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Bill (2015)

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What really happened during Shakespeare's 'Lost Years'? Hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare leaves his home to follow his dream.


Richard Bracewell





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mathew Baynton ... William 'Bill' Shakespeare / Lord Burghley / English Messenger / Customs Official
Simon Farnaby ... Earl of Croydon / Juan Domingo / Sausage / Dmitri Alexandrovitch / Fur Seller
Martha Howe-Douglas ... Anne Hathaway / Molly / Spanish Courtier / Body Collector
Jim Howick ... Christopher Marlowe / Gabriel Montoya / Cynical Jester / Palace Doorman / Mysterious Man / Even Grubbier Thief / Party Planner
Laurence Rickard ... Sir Francis Walsingham / Lope Lopez / Stand-Up Jester / Chatty Guard / Slightly Late Courtier / Ian / Hanging Criminal / Chicken Drumstick
Ben Willbond ... King Phillip II of Spain / Earl of Southampton / Grubby Thief / Alexander Dimitrievitch / Head of Guards
Helen McCrory ... Queen Elizabeth I
Damian Lewis ... Sir Richard Hawkins
David Crow David Crow ... Ramon
Rufus Jones ... Sir Walter Raleigh
Justin Edwards ... Sir Francis Drake
John Henry Falle John Henry Falle ... Miguel
Jamie Demetriou ... Sergio
Richard Atwill Richard Atwill ... Sevi
George Hewer George Hewer ... Spanish Servant #1


A down on his luck William "Bill" Shakespeare decides to pursue his latest dream: to be an aspiring writer. His adventure soon becomes dangerous when he is caught between a act of murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family | History


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

BBC Films [UK]





Release Date:

18 September 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Билл See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Parts of this were filmed at the actual Globe Theatre on London's South Bank, a replica of the theatre that stood there in Shakespeare's day. See more »


When Bill and Christopher Marlowe are advertising vegetables, Bill is dressed as a tomato, which is a fruit. See more »


Christopher Marlowe: What are you doing in a pie?
Sir Francis Walsingham: It's a disguise. Or one might say a 'despise'. Now that works in three ways; One, it's a disguise. Two, the disguise is pie and, three, it's got the word 'spies' in it. So...
Christopher Marlowe: It's very clever
See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Roll Out The Barrels
Written by Lew Brown, Wladimir A. Timm (as Vladimir Timm), Jaromir Vejvoda and Vasek Zeman
Published by Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Limited / EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Performed by Richard Atwill, David Crow, Jamie Demetriou, Simon Farnaby & Laurence Rickard
See more »

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User Reviews

A slight disappointment but might please the kids
20 September 2015 | by trevorwombleSee all my reviews

The Horrible histories series is not only very educational but also good fun. However what works in a half hour TV show is a huge struggle to work in a feature film. Whilst there are some good gags in the script, a lot of them fall very flat too and in this respect I couldn't help but compare it being like a PG rated the 'League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse' from about a decade ago. The cast try hard but apart from Damian Lewis (who seems very comfortable in a classic Errol Flynn type role) the rest of the cast do sometimes overact, mugging at the camera slightly too much for my liking. It's a shame but not a surprise because the film cannot seem to decide if it is an extended episode or going for a Blackadder style take on history and the script reflects this, as it is neither one nor the other.

Like I said, there are a few good laughs for kids and adults alike but it could have done with a few more as well. The idea of the story, of Shakespeare's pre-fame career, is a novel one and could have been a Monty Python style film for kids but somehow this effort feels a bit flat despite the best efforts of the cast. In this respect some of the blame must go on the script which sometimes lacks in places. Maybe youngsters will like it, fart gags and all, and it does make good use of its locations and period detail but it was not memorable which is a shame. However I hope the Horrible Histories team do get the chance to make another better film as this is isn't a disaster, more of a near miss.

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