King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
A rich merchant, Antonio is depressed for no good reason, until his good friend Bassanio comes to tell him how he's in love with Portia. Portia's father has died and left a very strange ... See full summary »
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.
Macbeth, a duke of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Marc Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, though ... See full summary »
Jane Lapotaire is a superb Lady Macbeth, as those who've seen her on stage would expect. Although the jury is often out on Nicol Williamson's acting in anything, I think he is brilliant in this - particularly in the banquet scene where Banquo's ghost returns. I'd probably bracket him with Ian McKellen when it comes to TV movie portrayals of what is essentially the portrait of a usurper gone mad.
It has to be said though that the towering presence of these two actors somewhat overshadow the others in the cast. Special mention must go to Ian Hogg as Banquo, and the late Tony Doyle as Macduff, however, as they are both excellent.
Jack Gold's production looks done either on the cheap, or in a minimalist way (or both!) but that would be my only quibble. This is my favourite of the BBC Shakespeares. Let's hope the whole series of them will be made available on video or DVD widely in the UK again soon.
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