BBC Television Shakespeare

From Academic Kids

The BBC Television Shakespeare was a set of television adaptations of the plays of Shakespeare, produced by the BBC between 1978 and 1985. The series was initiated by Cedric Messina, and produced by Messina, Jonathan Miller, and Shaun Sutton; directors and other crew varied from play to play. The entire series has been released on video, under the banner title The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare. Some of the plays (including Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night's Dream) have been released on DVD.

The productions were of varying quality. Their extremely low production values meant that their studio-bound sets could be risible, and their extremely tight schedules (rehearsal and filming typically took place in less than a week) meant that the results rarely rose above the competent. However, the BBC did manage to attract many great actors who occasionally enabled the series to rise above the limitations of time and budget.

The thirty-seven plays in the series included:

Note: The Two Noble Kinsmen and Edward III were not considered to be the work of Shakespeare at the time, and so were not included in the series.

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