Shakespeare on screen


A host of star names are onboard to celebrate the bard as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival marking the 400th anniversary of this death.

The-Shakespeare-Birthplace-Portrait-of-William-ShakespeareThis April marks 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death and the nation is gearing up for an unprecedented year of celebration.

Now the BBC has announced how it plans to honour the bard with a host of programming placing his plays at the heart of the TV schedules.

The BBC Shakespeare Festival will launch on 23 April to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with a live broadcast extravaganza. Shakespeare Live! From The RSC sees the BBC and the Royal Shakespeare Company come together to celebrate our greatest writer’s enduring influence on all performance art forms – from opera to jazz, dance to musicals.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and The Swan Theatre on the River Avon, Stratford-upon-Avon, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company Credit: VisitBritain/LeeBeel

Hosted by former Doctor Who and much-lauded Shakespearean actor David Tennant and directed by the RSC’s artistic director Gregory Doran, the unique event will include appearances from Dame Judi Dench, ENO, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Joseph Fiennes, among others.

Over the following month, the BBC will air major new productions of the best-loved plays featuring some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.

BBC One will show a dazzling new version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by one of Britain’s greatest TV storytellers, Russell T Davies, with a stellar cast including Maxine Peake, Matt Lucas, Bernard Cribbins, Elaine Paige and Richard Wilson.

On BBC Two, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Rose presents three new adaptations – Henry VI (in two parts) and Richard III – starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and many others and executive produced by Bond director Sam Mendes. They follow the critically acclaimed Hollow Crown productions of Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II and Henry V for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

And there’s also much more to look forward to with many other productions across TV and radio, BBC Children’s and learning including an online ‘Shakespeare Lives’ festival online.

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