A long-time tradition of BBC programming will be ramped up a notch in 2012 as part of the BBC’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad and Festival. Television adaptations of the works of William Shakespeare have been announced that include both documentaries and plays. BBC viewers will be treated to the likes of Richard II, Henry IV (parts one and two) and Henry V on BBC2, as well as a new screen version of Julius Caesar on BBC4. The usual brilliant laundry list of actors and actresses will head each, including a number of Britain’s finest, many familiar to British comedy and drama fans around the globe.
- Richard II will star Ben Wishaw as Richard, with Rory Kinnear as Bolingbroke, Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt, and David Morrissey as Northumberland. David Suchet will appear as the Duke of York.
- Julie Walters will play Mistress Quickly in parts one and two of Henry IV, with Jeremy Irons as Henry and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal.
- Henry V will star Hiddleston as Henry, with John Hurt as The Chorus and Walters again as Mistress Quickly. The cast also includes Reece Shearsmith, Michelle Dockery and Geoffrey Palmer.
- The documentary, Shakespeare, India and Me, will be broadcast on BBC2, in which Felicity Kendal will explore India’s love affair with the playwright.
In addition to this television brilliance, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast new radio productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Hopefully, as with recent productions of MacBeth with Patrick Stewart and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant, these will make their way to a PBS station near you in 2012.