Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1967: Alan Cooke

1973: Nick Havinga (Joseph Papp)

1984: Stuart Burge

1987: Herb Roland (Peter Moss)

1993: Kenneth Branagh

2010: Brandon Arnold

2011: Josie Rourke

2012: Joss Whedon

2012: Robin Lough (Jeremy Herrin)


Adaptations

2005: ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing


ShakespeaRe-Told, Ep. 1: Much Ado About Nothing
2005: Brian Percival

This is one of a series of four 90-minute BBC made-for-television movies based on Shakespeare’s stories. They are not all of even quality, but this is probably the best of the lot.

Beatrice is a newscaster for a local news channel who has been stood up for a date three years earlier by a fellow newscaster Benedick, who has left town to pursue another job. When he’s brought in to fill in for another newscaster who has injured himself, the traditional sparks fly.

The villain of the piece, rather than being the completely unmotivated (or apparently unmotivated) Don John of the original play, is a bit of a loser who works at the television station, and after a brief fling with Hero has begun stalking her. He arranges the breakup and the critical scene between Claude (Claudio) and Hero. One of the more interesting things here is the fact that the the Hero/Claudio story doesn’t end quite the same way it does in the play — much to the gratification of many modern viewers.

The plot clearly focuses on Beatrice and Benedick, and the Claudio/Hero pairing is distinctly second-tier. Neither Beatrice nor Benedick is entirely appealing: both of them are sarcastic and prickly, and have a hard time facing up to situations and to each other honestly: ultimately doubtless what Shakespeare intended, though in a distinctly modern form.

Like most of these productions, this one tips its hat obliquely to Shakespeare by having the sonnet “Let me not to the marriage of true minds...” recited at the weddings.

There’s a certain amount of crude language and implicit sexual activity here that parents may well want to review before showing it to children.


Beatrice: Sarah Parish

Benedick: Damian Lewis

Claude: Tom Ellis

Doctor: Rufus Jones

Don: Derek Riddell

Girl in Club: Henrietta Clemett

Hero: Billie Piper

Keith: Patrick Ryecart

Leonard: Martin Jarvis

Margaret: Nina Sosanya

Mr Berry: Anthony O’Donnell

Nurse: Charon Georgette

Peter: Michael Smiley

Receptionist: Lorna Brown

Taxi Driver: Andrew Barclay

Ursula: Olivia Colman

Vicar: George Potts

Vince: Rasmus Hardiker

Waiter: George Couyas