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Available versions

1981: Elijah Moshinsky

2012: John Dove, Robin Lough


All’s Well That Ends Well
1981: Elijah Moshinsky

This is the BBC Shakespeare Plays entry for All’s Well that Ends Well. It’s certainly competently made, featuring Ian Charleson (whom many will recall as Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire) as Bertram, the legendary Michael Hordern, and a handful of others who will be recognizable from other of the BBC productions. Robert Lindsay is the First French Lord, for example — a fairly minor part — but he also turns up as Benedick in the BBC Much Ado About Nothing, where he does an excellent job. Moshinsky is a reliable director, and the parts are all adequately covered, but I didn’t find the production particularly captivating at any point. This may be merely because the character of Bertram himself takes a toll that is for me nearly insurmountable. It is, however, one of very few versions of this difficult and problematic play, and those who want to see some version should well consider it.

The production values are those fairly typical of the BBC Shakespeare Plays series — straightforward sets and costumes, minimal scene changes, and fairly reserved camera placement. The experience is closer to the theatrical than is typical in more modern cinematic renditions. It’s also mostly uncut, so the play is not compromised in that respect. There is nothing in the production (apart from the dicey bits of the plot itself, including the so-called “bed trick”) that should raise any parental eyebrows.


Astringer: Valentine Dyall

Bachelor: James Simmons

Bachelor: John Segal

Bachelor: Peter Sands

Bachelor: Yves Aubert

Bertram: Ian Charleson

Countess’s Stewart: Kevin Stoney

Countess of Rousillon: Celia Johnson

Diana: Pippa Guard

First French Lord: Robert Lindsay

First Gentleman: Terence McGinity

Helena: Angela Down

King of France: Donald Sinden

Lafeu: Michael Hordern

Lavache: Paul Brooke

Mariana: Joolia Cappleman

Parolles: Peter Jeffrey

Second French Lord: Dominic Jephcott

Second Gentleman: Max Arthur

Soldier: Nickolas Grace

Widow of Florence: Rosemary Leach