Will Shakespeare

Will Shakespeare, also known as Life of Shakespeare is a 1978 historical drama series created and written by John Mortimer, about the life of William Shakespeare. The series consists of six episodes, each of which is based around the creation of a single play. And the idea of Shakespeare's real life experiences influencing his writing is used as the central plot device. As there are few known facts about the life of Shakespeare, Mortimer embellishes upon known stories or legends about the playwright's life. These include a supposed apprenticeship with Christopher Marlowe and a homoerotic relationship with the Earl of Southampton. Mortimer also invents 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 class divisions. (from

Episode 1 - Dead Shepherd - London 1950 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

Shakespeare, who's getting by as a stable hand, gains a foothold with the Lord Chamberlain's Men, apprenticing to Christopher Marlowe (Ian McShane, Deadwood). Will writes his early histories (Henry VI, Parts 1-3 and Richard III).

Episode 2 - Alms for Oblivion - London 1953 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

The Lord Chamberlain's Men struggle during an outbreak of plague, while Will becomes involved with the Earl of Southampton (Nicholas Clay).

Episode 3 - Of Comfort and Despair - London 1954 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

The Earl of Southampton becomes jealous when he learns that Will is also seeing Lady Fleminge (Janet Spencer-Turner), the "Dark Lady" of the sonnets. Will writes Twelfth Night.

Episode 4 - The Loved Boy - Stratford Upon Avon 1596 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

Shakespeare brings his sickly son Hamnet (Joshua White) to London, where the boy's presence alters his lifestyle. The stories Will tells his son become A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Episode 5 - Rebellion's Masterpiece - London 1600 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men become unwittingly involved in the Earl of Essex's plan to overthrow Queen Elizabeth when they are paid to perform Shakespeare's Richard II, which chronicles the overthrow of a weak, ineffective king.

Episode 6 - The Living Record - London 1603 [Part 1of2] [Part 2of2]

Southampton, reprieved from his death sentence and returned to the favor of the court with the ascension of James I, turns on Shakespeare and attempts to have the sonnets destroyed. Stunned at the rejection, Will returns home to soul-search.

Related Links
William Shakespeare - wikipedia
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
In Search of Shakespeare
This is a BBC documentary series presented by Michael Wood, about William Shakespeare' life somewhat obscured by the historical record.
In Our Time, Shakespeare's life
Melvyn Bragg examines what we know about the life of William Shakespeare. Charles Dickens said of the deeply enigmatic Shakespeare, "It is a great comfort…that so little is known concerning the poet. ...
Playing Shakespeare
This is a series of master classes with Director John Barton and a group of the leading actors of the day, considering the art and technique of acting in Shakespeare's plays.