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ITC Entertainment Distributions
Will Shakespeare
Also known as Life of Shakespeare
Format Historical drama
Running time 50 minutes
Created by John Mortimer
Starring Tim Curry
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Network ATV
Original run June 13, 1978 – July 18, 1978
No. of episodes 6
ITC Entertainment, RAI

Will Shakespeare, also known as Life of Shakespeare, was a 1978 historical drama series created and written by John Mortimer. Broadcast in six parts, the series is a dramatisation of the life of William Shakespeare, and was co-produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment and RAI. The two production companies had collaborated successfully before on Jesus of Nazareth the previous year.




Each episode was based around the creation of a single play, and the idea of Shakespeare's real life experiences influencing his writing was used as the central plot device.[1] As there are few known facts about the life of Shakespeare, Mortimer embellished upon known stories or legends about the playwright's life. These included a supposed apprenticeship with Christopher Marlowe and a homosexual relationship with the Earl of Southampton.

Mortimer also invented 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 the British class divide.[1]

Video release

The series was released on home video under the title William Shakespeare, His Life and Times.[2] A DVD release of the series, by Network DVD, was released in May 2009.




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