Shakespeare Uncovered returns with its second season on PBS, beginning Friday, January 30 at 9:00 pm (check local listings) and continues the following two successive Fridays. Like the first series, the second installment combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts – Hugh Bonneville, Kim Cattrall, Joseph Fiennes, Morgan Freeman, David Harewood, and Christopher Plummer – to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
The first season explored Macbeth, the comedies Twelfth Night and As You Like It, Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, Hamlet and The Tempest, and was met with wide acclaim in both the U.K. and U.S. The new season investigates A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and The Taming of the Shrew.
Each episode reveals the extraordinary world and works of William Shakespeare and the still-potent impact his plays have today. The films combine interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most-celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays staged specially for the series at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
Each of our six hosts has a personal connection with the play they present. Christopher Plummer is one of the great Lears of our time; Kim Cattrall has played Cleopatra twice on the English stage, and Morgan Freeman has taken on The Taming of the Shrew’s Petruchio at New York’s Shakespeare in the Park; Joseph Fiennes portrayed Shakespeare playing Romeo in Shakespeare in Love; and Hugh Bonneville began his career as an understudy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. David Harewood was an acclaimed Othello at London’s National Theatre– the first black actor to play the role there.
Behind every Shakespeare play there is a story. Shakespeare Uncovered reveals not just the elements in the play, but the history of the play itself. What sparked the creation of each of these works? Where did Shakespeare get his plots, and what new forms of theater did he forge? What cultural, political and religious factors influenced his writing? How have the plays been staged and interpreted from Shakespeare’s time to now? Why at different times has each play been so popular – or ignored? And finally, why has this body of work endured so thoroughly? What, in the end, makes Shakespeare so great?
Richard Denton and Nicola Stockley are series producers for Shakespeare Uncovered, with Fiona Stourton as executive producer for Blakeway Productions; for THIRTEEN, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, with Stephen Segaller and David Horn as executive producers.
The six episodes will air as follows:
Friday, January 30, 2015
9:00 pm: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Hugh Bonneville
10:00 pm: King Lear with Christopher Plummer
Friday, February 6, 2015
9:00 pm: The Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman
10:00 pm: Othello with David Harewood
Friday, February 13, 2015
9:00 pm: Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall
10:00 pm: Romeo and Juliet with Joseph Fiennes