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PBS series 'Shakespeare Uncovered' to dig deep into Bard's plays

December 07, 2012|By Mike Boehm
  • William Shakespeare, seen in this portrait believed to have been painted by John Taylor between 1600 and 1610, will be the focus of a new PBS series in which celebrity hosts take in-depth looks into several of his plays.
William Shakespeare, seen in this portrait believed to have been painted… (Sang Tan/Associated Press )

William Shakespare will get the full PBS treatment in "Shakespeare Uncovered," a six-part series announced this week to be shown on three consecutive Friday evenings starting Jan. 25.

Each night will feature two hourlong segments, focused on one or two plays by the Bard, each with a celebrity host. The series is built on interviews with actors, directors and scholars, clips from screen versions of the plays under consideration, and live performance segments filmed at today's Globe, and staged specifically for "Shakespeare Uncovered."

First up, starting Jan. 25 (dates vary for some stations), are Ethan Hawke exploring "Macbeth," and Joely Richardson and her mom, Vanessa Redgrave, looking into "Twelfth Night" and "As You Like It."

Starting Feb. 1, Derek Jacobi will examine "Richard II," including scenes from a new, upcoming PBS film of the play featuring Ben Whishaw and Patrick Stewart. Jeremy Irons will then lead a consideration of the sequential history plays "Henry IV" and "Henry V" -- again using clips from an upcoming PBS "Great Performances" version featuring Irons as Henry IV and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal/Henry V.

On Feb. 8, David Tennant takes on "Hamlet," with an assist from Whishaw and Simon Russell Beale, while director Trevor Nunn focuses on "The Tempest," with Helen Mirren and Julie Taymor among the interviewees.

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