BBC Television Shakespeare

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BBC Two (ended 1985)

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  • Season 1 Episode 16: The Winter's Tale

  • Antigonus says "...our ship hath touch'd upon the desarts of Bohemia". Ben Jonson poked fun at Shakespeare for the sailors' arrival by ship, as the kingdom of Bohemia had neither a coast nor a desert. However, Shakespeare may have meant the nonsense as part of the play's fantasy.

  • There is a gap of sixteen years between two of the Acts of the play, during which Leontes has mourned the loss of his wife and children. In an unusual device, Father Time himself comes on stage to explain that the sixteen years have gone by.

  • At one point, Antigonus is chased off the stage, as set out in Shakespeare's most famous stage direction - Exit, pursued by a bear.

    No one knows whether Shakespeare used a real bear when producing the play himself. It's more likely that his bear was an actor wearing a bear-skin, but a real bear has sometimes been used in modern times. The BBC Shakespeare production uses a man in a costume.

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