Monday, April 23, 2012

Shapiro invents a Jacobean Shakespeare for BBC

From British TV listings for April 23, 2012:

The King & The Playwright: A Jacobean History, BBC4, 9pm World-renowned American scholar Professor James Shapiro re-examines the work of the world's greatest playwright during the troubled first decade of King James's reign, in this new three-part documentary series. This is not the familiar Shakespeare of the time of Elizabeth, but the dark, complex Jacobean Shakespeare, at the height of his powers in truly turbulent times. . .  

The King & The Playwright: A Jacobean History, BBC4, 9pm  A three-parter in which US professor James Shapiro looks at the influence of King James I on Shakespeare and his plays. During this time the Bard’s output reflected the troubled and unpredictable times ushered in but this new ruler, but being promoted to a King’s Player did wonders for his bank balance and profile (much to the chagrin of present-day schoolkids across the land). Sinister strings add to the atmosphere of the saga.

The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History, 9 p.m. BBC4 American scholar James Shapiro eschews the Bard's Elizabethan plays to look at the work Shakespeare wrote during the first decade of King James's reign. In Shapiro's reading, James was admirably intellectual yet lacked the common touch. Enjoying the personal patronage of James, Shakespeare saw the workings of the court close up. In the first of three documentaries-cum-personal essays, Shapiro looks at how the era's uncertainties fed into Measure For Measure, the little-performed Timon Of Athens and King Lear. Excellent. Jonathan Wright

UPDATE 04/24/12
Reviews of first installment of three-part documentary on James Shapiro's imaginings about Shakespeare and King James:
The Guardian
The Independent
This is Cornwall

UPDATE 05/29/12
See De Vere Society Secretary Richard Malim's response to Shapiro's arguments at: