended in the twentieth-century imagination, halfway between the period in which it was written and the period in which we are witnessing it. And then there is of course a third period being referred to, which is the period of the Greek antiquity."[147]

Director Jonathan Miller used the work of gothic painter Lucas Cranach as primary visual influence during this production, and several of Cranach's sketches can be seen in Ajax's tent; most notably, Eve from his Adam and Eve woodcut, hung on the tent like a nude centrefold. Miller wanted Troy to be sharply differentiated from Greece; Troy was decadent, with clear abstract lines (based on some of Hans Vredeman de Vries' architectural experiments with perspective). Costumes were elegant and bright, based on the works of Cranach and Albrecht Dürer.[145] The Greek camp, on the other hand, was based on a gypsy camp near the BBC Television Centre; cluttered, dirty and squalid. Miller envisioned it as built on the remains of an earlier Troy, with bits of roofs jutting out of the ground and bits and pieces of ancient statues lying around (although this idea originated for Troilus, Miller had first used it in his earlier Timon of Athens). Also, on one side of the camp, a huge wooden horse leg can be seen under construction - the Trojan Horse. In the command tent, a schematic for the horse is visible in several scenes, as is a scale model on the desk nearby. Miller wanted the camp to give the sense of "everything going downhill," with the men demoralised, fed up fighting, wanting only to get drunk and sleep (except Ulysses, who is depicted as still fully alert) The uniforms were all khaki coloured, and although Renaissance in style, were based on the TV show M*A*S*H, with Thersites specifically based on Corporal Klinger.[145]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jonathan Miller
  • Taping dates: 28 July-5 August 1981
  • First transmitted in the UK: 7 November 1981
  • First transmitted in the US: 17 May 1982
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 190 minutes

Troilus & Cressida

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Othello was presented by Bob Peck who had played Iago in a 1979 RSC production directed by Ronald Eyre. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by author Susan Hill.

During production, Miller based the visual design on the work of El Greco.[141] The interior design of the production was based on the interiors of the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, whilst the street set was based on a real street in Cyprus.[142] For the scene where Iago asks Cassio about Bianca, Othello stands behind the open door. Most of the scene is shot from behind him, so the audience sees what he sees. However, not all the dialogue between Iago and Cassio is audible. Although this led to criticism when the episode was screened in the US, where it was assumed that the sound people simply had not done their job very well, it was actually done so as to increase subjectivity; if Othello is having difficulty hearing what they are saying, so too is the audience.[143] Bob Hoskins played Iago as a Rumpelstiltskin type, an impish troublemaker who delights in petty mischief and mocks people behind their backs.[144]

Cedric Messina had initially planned to screen Othello during season two, and had attempted to cast James Earl Jones in the part. However, the British Actors' Equity Association had written into their contract with the BBC that only British actors could appear in the series, and if Messina cast Jones, Equity threatened to strike, thus crippling the show. Messina backed down and Othello was pushed back to a later season. By the time it was produced, Jonathan Miller had taken over as producer, and he decided that the play was not about race at all, casting a white actor in the role.[33]

Behind-the-scenes

Cast

  • Directed by Jonathan Miller
  • Taping dates: 9–17 March 1981
  • First transmitted in the UK: 4 October 1981
  • First transmitted in the US: 12 October 1981
  • Running Time (PAL DVD): 203 minutes

Othello

Season four; Jonathan Miller, producer

The Prefaces to Shakespeare episode for Antony & Cleopatra was presented by Barbara Jefford who had played Cleopatra in a 1965 Oxford Playhouse production directed by Frank Hauser. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by "agony aunt" Anna Raeburn.

During rehearsal of the scene with the snake, Jane Lapotaire, who suffers from ophidiophobia, was extremely nervous, but was assured the snake was well trained. At that point, the snake crawled down the front of her dress towards her breast, before then moving around her back. During the actual shooting of the scene, Lapotaire kept her hands on the snake at all times.[141]

This is one of only two episodes in which original Shakespearean text was substituted with additional material (the other was Love's Labour's Lost). Controversially, Miller and his script editor David Snodin cut Act 3, Scene 10 and replaced it with the description of the Battle of Actium from Plutarch's Parallel Lives, which is delivered as an onscreen legend overlaying a painting of the battle.

Although this episode was the last of season three to air, it was actually the first episode shot under Jonathan Miller's producership, and he purposely interpreted it in a manner divergent from most theatrical productions. Whereas the love between Antony and Cleopatra is usually seen in a very heightened manner, as a grand passion, Miller saw it as a love between two people well past their prime who are both on a "downhill slide, each scrambling to maintain a foothold." He compared Antony to a football player who had waited several seasons too long to retire, and Cleopatra to a "treacherous slut."[140] Miller used Paolo Veronese's The Family of Darius before Alexander as a major influence in his visual design of this episode, as it mixes both classical and Renaissance costumes in a single image.[77]

Behind-the-scenes