There are many reasons the BBC should be ashamed of its neglect of Shakespeare on television. One of them is the excellent record of BBC radio with Shakespeare. But Jane Tranter, who runs BBC Fiction, believes "you can get your Shakespeare in the theatre. Television has other jobs to do." It may be news to Tranter, but not everybody can pop down to the RSC at Stratford or the National Theatre on the South Bank whenever they feel like it.
Mark Thompson, in a speech in 2005, made the sensible point that TV drama audiences are in many ways more sophisticated than they used to be, and have no problem coping with multilayered stories that challenge the little grey cells. It's time for the BBC to justify its shiny new licence fee by overcoming its fear of Shakespeare and starting to produce his plays.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
On The Guardian's TV and Radio blog, Guild member John Morrison asks why BBC TV seems to have given up on Shakespeare's plays.