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Shakespeare Uncovered

Shakespeare Uncovered

  • Premiered: 
    June 19, 2012
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BBC4
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Anthology
  • Tags:

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  • Season 3
    • Amazon
  • Series 1
    • Amazon
  • Series 2
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

Combining interviews, visits to key locations, clips from film and TV adaptations, and excerpts from stage plays, SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED explores the world and works of William Shakespeare and reveals the impact they have today. This series shows Shakespeare as an impresario who, four centuries ago, defined early the tenets of show business -- drawing on historical sources, stealing and adapting ideas, bringing back popular characters, writing prequels, and developing dramatic ideas from the politics of the day. Plus, behind every Shakespeare play there is a story. For instance, how he and his company dismantled their theatre and rowed it across the river Thames when their landlord cancelled their lease -- then staged "Henry V" for the first time. There are echoes of the playwright's life -- he named his twins Hamnet (a boy, who died at age 11) and Judith -- in plays like "Twelfth Night," where the plot turns on the adventures of separated twins. And then there's "Hamlet," where the drama begins with the grief of a son who has lost his father. Each one-hour episode has a different host, who has deep personal experience with Shakespeare's work and relates not only the stories of the plays themselves, but also the stories of how they came to be written, how they have been performed, and how they have survived over 400 years. PBS aired the U.S. premiere of this series on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 9pm ET, showing back-to-back episodes for three consecutive Fridays. On Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9pm (check local listings), PBS broadcast the U.S. premiere of the second season of SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED, showing back-to-back episodes on three consecutive Friday nights. Season 2 includes: A Midsummer Night's Dream with Hugh Bonneville; King Lear with Christopher Plummer; The Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman; Othello with David Harewood; Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattral; and Romeo & Juliet with Joseph Fiennes.
Season 3 of SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED had its U.S. premiere on October 12, 2018, as PBS aired back-to-back episodes on three consecutive Fridays:

"Much Ado About Nothing with Helen Hunt" (Friday, October 12, 2018 at 9pm): Explore this exquisite comedy of comparison and contrast, as well as what the ultimate "ado" about "nothing" really means, with Academy Award-winning actress Helen Hunt. Much Ado About Nothing is one of 15 plays that Shakespeare set in Italy.

"The Merchant of Venice with F. Murray Abraham" (Friday, October 12, 2018 at 10pm): F. Murray Abraham untangles the controversies surrounding "The Merchant of Venice," addressing the ubiquitous anti-Semitism that characterized Europe in Shakespeare's time.

"Measure for Measure with Romola Garai" (Friday, October 19, 2018 at 9pm): Romola Garai explores "Measure for Measure," one of Shakespeare's most provocative plays that presents a surprisingly timely drama of sexual morality, hypocrisy and harassment.

"Julius Caesar with Brian Cox" (Friday, October 19, 2018 at 10pm): Brian Cox looks at Shakespeare's most revered political play "Julius Caesar" to analyze what can be learned about freedom and tyranny today.

"The Winter's Tale with Simon Russell Beale" (Friday, October 26, 2018 at 9pm): Simon Russell Beale uncovers the romance and betrayals of "The Winter's Tale" and shows that in this play Shakespeare offers something for which everyone longs: the ability to make amends for an irreversible mistake.

"Richard III with Sir Antony Sher" (Friday, October 26, 2018 at 10pm): Sir Antony Sher unveils the life of Shakespeare's "Richard III," comparing the historical king's reputation with the play's enduring portrait of ruthless ambition and vengeance.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Blakeway Productions
  • Produced by 116 Films
  • Produced by THIRTEEN
  • In association with Shakespeare's Globe