Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00qhsr5
I have no insider information on this, and I have not seen a preview, but I am recommending it purely because it is the BBC, and it is an intelligent insight into Shakespeare, and the History, Politics and Religion of the Jacobean Age. What more could you want?
Cut and pasted from the BBC Website:
The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History
Monday 23 April 9pm, 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.
Beginning with Shakespeare's first Jacobean play, Measure for Measure, James Shapiro moves us from Queen Elizabeth I's time to the dark and complex reign of the brilliant but flawed King James.
It was an age of upheaval, plot and violent social change. Yet it stimulated unprecedented cultural creativity. The theatre was buzzing with great writing but this is also a period when we get the King James Bible, the Union Jack and November 5th bonfires.
Episode 1: Incertainties
American scholar James Shapiro begins with the anxious mood of 1603 when a new dynasty came to power. Puritans, plague, an extravagant gift to a Spanish diplomatic delegation, and a new British coin called the Unite all feature in Shapiro's rich and fascinating history of a troubled time which saw an extraordinary creative outpouring.
The King and the Playwright is part of the BBC's "Shakespeare Unlocked" Season. Shakespeare Unlocked, part of the BBC’s contribution to the London 2012 Festival, is a celebration across TV, radio and online of the life and work of William Shakespeare.
From April to July, the BBC in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Museum and the World Shakespeare Festival will explore how one man captured so much about what it means to be human.
Full details can be found here: