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01 February 2013 @ 11:36 pm
...Well, at least the ridiculous Derek Jacobi anti-Stratfordian stuff in the Richard II episode of Shakespeare Uncovered was pretty short. And at least they followed up with Jonathan Bate basically going, "...Sir Derek, what is your deal?"

I do wonder how much of the play came across to people who didn't already know the play, though. I feel like most of the other plays in this series are reasonably familiar; even if you haven't read it, you probably have a basic idea of what happens in Hamlet or Macbeth, and have probably heard references to Henry V's famous speeches (although I did once have a student who asked in the middle of a discussion, "I mean, is this speech actually that famous? Like, do people just randomly make references to a 'band of brothers' or something?"). Richard II does have the big famous speech by John of Gaunt, but I suspect that a lot of people don't know that it comes from this play.
litlover12 on February 2nd, 2013 04:42 am (UTC)
"...Sir Derek, what is your deal?"

I'll bet he gets that a lot.
tempestsarekind: the man himselftempestsarekind on February 2nd, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
I just bet! :) And his being in Anonymous can't have helped...
the cold genius: authorshipangevin2 on February 2nd, 2013 06:55 am (UTC)
Anonymous kind of ruined him for me, because it's one thing to know that he thinks stupid things, and another to have him all up in your face going "ZOMG GLOVEMAKER."
tempestsarekind: austen snark is the best snarktempestsarekind on February 2nd, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)
Oh, I know! Everyone who was in that movie is forever tainted for me now. Well, maybe not Rafe Spall, because he so clearly was just in it for the lols, but I find myself side-eyeing everyone else when I see them now.
ericadawn16: Optimismericadawn16 on February 2nd, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
I recorded but haven't watched...since it was his episode followed by Jeremy irons discussing Henry IV and V, I was hoping for some clips...

PBS really needs to schedule those...

I know we all watched it on the internet, but I want to see it on my tv...and not have to buy it through UK Amazon.
tempestsarekind: historiestempestsarekind on February 2nd, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
I actually haven't watched them on the internet! (I think it would take me approximately three years to download them, given the age of my computer.) So I am definitely of the opinion that PBS really needs to get around to scheduling a broadcast of The Hollow Crown.

They did show clips from The Hollow Crown during the Shakespeare Uncovered episodes, though.
the cold geniusangevin2 on February 2nd, 2013 05:00 am (UTC)
My local PBS isn't showing Shakespeare Uncovered until tomorrow, and I'm DVRing it -- for one thing, it's on in the morning, and for another, I can fast-forward through the anti-Shakespeare bullshit. I'm glad to hear it was short.

(Also, this aired directly after the Hollow Crown episode in the UK, so I imagine familiarity with the play was less of an issue. But the AV Club review of the first two installments actually complained about them wasting a whole episode on Richard II. Bah.)

Edited at 2013-02-02 05:01 am (UTC)
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on February 2nd, 2013 05:23 am (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense! I'd forgotten it was on right after The Hollow Crown. And bah, indeed! I was excited that R2 got a whole episode to itself, since all three of the Henries just got one.

Jacobi hung out with a descendant of Oxford, and they...said some things? I started yelling at my TV when they started going on about how it's clearly all a conspiracy because we don't have any manuscripts in Shakespeare's handwriting, so I missed a bit. :)
the cold genius: *headdesk*angevin2 on February 2nd, 2013 06:59 am (UTC)
Ohgod, Oxford's descendants. It figures. Why the hell does anyone think someone claiming their ancestor was really Shakespeare, with no positive evidence whatsoever, is credible? I mean, seriously.

tempestsarekind: wtf?tempestsarekind on February 2nd, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
Beats the hell out of me! Even if I were inclined to think there might be something credible in anti-Stratfordianism, I would not trust the guy who tried to convince me that he was descended from Shakespeare, just because...his ancestor, I don't know, owned a Bible that had some lines underlined in it that also appeared in Shakespeare's plays.

Allcaps is a perfectly reasonable response to anti-Stratfordian nitwittery! It drives me crazy when they just LIE about stuff.
Nea: theaterneadods on February 2nd, 2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
Why the fuck was that even IN there, that's what I want to know! Followed by the whole "And by weak and unready ruler, we mean Elizabeth I." Because someone who went from being the mortal enemy of her fatherbrother/sister/cousin to dying of old age in her own royal bed was totally weak and unable to rule. *eyeroll*

As for how it came across to people unfamiliar with the play, the answer's "Pretty good, actually." I've neither seen nor read it; the histories aren't high on my list.

Edited at 2013-02-02 04:48 pm (UTC)
tempestsarekind: i am my father's daughter [elizabeth]tempestsarekind on February 4th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
I don't know; maybe the whole anti-Stratfordianism thing was a condition of getting Jacobi to do the special in the first place, because otherwise I can't imagine why the BBC let him go there.

I sort of understand what they were going for by bringing Elizabeth into it, because there are historical associations between Richard II and Elizabeth I (they mentioned the apocryphal "I am Richard II, know ye not that?" remark, and the Essex rebellion), but the associations had far more to do with her lack of heirs and potential civil war after her death.

Richard II is definitely my favorite of the histories! I also think it's the one that makes all the others make sense (I had 1 Henry IV inflicted on me twice at school without being told anything about what had gone on previously), so it's worth a read. Plus it's got some great speeches in it.
Neaneadods on February 5th, 2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
I thought about it being a sop to Jacobi, but really - England's lousy with brilliant knighted Shakespearean actors. They really didn't need *him* in particular if they weren't willing to go there anyway.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on February 5th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ah - but not all of them have played Richard II, which is why I assume they chose him in particular! Personally I would have preferred someone who played the part more recently, like Ben Whishaw or Eddie Redmayne, but, you know, they've been pretty busy lately. :)

It's always possible, though, that they picked him deliberately in order to play to the controversy. I can't imagine why, but I've never understood the ways of television broadcasters...
Neaneadods on February 6th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
It could be a case of "we can't duck it, so let's bring it up and then shoot it down."
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on February 6th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
Possibly: they did follow it directly with a prominent scholar doing the equivalent of shaking his head sadly at his wacky uncle during Thanksgiving dinner!