To mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death, Countryfile travels the length and breadth of the country in search of the landscapes that inspired his works.
To mark the 400 years since Shakespeare's death, Countryfile travels the length and breadth of the country in search of the landscapes that inspired Shakespeare in his greatest works.
Ellie Harrison is in Warwickshire, rediscovering the ancient Forest of Arden and looking at Shakespeare's intimate knowledge of plants. Meanwhile, Matt Baker visits the Clydach Gorge, a magical hidden valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, where local legend says Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Also in the programme, John Craven is joined by Dame Judi Dench, one of Britain's best-loved Shakespearian actors. Together, they follow in the footsteps of Shakespeare and his players to Fordwich in Kent, where they performed for the town in 1605.
Joe Crowley visits the Minack Theatre in Cornwall to see how Shakespeare has had a dramatic effect on our landscape. And Adam looks at Shakespeare's relationship with the lucrative wool trade and takes sheep back to the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time in over a century.
In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare
Throughout his career William Shakespeare was part of The King's Men acting troupe and toured the length and breadth of the country under the patronage of James I. In this special show, John Craven teams up with a modern day Shakespearean actor, the one and only Dame Judi Dench. Together they make their way to Kent to meet Dr Siobhan Keenan who takes them on a journey which they hope will lead them to the very spot where Shakespeare is thought to have taken to the stage himself.
The Lost Forest of Arden
Ellie Harrison tracks down one of Warwickshire’s forgotten landscapes, the now lost, ancient Forest of Arden. While on her travels, Ellie meets Professor Stanley Wells who explains how much the forest would have meant to Shakespeare and the inspiration he would have taken from it. Steven Falk shows Ellie how the forest could have looked like at the time of the bard and takes her to one of its last remaining landmarks. It not just threes though, author Jackie Bennett explains the importance and meaning of the flowers and herbs highlighted throughout his works.
A Midsummer Night’s Valley
Matt Baker delves into a hidden valley just outside Abergavenny to find the location that's thought to have inspired Shakespeare to write A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Matt is guided through the undergrowth of Cwm Pwca (Puck’s Valley) to Shakespeare's Cave by Jon Wohlgemuth and Dr Juliette Wood. Just watch out for those pesky fairies Matt!
The Minack Theatre
Situated on a rocky clifftop, overlooking the mighty Atlantic, the Minack Theatre has seen its fair share of Shakespearean plays since it was built by Rowena Cade in 1932. Joe Crowley explores the site and finds out what drove Rowena to build such a place with her own hands. Joe meets theatre manager Phil Jackson who has his own little bit of family history tied to the place. But it’s not just the theatre Joe has come to explore. Professor Peter Moore discusses the importance of the weather in Shakespeare’s work and how it would later inspire the building of one of the most dramatic looking theatres in the country.
The Real Macbeth with Bill Paterson
The real Macbeth
Adam Henson takes us to the heart of the Warwickshire countryside and with the help of writer and historian Phil Walling shines a light on one of the most important industries at the time of Shakespeare’s life, wool. Wool wasn’t just a small, cottage industry, many towns were built upon its wealth and that success brought with it many shady characters. One was incredibly close to William Shakespeare as former financier David Fallow explains to Adam. Adam celebrates the relationship between Shakespeare and the wool industry by taking ‘a small flock’ of Cotswold Sheep to the heart of Shakespeare’s world, Stratford-upon-Avon. What could possibly go wrong...?
They liked ale in the 16th Century, but not ale as we know it! The Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan leads us through the merry tale of Shakespeare and his love of ale. Ian discovers the connections between Shakespeare’s family and ale. He then finds out how they would have originally brewed it with the help of Sharon Lippett at Mary Arden’s Farm. Ian then takes to the road to see how a local Warwickshire brewery brews the ale we know today and concludes his trip by testing his vintage 16th Century brew in a local pub. The final decision on whether it is any good is down to a Frenchman!
|Executive Producer||William Lyons|
|Series Producer||Joanna Brame|