Watch In Search of Shakespeare
- 1 Season
In Search of Shakespeare is a four-part documentary series from BBC Two that explores the life, times, and works of the world's most famous playwright, William Shakespeare. The series was presented by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood, and it was first broadcast in 2004.
The series takes viewers on a journey through the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, the theatres of Elizabethan London, and the mind of William Shakespeare himself. It uses a combination of historical analysis and dramatic reconstructions to tell the story of a man whose genius has captivated audiences for over four hundred years.
The first episode, "A Time of Revolution," sets the scene by exploring the political, social, and religious upheavals of Shakespeare's time. We learn about the religious turmoil of the Reformation, the rise of English nationalism, and the growing divide between rich and poor. We also get a sense of Shakespeare's early life in Stratford, where he was born in 1564, and we hear from experts who have studied his family, his education, and his early influences.
The second episode, "The Lost Years," delves deeper into Shakespeare's early career as an actor and playwright in London. We learn about the playwrights who came before him, such as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson, and we hear from actors and directors who have brought his plays to life on the stage. We also explore the dark side of Elizabethan society, with its rampant disease, poverty, and crime, and we see how Shakespeare's plays reflected these harsh realities.
The third episode, "The Duty of Poets," focuses on Shakespeare's mature years, when he wrote his greatest works, including Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. We learn about the social and cultural context in which these plays were written, including the reign of James I, the Gunpowder Plot, and the growing power of the Puritans. We also hear from historians and literary scholars who have analyzed the themes, characters, and language of Shakespeare's plays, and we see how they continue to resonate with audiences today.
The final episode, "For All Time," looks at Shakespeare's legacy and his enduring impact on the world of literature, theatre, and culture. We see how his plays have been translated, adapted, and reinterpreted in different languages and cultures around the globe, and we hear from actors, directors, and scholars who have studied his works. We also see how Shakespeare's influence extends beyond the world of art, into politics, philosophy, and even science.
Throughout the series, Michael Wood is joined by a talented cast of actors who bring Shakespeare's characters to life, including Desmond Barrit, Ray Fearon, Nancy Carroll, and Julian Glover. The series also features stunning locations, beautiful costume and set designs, and a haunting musical score that transports viewers back in time.
In Search of Shakespeare is a masterful exploration of one of the greatest figures in human history, a man whose words have changed the world. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves literature, history, or theatre, and it is a testament to the enduring power of human creativity and imagination.