Shakespeare’s Restless World

Shakespeare’s Restless World

British Museum Director Neil MacGregor presents Shakespeare's Restless World. The 20-part series looks at the world through the eyes of Shakespeare's audience by exploring objects from that turbulent period.

  • Updated:
  • Episodes available:
    Indefinitely help

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to this podcast and automatically receive the latest episodes.

More help with subscribing

Recent episodes (10)

  • Shakespeare Goes Global

    Fri, 11 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    From a theatre on the banks of the Thames, Shakespeare's words have gone global. In the final programme, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, studies a volume of the Complete Works of Shakespeare that consoled the inmates of Robben Island, including one Nelson Mandela.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Theatres of Cruelty

    Thu, 10 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Shakespeare’s audience would have been familiar with the brutalities of torture. Traitors were hanged, cut down while still alive and their bodies hacked to pieces in front of blood-spattered crowds. The relic of an eye, encased in silver, was created after one Catholic member of such a crowd managed to grab the eye of Edward Oldcorne, a gentle Catholic priest executed in 1606. This gruesome relic serves as a spine-chilling reminder that the gruesome scenes in King Lear, Titus Andronicus and beyond would have been disconcertingly close to the real deal.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • London Becomes Rome

    Wed, 9 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    King James I's coronation transported Londoners to another world. The deprivations waged by the plauge were temporarily forgotten. Across the City of London, seven towering triumphal arches stood 90 feet above the peering crowds. These elaborate displays of street theatre survive in a book published in 1604 called The Arches of Triumph, a sort of souvenir guide of the day.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Plague and the Playhouse

    Tue, 8 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Plague was a deadly threat for England and an almighty challenge for James I. In 1603, a fresh epidemic swept through London forcing the theatres to close for almost a year. Join Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, as he surveys a plague proclamation.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • A Time of Change, A Change of Time

    Mon, 7 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Perceptions of time were starting to shift in Shakespeare's day. To illustrate this, Neil MacGregor explores the workings of a chiming clock made in Blackfriars in 1598. There are over 80 references to clocks in his plays, making it clear to us that 'Shakespearean' time was well on its way to being modern time.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Flag That Failed

    Fri, 4 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A symbolic act of union proved a lot harder than it looked. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the problems of creating a flag that expressed the union of a Great Britain.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Disguise and Deception

    Thu, 3 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Deception and religion, cross-dressing and travelling salesmen are all unpacked via a pedlar's trunk. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, reviews the lives of those who travelled England's roads.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • From London to Marrakech

    Wed, 2 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Sunken gold from West Africa sheds light on the complex relationship Elizabethan England had with the Moors of the Mediterranean. But behind the glistening gold lies a more disturbing tale of xenophobia, leading to the eventual expelling of Moors from Elizabethan England. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, presents.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Sex and the City

    Tue, 1 May 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A delicate glass goblet reveals the twin seductions of Venice: its sought-after luxuries and its equally sought-after lecherous women. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, visits Venice - a melting pot of nationalities, religions, classes and cultures all existing within this magnificent city built on water.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Treason and Plots

    Mon, 30 Apr 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A tabloid history of Shakespeare's England, told through a collection of contemporary accounts of plots to murder Elizabeth I and James I - A Thankfull Remembrance of God's Mercy. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, presents.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

Terms of Use

The BBC Podcasts are for your personal non-commercial use only.

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the BBC Podcasts shall remain the property of the BBC or third parties. You may not edit, alter, adapt or add to the BBC Podcast in any way. The BBC Podcasts are made available by the BBC on an "as is" and "as available" basis and the BBC gives no warranty of any kind in relation to the BBC Podcast. To the maximum extent permitted by law the BBC will not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer as a result of, or connected to, the download or use of the BBC Podcasts.

 

See the full Standard Licence Terms here.

Play recent episodes

You may also like

Short Cuts

  • Factual
  • Entertainment
  • Comedy

Josie Long’s showcase for delightful and adventurous short documentaries. Each week join Josie as she dives into a world of true stories, brief encounters, radio adventures and found sound.

Tue, 6 May 14

28 minutes

Alistair Cooke's Letter from America Rediscovered

  • Factual
  • Factual > History
  • Learning

Highlights from lost recordings from the 1970 and 80s.

Sun, 30 Mar 14

34 minutes

Genres

  • No matches found