In each episode, one star will explore an iconic work by William Shakespeare, revealing their personal connection to the work and how it has shaped them professionally. They embark on a journey to find out how their chosen play was written, as well as meeting actors, historians, and directors to understand how the plays have been performed and developed over time. They aim to find out where Shakespeare got his stories from and what makes these plays, now over 400 years old, universally acknowledged as great masterpieces of theatre.
Morgan Freeman on The Taming Of The Shrew - Monday 22nd September 9pm
In 1990, Morgan Freeman famously starred in a Wild West version of The Taming of The Shrew for Shakespeare in the Park in New York. One of the bard's very first works, Freeman sets out to understand how and why the play was written. Interviews include Tracey Ullman and Sinead Cusack.
Kim Cattrall on Antony & Cleopatra - Monday 29th September 9pm
Kim Cattrall has played the role of Cleopatra twice and meets others who have as well - like Janet Suzman who is renowned for her performance with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Together, they begin to uncover the truth behind Shakespeare's "middle-aged" love story. Cattrall also travels to Rome and examines possible inspirations for the play. Contributors include Harriet Walter and Vanessa Redgrave.
Joseph Fiennes on Romeo & Juliet - Monday 6th October 9pm
The star of Shakespeare in Love examines Royal Ballet productions, musicals such as West Side Story, and Baz Luhrmann's extraordinary cinematic re-imagination of Romeo & Juliet to understand why the love story remains the most adapted and performed of all of Shakespeare's works. Features interviews with Orlando Bloom and Stephen Sondheim.
Hugh Bonneville on A Midsummer Night's Dream - Monday 13th October 9pm
Hugh Bonneville started his career as an understudy for Ralph Fiennes in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre in London's Regent's Park. He revisits the theatre where his love for Shakespeare blossomed and catches up with Ralph to talk about why the play has enduring appeal. Interviews include David Walliams and Sheridan Smith.
David Harewood on Othello - Monday 20th October 9pm
In 1997, David Harewood was the first ever black actor to play Othello on stage at the National Theatre in London. In this episode, he unravels the complex issues of prejudice and jealousy which are threaded throughout the play, as well as returning to the National to meet the most recent actor to take on the role at the theatre, Adrian Lester.
Christopher Plummer on King Lear - Monday 27th October 9pm
Actor Christopher Plummer originally played the role of King Lear under the direction of Sir Jonathan Miller, who has directed the play six times. Plummer explores how the work might have been staged during Shakespeare's time and acclaimed actors Sir Ian McKellen and Simon Russell Beale give their insight into playing the part of the troubled King.