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Complete four part series exploring the life of the world's greatest and most famous writer. Presenter-led, mixing travel, adventure, live action interviews and specially shot documentary and live action sequences with the RSC on the road. A history series - it focuses not on the plays, but on the history and sets the life of the poet in the extraordinary times in which he lived. We are introduced to the dark world of Queen Elizabeth's police state - a time of surveillance, militarism and foreign wars. We are reminded that Shakespeare lived through the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot, the colonisation of the New World and the beginnings of British power in America. But most importantly Shakespeare also lived through England’s Cultural Revolution: an enforced split with the old medieval English spirit world which was to lead the English people into a brave new Protestant future. A split which defined Shakespeare’s life -and our modern world.
|S01E01||A Time of Revolution||01/01/2003||Archival evidence, from spies' reports to a coded prison diary, reveals the fascinating dark side of Shakespeare's world. Wood traces William's early days, exploring his schooling, his father's shady business deals and the dark secret that ruined the family. Finally, in Worcester Cathedral, the riddle of Shakespeare's shotgun wedding is untangles, an event that left him a teenage father with decidedly slim career prospects.|
|S01E02||The Lost Years||01/01/2003||Little is known about Shakespeare's life between the ages of 18 and 28 - however, there are some intriguing theories. Did he serve in a Catholic house during a dangerous time of Protestant reform? Or did he spread propaganda for the Elizabethan government in the actors' company the Queen's Men? Historian Michael Wood investigates the Bard's secret history, watches actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company bring his scripts to life, and learns more about the violent death of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's great rival.|
|S01E03||The Duty of Poets||01/01/2003||With Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream he became England's top entertainer. But tragedy struck when his only son died aged 11. Plunged into a midlife crisis, Shakespeare fell for a teenage nobleman, had an affair with a married woman and was summonsed for GBH. Meanwhile, his theatre company built the Globe and, in the midst of it all, he created some of literature's most enduring characters.|
|S01E04||For All Time||01/01/2003||As well as a visit to the present Queen's royal robe-makers that provides evidence of Shakespeare's role in the coronation. Wood examines the popular effect of the Gunpowder Plot, to which the playwright responded with a tale of regicide, and also sheds new light on Shakespeare's strange bequest to his wife Anne in his will.|