The month long season begins on Shakespeare's birthday, 23rd April, when Tennant will host a special celebration of Shakespeare's words and his enduring influence on all performance art forms - from opera to jazz, dance to musicals. The BBC Two programme will include appearances from Dame Judi Dench, ENO, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ian Bostridge, Joseph Fiennes and Akala.
Later in the month BBC One will screen a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, adapted by former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies. The production, filmed at the Doctor Who studios in Cardiff, is described as funny, exciting and with as much attitude as any theatrical interpretation.
This will be a Midsummer Night’s Dream for everyone: children, who can laugh at Bottom and his Mechanicals and marvel at the fairies’ awesome powers; for adults, who know those broken hearts and star-crossed lovers all too well; and for whole families, united in front of the television to enjoy the play’s dazzling world of danger, jokes, scares, poetry, thrills and fun.The cast includes includes Maxine Peake as Titania, Matt Lucas as Bottom, John Hannah as Theseus, Elaine Paige as Mistress Quince, Javone Prince as Snug, Nonso Anozie as Oberon, Hiran Abeysekera as Puck, Richard Wilson as Starveling and Bernard Cribbins as Snout.
Also as part of the season, BBC Two will screen the final part of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses. The production concludes the cycle of Shakespeare’s History plays on BBC Two, and will include three new adaptations - Henry VI (in 2 parts) and Richard III. Stars include Hugh Bonneville, Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Sophie Okonedo and Tom Sturridge.
The Hollow Crown is a Neal Street co-production with Carnival/NBC Universal and Thirteen for BBC Two. In the US, the series will be transmitted on PBS by Great Performances, produced by Thirteen Productions LLC for WNET.