Will Shakespeare (TV series)
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|ITC Entertainment Distributions|
|Also known as||Life of Shakespeare|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Created by||John Mortimer|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Original run||June 13, 1978 – July 18, 1978|
|No. of episodes||6|
|ITC Entertainment, RAI|
Will Shakespeare, also known as Life of Shakespeare, was a 1978 historical drama series created and written by John Mortimer. Broadcast in six parts, the series is a dramatisation of the life of William Shakespeare, and was co-produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment and RAI. The two production companies had collaborated successfully before on Jesus of Nazareth the previous year.
- Tim Curry as William Shakespeare
- Ian McShane as Christopher Marlowe
- Nicholas Clay as the Earl of Southampton
- Paul Freeman as Richard Burbage
Each episode was based around the creation of a single play, and the idea of Shakespeare's real life experiences influencing his writing was used as the central plot device. As there are few known facts about the life of Shakespeare, Mortimer embellished upon known stories or legends about the playwright's life. These included a supposed apprenticeship with Christopher Marlowe and a homosexual relationship with the Earl of Southampton.
Mortimer also invented a character whom the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets was supposedly based upon. The wife of a judge, she falls in love with Shakespeare after seeing his performance as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, adding a secondary storyline elaborating on the British class divide.
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