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BBC Shakespeare Collection: Series 4


aka: Othello, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
UK 1978, 511 minutes
Genres: Classics, Drama, Comedy / Shakespeare


Aroview: The fourth in a series of boxed-sets compiling the BBC's comprehensive Shakespeare adaptations for television. This set includes:

Othello: Jonathan Miller’s magni­ficent production utilises the indubitable talents of Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins in the lead roles of Shakespeare’s the­atrical masterpiece. Indeed Hopkins admitted, ‘Othello is the part I’ve always most wanted to play.” Together they weave an increasingly tense web of manipulation, deception and jealousy on a tragic path to self-understanding.

Troilus and Cressida: The bitter Trojan War drags on – the Greeks blame Achilles’ apathy for low morale, while Troy’s hero Hector challenges one of the enemy to a personal duel. And after her father exchanges Cressida for a Trojan prisoner, the war becomes personal for her distraught lover Troilus. Jonathan Miller pitches for his acclaimed production of this part-history, part-tragedy between satire and savage farce, highlighting Shakespeare’s cy­nical standpoint where love is mocked and heroism made absurd.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Shakespeare’s fa­irytale comedy contains some of the most lyrical expressions of love, dreams and imagination. The production is star-studded, with Helen Mirren as Titania and Peter McEnery as Oberon dominating the proceedings, supported by a superb cast. As the New York Times wrote “they are all accomplished performers, but the director has given the extra dimension of using them brilliantly in terms of television.”

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