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BBC Two mark 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s First Folio


BBC Two mark 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s First Folio

Marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, BBC Two begin a three-part docuseries this evening.

The programme tells the incredible story of how a glover’s son from rural Stratford became the greatest writer who ever lived.

Taking a deep dive into Shakespeare’s life story, the place and time he inhabited and the work he produced, the series reveals a dangerous and exciting world filled with bitter rivalries, rebellion, murder and deadly plague, that ignited and nourished his creative genius.

Cinematic drama vignettes depict Shakespeare’s life alongside a host of stars and experts, including Dame Judi Dench, Brian Cox, Adrian Lester, Lolita Chakrabarti, Helen Mirren, Martin Freeman and Jessie Buckley, alongside academics and writers James Shapiro, Ewan Fernie, Jeanette Winterson, Brenda Hale, The Baroness Hale of Richmond, Gordon Brown, Jeremy O’Harris and Professor Farah Karim-Cooper, bringing fresh insights into the story of our greatest writer. The series is narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

Tracing Shakespeare’s life story, each episode follows the triumphs and setbacks of his writing life, revealing how the people he met and the world he witnessed found their way into his work. Bringing his plays to life, and intercut through the series, is an archive of some of the world’s best screen adaptations of the featured plays.

1587. William Shakespeare leaves behind the small rural town of Stratford and his father’s struggling glove business to pursue his dreams of becoming a playwright in London – at that time a dangerous, burgeoning metropolis. Public theatre is the new art form, and Shakespeare begins his journey at the bottom, as a stagehand and occasional actor. He grabs an opportunity and writes a gory revenge play, Titus Andronicus, which does well, followed by a teenage romance that he flips to end in tragedy and which becomes a breakout success: Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius begins tonight at 9pm on BBC Two

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