Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shakespeare at the BBC: Prefaces to Shakespeare on Radio 4?

There's been a curious addition to BBC Radio 4's programme database.

During the broadcast period of the BBC Shakespeare series in the late 70s and early eighties, Radio 4 broadcast a series of "Prefaces to Shakespeare" in which well known actors, directors and writers offered introductions to plays.

If that sounds familiar, they were the inspiration for the recent television series, Shakespeare Uncovered, whose original title was to be Prefaces to Shakespeare (and still is on the Amazon listing).

The Hamlet edition of the original radio programme introduced by Derek Jacobi from May 1980 is available to stream at the BBC Archive.

Now, Prefaces to Shakespeare has been added to Radio 4's website, with episode pages added for three of the plays:

Henry V with Robert Hardy (originally broadcast Fri 21 Dec 1979)
King Lear with Tony Church (originally broadcast Sun 19 Sep 1982)
Richard III with Edward Woodward (originally broadcast Sat 22 Jan 1983)

The last one of which has a photograph. Originally I thought that perhaps it was to herald a broadcast on BBC 4 Extra, but there isn't any next on information and only the record of the first and only broadcast.

So either they are soon be broadcast again but the scheduling information hasn't been added yet (which can happen) or this is another occurrence of the BBC website's process of back-filling information from the BBC Genome project (see also the Doctor Who website).

Let's keep our eyes or rather ears peeled ...

02/09/2012  Something definitely is happening.  A 1998/99 series, The Shakespeare Trade has also been added and the Prefaces about Richard III has been assigned a QR code.

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