Friday, April 06, 2012

Shakespeare season on BBC Television and Radio.

The BBC has officially launched their summer Shakespeare season and in this interview the commissioning editor Mark Bell outlines the plans:
"I'm hoping it will show people just how rewarding Shakespeare can be. Yes the language is tough but it's well worth sticking with it. I wanted the season to explore the historical context in which Shakespeare was writing and also celebrate his language and try and understand what made him just so incredibly good at capturing all it means to be human."
There is a full radio schedule here and much about the television end, Shakespeare Unlocked here.  William Boyd's also given an interview about the collaboration with the RSC which includes clips of some of the new shows:

It is all terribly exciting and certainly in the tradition of the Bard on the Box season in the nineties and Shakespeare Retold in 2005, moreso perhaps because the television portion features the text rather than simply knowing adaptations of the stories.

Hopefully some of that old material will be repeated but there's some excellent additions here not least Felicity Kendal's Indian Shakespeare Quest, which seems to be a travel documentary approach to the Shakespeare Wallah story, and a special episode of QI.

In terms of obvious Hamlet coverage, there's a rerun of  The Reduced Shakespeare Company abbreviation from 1994 on Radio 4 Extra on Wednesday 18th April at 11pm.  Other than that I'll keep my eyes and ears peeled for pieces in-between.

Of course if I had my way the entire canon would run across the platforms, Proms-style through these new productions and nightly broadcasts of classic recordings on Radio 4 Extra (or wherever).  But I understand there are people who are oddly less interested.

A rerun of Sir Thomas More with Ian McKellan from 1983 wouldn't go a miss, though ...

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