Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Derek Godfrey ...
David Waller ...
...
...
David Dixon ...
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John Nettleton ...
Alan Rowe ...
Pippa Guard ...
Christopher Guard ...
Kenneth Gilbert ...
Edwin Brown ...
Paul Greenhalgh ...
Christopher Bramwell ...
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Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives.

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27 February 1980 (UK)  »

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The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Tempest  »

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Version of Shakespeare: The Animated Tales: The Tempest (1992) See more »

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good but...
17 January 2007 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

The Tempest is often considered to be Shakespeare's last major play. Therefore it is easy to see why many think Prospero, the leading character, is a sort of picture of Shakespeare on the eve of his retirement; Prospero retires to Milan as Shakespeare did to Stratford and put away his magic staff as Shakespeare did his pen.

Michael Hordern was usually good as Prospero (some unfortunate line readings do not detract too much from the over-all effect.), the wizard of the island which was possibly Shakespeare's representation of the New World, then being explored. (Miranda even famously exclaims, with Aldous Huxley, "O brave new world, that has such people in't".)

David Dixon was the spirit Ariel and, he "almost has on" a sort of thong like the other spirits (dancers) that bring and then deliberately remove a magical meal before anyone has a chance to consume it. Alas, Mr. Dixon isn't that convincing as an actor here; too often he merely throws his lines out in a thoughtless manner. Both he and these other spirits seem more campy than sincere, more softcore gay porn than Shakespeare.

I'm not suggesting that other productions may not have similar displays of near-nudity which W.S. himself might well have appreciated once he got over his initial shock, but a bit more dignity might also have been in order. The "masque" towards the end was both more extended (though slightly abridged in this version.) and better done in my opinion and the music by Joseph Horovitz in this section was quite good.

Pippa and Christopher Guard were good as the young lovers Miranda and Ferdinand but they are cousins in real life and not siblings as someone else stated. The other characters were also well done including Nigel Hawthorne as the drunk Stephano and Warren Clarke as Caliban.

The opening ship scene was almost totally inaudible with the actors' lines overpowered by the sounds of the storm. But I thought that the scenery was perfectly adequate for the purpose of this TV production.


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