Thursday 15th September 2005
Shakespeare‘s reputation as a dramatist and poet is unique. Considered by many to be the greatest playwright of all time his plays have merited translation and performances in cultures far removed from medieval England. The universality of his themes - love, marriage, death, guilt, separation, reunion, reconciliation to name a few - give his work a continual freshness and relevance. They also help us to understand what it is to be human.
This November, the BBC is celebrating Shakespeare with a variety of programmes and initiatives across its services - television, radio and online - in an attempt to rediscover the Bard, explore his work in original ways and investigate his life-story and the mythmaking that
The centrepiece of this celebration will be four modern interpretations by some of Britain‘s leading television writers for BBC ONE.
Shirley Henderson plays Kate opposite Rufus Sewell‘s Petruchio in Sally Wainwright‘s version of The Taming of the Shrew. Vitriolic, aggressive and ‘shrewish‘, Kate is an opposition MP who is instructed to find herself a husband to make her more electable. Twiggy Lawson, Stephen Tompkinson, David Mitchell and Jaime Murray also star in the romantic comedy which explores the complexities of relationships against a backdrop of glamorous London circles and politics.
In David Nicholls‘ Much Ado About Nothing Sarah Parish plays Beatrice, presenter of a popular early-evening regional news show whose ex-lover and arch enemy Benedick, played by Damian Lewis, is hired as her co-anchor. Billie Piper plays weathergirl Hero.
Peter Bowker sets A Midsummer Night‘s Dream during a weekend in a holiday park. The romantic comedy about four warring couples, a donkey‘s head and a gaggle of fairies stars Imelda Staunton, Johnny Vegas, Bill Paterson, Lennie James, Sharon Small and Dean Lennox Kelly.
As a compliment to the BBC ONE films Interactive Drama and Entertainment‘s Interactive eTV Team plan to use innovative interactive technology to allow the viewer to play with Shakespeare‘s language and deconstruct his texts and to create their own path through a playful ‘documentary‘ unlike anything they have seen before.
Further Shakespeare programming across the BBC includes a comic genealogy of re-written Shakespeare penned, presented and performed by Patrick Barlow entitled Shakespeare‘s Happy Endings, William Boyd‘s Waste of Shame, the story of Shakespeare‘s ‘middle‘ years which explores the inspiration behind the sonnets, Radio 3‘s production of Troilus and Cressida and Radio 4‘s extracts from Shakespeare‘s plays and expert investigation into the source materials he once used. BBC Learning will also be asking schools to produce 60" adaptations of Shakespeare‘s work in Shooting Shakespeare.