May 11th, 2012

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The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History, BBC4

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Cut and pasted from the BBC Website:

The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History, BBC4

The King and the Playwright is a three-part BBC4 series, written and presented by world-renowned American scholar Professor James Shapiro who re-examines the work of Shakespeare during the troubled first decade of the reign of King James I.

Full details here:

Raks's Reaction

This is a very short and succinct review/reaction. I have now caught up on all three episodes. There are two things that I really liked about this series. The first was that it gave a full and detailed historical context to Shakespeare's plays. So I finally understood what Shakespeare was writing about when he wrote Macbeth and Coriolanus for example - he was holding a mirror up to what was happening in English and British history at the time. The second was the extended clips of the RSC in action - either in rehearsal or on the stage. I caught up on a lot of productions that I had missed and it was a real treat.

Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending the series. I learnt a lot.