The BBC is broadcasting a range of content celebrating the life and work of Shakespeare, following the 400th anniversary of the publication of the ‘First Folio’.
The programming is being broadcast across TV, radio, iPlayer and BBC Sounds, and features both archival and original content.
The First Folio compiles 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, 18 of which had never been published prior, including such major works as Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night. As such, it is often credited with preventing these works from becoming lost to time.
Among the highlights of the BBC’s broadcasting season is three-part documentary series Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius. The programme will feature both academics and actors, including Brian Cox, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Lolita Chakrabarti, Martin Freeman and Adrian Lester.
BBC Four are also broadcasting archive productions of Shakespeare plays, featuring specially filmed introductions from Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Simon Russell Beale, David Tennant and Russell T Davies, among others. A brand-new performance of Hamlet is also to air.
On BBC Radio 4, new comedy-drama First Folio and a special edition of the podcast You’re Dead to Me will air. BBC Radio 3 will devote Wednesday 8 November to ‘Shakespeare Day’, in which all programming from 7.00am-7.00pm will be devoted to the Bard.
The first episode of Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius will be broadcast at 9.00pm on Wednesday 8 November 2023 on BBC Two. This is also when the entire show will be made available on iPlayer.
BBC Four will air archive productions on Sundays from 1 October to 5 November. Meanwhile, comedy-drama First Folio will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 3.00pm on Saturday 11 November. The special edition of You’re Dead to Me airs on BBC Radio 4 at 10.00am on Saturday 4 November.
The programming began on Sunday 1 October, and will conclude on Sunday 12 November.