Shakespeare on the BBC
This autumn across the BBC
This autumn, the BBC brings Shakespeare and
his stories to audiences with a variety of new
programmes and initiatives across its
services – television, radio, online and interactive.
Shakespeare on BBC FOUR
Shakespeare's Happy Endings
BBC FOUR embraces the many
misinterpretations of Shakespeare's
plays in a comic genealogy,
presented and performed by
Meet Professor Simon Starkman - a
desperate man with a huge ego, he
fancies himself as the new face of TV
Thanks to the forthcoming
BBC season of Shakespeare, Starkman
has been given a chance to present the
show Shakespeare's Happy Endings,
letting the audience in on this surprising
and little-known literary history, whilst
seizing at his one opportunity for
Patrick Barlow is Professor Simon
Starkman: Shakespearean academic,
amateur thesp, and novice
documentary presenter, Starkman is
our guide through the myriad and
mad re-workings of the Bard's
greatest stage hits.
Included in the dramatic
reconstructions will be: the revised
Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending;
the Bowdler's version of Othello that
struggled to make sense of the play
without the sex and violence; a
radical musical version of Macbeth and a host of other delights.
Shakespeare's Happy Endings uses
every device at the disposal of the
Arts Documentary genre. This has a
less-than-positive effect on Starkman's
companion, William Shakespeare,
played by Kevin Eldon.
Nathum Tales and James Burbage also
make appearances, all played by Henry Goodman.
Witty, entertaining and surprisingly
informing, Shakespeare's Happy Endings
is a comedy mockumentary in the
vein of BBC FOUR's recent successful
satires In the Thick of It and Curb
Your Enthusiasm, written by Simon
Lys, with an original score by
Howard Goodall (Blackadder, TV
Produced by Ben Evans and directed
by Stephen Leslie; broadcasts on BBC FOUR in November.
A Waste Of Shame
Inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets,
William Boyd's A Waste of Shame offers an insight into the man himself
- a story told in his very own words.
Rupert Graves stars as love-torn
Shakespeare, Indira Varma as Lucie
'the dark lady' and Tom Sturridge as
William Herbert 'the fair youth' in
this intense drama about the
passionate and destructive love
triangle that consumed Shakespeare
in his troubled middle years.
Adapting some of the most
celebrated, sexual, raw, bitter and
vitriolic love poems ever written, the
drama explores the inspiration behind
Internationally-acclaimed novelist and
screenwriter William Boyd brings to
life Shakespeare's inner thoughts, the
biographical drama focusing on
relationships with the 'lovely boy' and
his extramarital relationship with the
prostitute Lucie - 'the dark lady' of
his Sonnet sequence.
Based on academic sources, this
BBC/Open University co-production
for BBC FOUR delves into the
mystery of who these people really
were and how they influenced and
affected the greatest writer in our
Shakespeare is presented as a
corpulent, middle-aged writer and
businessman, separated from his wife
and grieving for the death of his son.
Desperate for work, Shakespeare
takes a commission from Lady
Pembroke, played by Zoë Wanamaker,
to write 17 sonnets for an
androgynous young lord, William
Herbert, the soon-to-be Earl of
Herbert and 'the dark
lady' provide the inspiration for
the most celebrated love poems
Produced by Chrissy Skinns and
directed by John McKay.
Broadcasts on BBC FOUR in November.
BBC FOUR will also be showing three performances of original plays: a repeat of Peter Brook's stage version of Hamlet; Mark Rylance's Globe Theatre production of Richard II, which was first shown live on BBC FOUR; and Trevor Nunn's 1996 film of Twelfth Night.