BBC Television Shakespeare

BBC Two (ended 1985)




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BBC Television Shakespeare

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In 1978, Cedric Messina persuaded the British Broadcasting Corporation to take on the task of filming the whole canon of William Shakespeare's plays for television, under the title The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare. Throughout the project, which was finished in 1985, the BBC was able to secure leading actors of stage and screen and also big directing names. Whether as individual dramas or taken as a whole, the series is impressive, to say the least. The play Edward III was not included in the series, as the balance of scholarly opinion at the time was that it was not by Shakespeare. Today, the decision might have gone the other way. All of these productions of the plays have been sold to dozens of countries around the world and are used in the world of education more than they are for broadcasting. The major plays (such as Macbeth andHamlet) are the most often repeated on television. The productions vary in length from 112 minutes for The Comedy of Errors to 228 for King Richard the Third. All are now available on DVD as well as VHS video.moreless