Shakespeare Solved ®


Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Articles Written For:

The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Shakespeare DVD & Blu-ray


I don’t think I have ever ranted here on my blog. I am not a ranter by nature.

But I am sick and tired of Shakespeare productions around the world that don’t get filmed.

Tom Hiddleston as Hamlet
(photos by Johan Persson)

Why are actors as acclaimed and influential as Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and many others, not making DVD and Blu-ray versions of their plays?

It’s insulting.

How is it possible that Tom Hiddleston as Hamlet, directed by Branagh, will only be seen by about 3000 people in its three week run?

There is no plan to extend the production, or film it for a wider audience.

So in a world of more than 7 billion people — only 3000 get to see it?

You have got to be kidding me!




How is it possible that Kevin Spacey traveled the world playing Richard III, directed by Sam Mendes, and it is not released on film?

I would love to see Andrew Scott as Hamlet. I would like to own a Blu-ray disc of that production. I would pay good money for it. And I would treasure it forever.

But no. That is not possible.

Why don’t we have a filmed version of Daniel Day-Lewis as Hamlet -- co-starring the incomparable Judi Dench?

Where are the filmed versions of Ralph Fiennes in his many Shakespeare productions? What about Ben Kingsley? Ian McKellen? And so many more.

Many of the greatest actors of all time, performing the greatest plays of all time, are not preserved for history. That’s shameful.

Ralph Fiennes as Prospero

Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis in Hamlet

There are probably good reasons why these productions don’t get filmed. I am sure there are all sorts of rules and regulations.

I don’t care what the reasons are — these productions must be preserved.

Somehow Shakespeare’s Globe theatre created filmed versions of many of their plays, from 2007 to 2015. I bought almost all of them.

Somehow the Royal Shakespeare Company filmed many productions, going back almost 30 years! I bought almost all of them.

I saw Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet. He was brilliant. I had to go to a theatre to see it broadcast. I went twice, it was so good.

I want to see it again. Today. But no. I can’t. 

That’s insulting.

I think that if you are a global star, a Tom Hiddleston, or a Martin Freeman, you have an obligation to preserve this work, and have a mass audience see it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

Anything less is unacceptable.

If you don’t preserve them, then why do them in the first place? Why wouldn’t you want as wide an audience as possible?

It is quite possible that William Shakespeare himself knew that his plays might survive long after his death, and have a global appeal. 

That might very well be the reason he and his fellow actors named their new theatre The Globe in 1599.

Well, it is 2017 now. Actors, directors, and theatres should realize how much of a global demand there is for Shakespeare.

I would love to find someone out there who could create a Shakespeare Channel — a 24-hour channel that plays taped productions from around the world, by famous and not-so-famous acting companies.

There could even be anchor-men and anchor-women, who could host discussions, and interview artists about their Shakespeare projects.

I think the appetite for such a channel would be enormous. I see this demand through my blog, with its analytics and global insights. The world wants Shakespeare, all the time, and forever. Especially countries like Tunisia in particular, and the Middle East in general.

But until that day, at the very least, I don’t think it is too much to expect actors, directors, and theatres to create taped versions of their Shakespeare productions for DVD and Blu-ray.

I don’t go out of my way to invite you to add comments to any of my blog posts — but here is one time where I would love your feedback.

Who knows — perhaps your responses will inspire these great artists to finally film the productions they make.

Cheers,