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Unplaced programmes from 16 June to 22 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

EastEnders

Wedding bells are ringing for Michael and heavily pregnant Janine. Will everything run smoothly for Walford's wickedest couple?

Jay assumes that Abi’s parents are forcing her to go to Costa Rica and he hatches a plan to run away together. When Abi refuses, Jay gives her an ultimatum - Costa Rica or him.

There’s a new arrival in Albert Square as Joey Branning arrives with a bang in Walford. But is he really a knight in shining armour, or a devil in disguise?

After a surprise confession from Max, Tanya is shocked when he asks her to marry him.

Michael is played by Steve John Shepherd, Janine by Charlie Brooks, Jay by Jamie Borthwick, Abi by Lorna Fitzgerald, Joey by David Witts, Max by Jake Wood and Tanya by Jo Joyner.

Saturday 16 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Tennis: Queen's Semi Finals

Sue Barker presents live coverage of the semi-finals from the Queen’s Club in London.

The tournament always attracts a top-class field eager to hone their grass court skills ahead of Wimbledon. Last year Andy Murray reached the final by outplaying four-time champion Andy Roddick, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat James Ward in the other semi-final.

Commentary comes from Andrew Castle, John Lloyd, Andrew Cotter and Peter Fleming.

Euro 2012: Czech Republic v Poland OR Greece v Russia

Gary Lineker introduces live coverage of the Euro 2012 match between Group A rivals Czech Republic and Poland.

The Czechs were finalists at Euro 96, and semi-finalists as recently as 2004, but were not heavily fancied prior to this tournament.

However, with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech between the posts and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky pulling the strings in midfield, they will be hopeful of at least reaching the knock-out stages.

Co-hosts Poland are the lowest ranked side in the tournament, but Franciszek Smuda’s side boast one of the most sought-after strikers in European football – Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, who scored 30 goals for his club this season.

The Poles have never gone further than the group stage at the European Championship, but they should get plenty of support from a partisan crowd at Wroclaw’s Municipal Stadium.

Euro 2012: Greece v Russia OR Czech Republic Vs Poland

Manish Bhasin presents live Euro 2012 coverage as Greece and Russia meet in the final round of Group A games.

The Greeks will be out for revenge in Warsaw, having crashed out at the group stage of Euro 2008 following a 1-0 defeat to the Russians. Four years earlier they caused one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history, defying pre-tournament odds of 150-1 to lift the trophy.

Russia went on to reach the semi-finals at Euro 2008, bowing out to eventual winners Spain, and Dick Advocaat’s men began this year’s tournaments as favourites to win Group A.

They boast plenty of familiar faces – the likes of Andrey Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak all played in the Premier League this season.

Sunday 17 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Tennis: Queen's Men's Final

Sue Barker presents live coverage of the Queen’s Club final in London.

Andy Murray won his second Queen’s title last year, coming from a set down to overcome Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a wonderfully entertaining match. Murray, who also won the tournament in 2009, would love to make it a hat-trick of titles at Queen’s as he prepares for another shot at that elusive Wimbledon crown.

Commentary comes from Andrew Castle, John Lloyd, Andrew Cotter and Peter Fleming.

True Love

Created and directed by Bafta winning Dominic Savage, True Love stars David Tennant, Ashley Walters, Billie Piper, Jane Horrocks and David Morrissey. BBC One’s first improvised series, it explores five powerful and overlapping love stories set in the same town.

The first episode centres on Nick, who is happily married: his wife and children are everything to him, but when his first love appears out of the blue he starts to question everything. Could they go back to what they had all those years ago?

Cast: Nick is played by David Tennant, Ruth is played by Joanne Froggatt, Serena is played by Vicky McClure, Michelle is played by Lacey Turner, Darren is played by Luke Bryant and Lorraine is played by Jo Woodcock.

Euro 2012 Highlights

Colin Murray introduces highlights of today’s two Euro 2012 games, which see Portugal play the Netherlands and Denmark face Germany in the final round of Group B matches.

The Dutch were European champions in 1988, but since then they have not gone further than the semi-finals. The last time they reached that stage was at Euro 2004, when they were eliminated by the Portuguese, losing 2-1 in Lisbon.

There will be no shortage of attacking talent on show in Kharkiv – Holland’s Robin van Persie netted 37 goals for Arsenal this season, with Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo bagging a remarkable 60 for Real Madrid.

The other fixture in Group B also has plenty of history. Denmark caused a huge upset by defeating Germany in the final of Euro 92. If they are to cause another surprise, highly-rated Ajax youngster Christian Eriksen could be their key man. Germany were beaten finalists at Euro 2008, but prior to this tournament they were many pundits’ tip to go all the way this summer.

BBC TWO

BBC TWO

World Cup Rowing: Munich

John Inverdale introduces the action from the World Cup rowing regatta in Munich.

It's the last chance for a hugely talented British squad to test themselves against their rivals before the London Olympics, where GB are tipped to beat their Beijing medal haul of six. Early season form augers well for Britain, who will want to reinforce the message that they are the team to beat this summer.

Names to watch out for in Munich include lightweight double sculls pair Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, who are reigning Olympic and world champions, plus double sculls duo Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, who were unbeaten together last year. Grainger will be especially keen to claim gold this summer , having had to settle for silver at the three previous Olympics.

The men’s coxless four, a category Britain has dominated at Olympic level, will also be intriguing, given that Team GB rejigged their line-up earlier this year.

BBC THREE

BBC THREE

Plan B, Leona and Labrinth: Project Hackney

Plan B is going back to his old school, a pupil referral unit in Newham, East London, on a mission to change young lives. He’ll join forces with two other big East London names, Leona Lewis and Labrinth, to work with a group of teenagers at the school, gain their trust and help focus them on their future.

“I’m at an age now where I’ve experienced enough that I can go into that school and plant some positive seeds inside some of these kids' heads and hopefully make them dream bigger - 'cos the problem is, they don’t dream big enough.” Plan B.

The stars may all have come from the East End, but they’re both surprised and moved when they come face to face with some of the unique challenges and experiences these young people face growing up in the Olympic boroughs today.

The artists, who are all on the line-up for BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend festival, will work intensively with the youngsters, coaching them towards a special musical performance on front of 250 of their peers. The teens, who have never performed in an event like this before, will be challenged by Labrinth, Leona and Plan B to come up with, rehearse and deliver this musical moment, even though simply attending school regularly is a challenge for some of them.

The musicians will also explore how important family, diversity and neighbourhoods are in the Olympic boroughs, and how life in the inner city can affect opportunities for young people - for better and worse.

Monday 18 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Olympic Torch Live: East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

John Inverdale presents a live TV special from Hull’s West Park, where thousands of people will gather to see the historic arrival of the Olympic Torch on its first day in the region.

John will capture the sense of excitement and anticipation as he prepares to welcome the Torch into West Park.

The programme also features a film of Hull’s Olympic boxing hopeful Luke Campbell, who will talk about competing (and winning) his final tournament before the Olympics.

There will also be a look ahead to the Torch’s arrival in Lincoln, when Hollywood actor and Lincoln resident Colin McFarlane goes on a short filmed tour of his favourite places in the famous Cathedral city.

SM

Euro 2012: Croatia v Spain OR Italy Vs Republic of Ireland

Manish Bhasin introduces live coverage of the Euro 2012 match between Group C rivals Croatia and Spain.

The Spanish are the reigning World Cup winners and European champions, and are chasing an unprecedented hat-trick of major titles. They qualified with a flawless record, and can call upon some of the finest midfielders in world football, including 2010 hero Andres Iniesta and influential playmaker Xavi.

This will be Croatia’s final tournament under the stewardship of Slaven Bilic, a guitar-playing law graduate familiar to English fans following spells with West Ham and Everton.

At Euro 2008 they suffered a heart-breaking quarter-final exit, with star player Luka Modric missing in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Turkey. The Tottenham star will be desperate to make amends for his country this summer.

Euro 2012: Italy v Republic of Ireland OR Croatia Vs Spain

Gary Lineker presents live Euro 2012 coverage as Italy and the Republic of Ireland meet in the final round of Group C games.

It will be a special occasion for Ireland’s coach Giovanni Trapattoni, a managerial legend in Italy, who had a four-year spell as coach of the Azzurri.

The Irish will begin as underdogs but will take heart from their friendly win against the Italians last summer. And those with longer memories will recall Ray Houghton’s famous winner against Italy at the 1994 World Cup.

Four-times World Cup winners, Italy have only lifted the European Championship once, although they came desperately close to a second title in 2000, losing in the final to France.

Cesare Prandelli has replaced Marcello Lippi as Italy coach following the disappointing World Cup campaign, and has earned praise for adopting a more attacking approach. Defensively, however, they remain a tough nut to crack, with Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon still as formidable an obstacle as ever.

True Love

Dominic Savage’s improvised series continues with Paul’s story.

Paul loves his baby boy. But being young parents can be tough, and he and his wife are struggling to keep the spark alive. Then he catches sight of a girl on his way to work and feels an instant attraction - could this really be love at first sight? Craving excitement, he can’t stop himself from finding out.

Cast: Paul played by Ashley Walters, Michelle played by Lacey Turner, Stella played by Jaime Winstone and Gavin played by Aymen Hamdouchi.

Tuesday 19 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Royal Ascot

The start of a five day horse racing extravaganza billed as the greatest race meeting in the world. The Berkshire event is also one of the highlights of the social calendar, with many attending simply to see and be seen.

There are 30 races over the week and today’s card includes three Group One races - the sport's elite contests. Featuring some of the world's best horses, they are the Queen Anne Stakes, King's Stand Stakes and St James's Palace Stakes.

Clare Balding will host the coverage from Ascot. She'll be joined by Willie Carson, Mick Fitzgerald, Rishi Persad, Suzi Perry, Ian Bartlett and John Parrott. Race commentary will come from Jim McGrath.

EastEnders

Abi is determined to keep her engagement to Jay a secret, but when her engagement ring gets stuck on her finger she is forced to reveal the truth to her parents.

Janine’s doctor tells her to postpone her wedding, warning her that the stress is taking its toll on her pregnancy.

Derek continues to take money from Lucy, unaware that someone is watching.

Jay is played by Jamie Borthwick, Abi by Lorna Fitzgerald, Janine by Charlie Brooks, Derek by Jamie Foreman, Lucy by Hetti Bywater, Michael by Steve John Shepherd and Roxy is played by Rita Simons.

True Love

The third episode of Dominic Savage’s modern love stories focuses on Holly.

Holly is a young teacher who is in an unsatisfactory relationship with a married man. When she finds herself drawn to one of her female pupils, the feeling proves to be mutual.

Cast: Holly played by Billie Piper, David played by Charlie Creed Miles, Karen played by Kaya Scodelario, Lorraine played by Jo Woodcock, Holly’s Mum played by Jenny Agutter, Chris played by Vahid Gold and Katie played by Michelle Duncan.

Euro 2012 Highlights

Gary Lineker introduces highlights of today’s two Euro 2012 games, which see England play Ukraine and Sweden meet France in the final round of Group D matches. Expert analysis comes from Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Lee Dixon.

After sitting out the opening two matches through suspension, Wayne Rooney should be available to return for England in Donetsk. Roy Hodgson’s side will have to be at their best against the tournament co-hosts, who beat the Three Lions towards the end of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. England have never won the European Championship, while Ukraine are taking part in the tournament for the first time.

The day’s other game sees the Swedes take on France in Kiev. Two times European Champions, the French last lifted the trophy in 2000. They endured a disappointing World Cup campaign in 2010, crashing out in the group stage.

With talents such as Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery at their disposal, they will be expected to at least reach the quarter-finals this summer. However, Laurent Blanc’s side will have to keep a close eye on Swedish danger man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who struck 35 goals for AC Milan this season.

Wednesday 20 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Royal Ascot

Day two of the sporting and social showpiece from the famous Ascot racecourse.

HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will be in attendance, with a special atmosphere guaranteed in this Diamond Jubilee year.

The highlight on the track is the mile and a quarter Prince Of Wales's Stakes. Contested by the best horses aged four years and over, it was won last year by superstar jockey Frankie Dettori on Rewilding.

Clare Balding will host the coverage from Ascot. She'll be joined by Willie Carson, Mick Fitzgerald, Rishi Persad, Suzi Perry, Ian Bartlett and John Parrott. Race commentary will come from Jim McGrath.

Coverage continues on BBC Two and BBC HD from 3.20pm - 5.15pm.

EastEnders

When Jean and Michael have a showdown she shows him that she is a force to be reckoned with- but can she persuade him to do the right thing?

Max and Tanya desperately try to convince Abi not to get married and Abi seems unsure what to do. Will she give up her dreams of becoming a vet to marry Jay?

Derek forces Anthony to take Alice out on a date. But when Anthony picks her up he finds Derek is coming along as her chaperone – can this date disaster get any worse?

Jean is played by Gillian Wright, Michael by Steve John Shepherd, Max by Jake Wood, Tanya by Jo Joyner, Abi by Lorna Fitzgerald, Jay by Jamie Borthwick, Derek by Jamie Foreman, Alice is played by Jasmyn Banks and Anthony by Matt Lapinskas.

Silk

In representing Jody Farr Martha has truly supped with the Devil. Despite pleading his innocence to this crime, Farr is a notorious criminal responsible for the death of Martha’s former client Brendan Kay. But is he getting a fair trial?

Struggling with shifting power plays and an untenable defence, Martha decides to do her job while not allowing Jody to get under her skin. However, when she senses that he isn’t getting a fair trial she suspects foul play and sets a dangerous trap to uncover the truth.

With the date of his tribunal looming Clive focuses all his efforts on prosecuting Jody Farr, but becomes progressively worried about CW’s state of mind and whether he can still support her application to chambers.

In the face of an uncertain future, Billy finds himself trapped by Micky Joy. Loyalties are stretched to breaking point as the trial runs towards its explosive climax.

Maxine Peake is Martha; Rupert Penry-Jones is Clive; Neil Stuke is Billy; Phil Davis is Micky Joy; Frances Barber is Caroline Warwick ‘CW’; Indira Varma is George Duggan; Alex Jennings is Alan Cowdrey; Shaun Evans is Daniel; Finbar Lynch is Jody Farr and Kaye Wragg is Jamie Slotover.

True Love

Episode four of Dominic Savage’s drama True Love continues with Sandra’s story.

When Sandra’s daughter leaves home she realises that she and her husband have little to say to one another. Without the kids to look after, she feels lost. Then she meets someone who somehow makes her feel alive again - has she really found her soul mate, and is she brave enough to start over?

Cast: Sandra played by Jane Horrocks, Ismail played by Alexander Siddig, David played by Charlie Creed Miles, Sarah played by Genevieve Barr and Rita played by Kirsty Bushell.

True Love

Dominic Savage’s improvised drama series True Love concludes tonight, with Adrian’s story.

Adrian is a divorcee who has been searching for true love. It's not been easy but he's not giving up. Still a romantic, he believes whole-heartedly that one day he will meet the right woman. Just when he thinks he might have found her, he finds that he is the victim of another obsessive love that threatens to scupper his future.

Cast: Adrian played by David Morrissey, Kathy played by Gemma Chan, Karen played by Kaya Scodelario, Lorraine played by Jo Woodcock, Phil played by Neil Bell and Louise played by Julia Krynke.

BBC TWO

BBC TWO

The Secret History Of Our Streets: Caledonian Road

Charles Booth’s vast 1886 Survey of London ranked each one of London streets according to the class of their residents. 125 years later BBC Two returns to the Caledonian Road, which starts next to Kings Cross station and heads north for over a mile, to see how its fortunes have ebbed and flowed.

From its beginning, the street has been resolutely working class and when Charles Booth visited he found it a depressing district. But the people of The Cally, as it’s affectionately known to residents, have held their community together - despite being challenged by powerful outside forces and a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges.

Featuring fascinating and often passionate accounts from residents both past and present, the film tells the story of the changing faces of this remarkable street.

BBC THREE

BBC THREE

Cherry Healey: How to Get a Life - Single v Settled

After a year of sleepless nights following the birth of her daughter Cherry wants to get back on the rollercoaster of modern life - but wonders if she’s been left behind.

Throughout the series Cherry meets a wide range of young people living in modern Britain, getting a taste of what it's like to live in their world before inviting them into her life.

In the first episode of the series Cherry investigates what a modern relationship looks like in a world where anything goes.  She spends time with identical twins, one single and one married; teenagers who are into threesomes and a young man who is desperate to meet the one.

BBC FOUR

BBC FOUR

The Strange Case Of The Law

In his first television series, barrister Harry Potter tells the remarkable story of English justice for BBC Four. As an ordained priest in the Church of England, Harry spent eight years as a prison chaplain. He then trained as a barrister, was called to the Bar in 1993, and works exclusively in criminal defence.

Harry is a published author, with articles on prisons and criminal justice; a book on the history of capital punishment and two books on Scottish History. Harry was born and brought up in Glasgow.

Harry says: “As a Scot I may be said to have a dispassionate view of English Law, although it gratifies me to note that England’s greatest judge - Lord Mansfield - and her greatest barrister - Thomas Erskine, were Scottish too. The story of English Law is one about which we can all be proud. It is an important aspect of our national history, a boon we have given the world, and has been largely one which has ensured liberty and justice in equal measure, the two greatest attributes of civilisation.

“The English Common Law is anything but common. It is unique and peculiar to this country, growing out of the specifics of her history, and enshrining all that is best in our culture.”

English Common Law, with its emphasis on the role of the jury, set a standard of fairness that has influenced legal systems across the world. Many of the features that characterise today's courts were in place by as early as the 14th century and in this three-part series, Harry looks at how England came to have such a distinctive and enduring justice system.

In this first episode, Harry explores the rise of ‘trial by ordeal’ where painful and dangerous physical tests were used to determine guilt or innocence. He shows how systems of religious ‘proof’ came to be replaced by jury trial, explains why Henry II's attempt to unify law in England led to murder in Canterbury Cathedral, and takes a revealing look at the most famous legal document in history, the Magna Carta.

Thursday 21 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Royal Ascot

The third and biggest day of the world-famous race meeting is Ladies Day. High-stakes style is the order of the day and big hitters from the international fashion industry will be out in force, bringing glitz and glamour to one of ‘the’ fixtures on the social calendar.

On the track the week's racing highlight, the Ascot Gold Cup, is run. Today's runners will strive to match the record-breaking perfomances of Yeats. A statue in the parade ring commemorates the achievement of this equine legend in winning the long distance race four times in a row.

Clare Balding will host the coverage from Ascot. She'll be joined by Willie Carson, Mick Fitzgerald, Rishi Persad, Suzi Perry, Ian Bartlett and John Parrott. Race commentary will come from Jim McGrath.

Coverage continues on BBC Two and BBC HD from 3.20pm - 5.15pm.

Euro 2012 Quarter Finals

Gary Lineker introduces live Euro 2012 coverage of Portugal v Czech Republic as the quarter finals get underway.

The live game will feature either the winners of Group A facing the runners-up in Group B at Warsaw’s National Stadium or the winners of Group B meeting the Group A runners-up in the Polish city of Gdansk.

BBC TWO

BBC TWO

The Men Who Made Us Fat

Jacques Peretti investigates how the concept of super-sizing changed our eating habits forever. Why did we, once a nation of moderate eaters, start to want more?

Speaking to Mike Donahue, former McDonalds Vice President, Peretti explores the history of supersizing.

Forty years ago McDonalds hired David Wallerstein, a former cinema manager who had introduced the idea of selling larger popcorn servings in his Chicago cinema. Wallerstein realised that people would eat more - but they didn’t like the idea of appearing gluttonous by going back for seconds. By increasing the portion sizes and the cost, he could sell more food. In 1972, he introduced the idea to McDonalds and their first large fries went on sale.

By the 1980s we were eating more, and eating more often. Perretti speaks with industry professionals to examine the story behind the introduction of value meals, king-size snacks and multi-buy promotions. How did the advertising industry encourage us to eat more often?

The programme also explores the developments in dietary advice: by 2003, the Chief Medical Officer was warning of an ‘obesity time bomb’. Peretti speaks to obesity expert Professor Philip James, who made recommendations in his 1996 report that the food industry should cease targeting children in their advertisements. He also speaks with Professor Terry Wilkin, who led a pioneering study into childhood weight gain, and to former Labour MP David Hinchliffe, who chaired the 2003 Parliamentary Select Committee on Health.

BBC THREE

BBC THREE

Dead Boss

Christine has been sent to Germany on a prison exchange. Helen is instructed by Governor Margaret to look after their German guest, Gertrude Verna. Gertie is in prison for murdering and eating her husband and is a celebrity with several books to her name.

Helen finds it difficult to keep Gertie out of trouble as Gertie makes it clear what she thinks of her fellow prisoners. Meanwhile incompetent lawyer Tony may be back on the case and investigations in the Entirely Tiles office continue.

New comedy murder mystery series starring Sharon Horgan and Jennifer Saunders.

The Executive Producer is Jo Sargent and the producer is Caroline Norris. The Director is Steve Bendelack.

Cast: Christine is played by Bryony Hannah, Helen by Sharon Horgan, Governor Margaret by Jennifer Saunders, Gertrude Verna by Anna Crilly and Tony by Geoff McGivern.

BBC FOUR

BBC FOUR

Simón Bolívar Orchestra - Live from Stirling

Kirsty Wark presents live coverage of a special outdoor concert by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the charismatic Gustavo Dudamel and performed from Raploch in Stirling, marking the start of the London 2012 Festival.

Featuring one of the most exciting conductors and orchestras in the world, Simón Bolívar Orchestra - Live from Stirling will broadcast on BBC Four, BBC Radio Scotland and on 22 outdoor screens at key sites across the UK.

Kirsty adds: “It’s a real thrill and privilege to be involved in what will be a hugely significant event, both to the Raploch community and to the whole of the UK marking the start of the London 2012 Festival. Watching Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra playing in the shadow of Stirling Castle will be a wonderful experience for everyone there and also for audiences enjoying our coverage around the country. It will be something everyone who is involved, and especially the youngsters of Big Noise, will remember for the rest of their lives.”

The concert, staged in the shadow of Stirling Castle, also celebrates the work of community-based music programme Sistema Scotland and features performances from some of the local children who are part of this project, as well as performances by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra playing pieces by Beethoven, Purcell and a very special finale.

Expect fireworks on and off stage from one of the most exciting orchestras and conductors in the world.

Friday 22 June

BBC ONE

BBC ONE

Royal Ascot

Day four of the event which has been part of the sporting and social fabric of the nation for nearly 250 years.

Every day the meeting begins with the Royal Procession, featuring four horse-drawn carriages bringing HM The Queen and her party to the course.

The Coronation Stakes is the highlights of the day. Contested by three-year-old fillies over a mile, the contest was won in authoritative fashion last year by France's Immortal Verse. A fitting result in an increasingly international gathering.

Clare Balding will host the coverage from Ascot. She'll be joined by Willie Carson, Mick Fitzgerald, Rishi Persad, Suzi Perry, Ian Bartlett and John Parrott. Race commentary will come from Jim McGrath.

Coverage continues BBC Two and HD from 3.20pm - 5.15pm

BBC TWO

BBC TWO

Simon Schama’s Shakespeare: This England

In Shakespeare and Us, Simon Schama will argue that it is impossible to understand how Shakespeare came to belong ‘to all time', without understanding just how much he was of his time. In his histories and tragedies, Shakespeare explored questions we are all still asking ourselves today: What is this England? What makes this Nation? Behind the mask of royalty, who are our Kings and Queens?

Simon Schama explores how in his history plays Shakespeare created a vision of England that still rings true today. The Protestant Reformation had left the country bitterly divided, a fault-line which ran through Shakespeare’s own family, and left the countrty deeply unsure of its own identity.

Against this backdrop, Shakespeare began to dramatize English history and the English character in a new and unprecedented way. From his first blockbuster, Henry VI, he made sure that his England wasn’t just a place where King and Queens strutted and preened, but where ordinary Englishmen and women took centre stage.

It was an inclusive vision which Shakespeare expanded upon in his masterpieces Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, plays which presents England in glorious technicolour: kings and pickpockets, country squires and common prostitutes, corrupt knights and ragged soldiers. And at the centre of it all is the outsized figure of Sir John Falstaff, a character who transfixed Elizabethan audiences and still moves us today.

Falstaff is Shakespeare’s most stupendous creation; an outsized dream of Englishness who embodies more purely the essence of English irreverence, generosity and wit that any of the characters with whom he shares the stage.

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