Tag Archives: BBC

BBC’s Shakespeare Uncovered: Sir Derek Jacobi Discusses the Politics of Shakespeare’s Richard II, Visits Castle Hedingham, and Touts Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as the Author

See below for the short story (click on link for more information) as it appears on the BBC website.  As part of this Episode on Richard II, Sir Derek Jacobi visited Castle Hedingham, the ancestral home of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

A press release from Castle Hedingham reads, in part, as follows:

Press Release for Hedingham Castle

http://www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/11/sir-derek-jacobi-visits-hedingham-castle

On Friday, November 25, Sir Derek Jacobi visited Hedingham Castle, as part of a BBC Documentary series on Shakespeare’s plays.

The episode presented by Sir Derek will focus on Richard II, one of Shakespeare’s most beautiful and moving plays. It is the only history play written entirely in verse.

Sir Derek was filmed in the keep, the ancestral home of the Earl of Oxford, and in the grounds. As well as discussing the play with the current owner, Jason Lindsay, the pair exchanged views on the “Oxfordian” debate, which questions whether the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. It is well known that Sir Derek is a supporter of the Oxfordian cause.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01km7f9

Derek Jacobi on Richard II

Episode 3 of 6

Duration: 1 hour

Shakespeare Uncovered: Derek Jacobi looks at Richard II and returns to a role he played 30 years ago. He helps actors at the Globe with aspects of the play, reveals why it might have cost Shakespeare his life, and shares some of the extraordinary political parallels within the play that still resonate today.

Derek first played Richard II for the BBC in 1978 – now 34 years later Ben Whishaw is starring in a new BBC film of the play. Derek spans those dates and uncovers what is so special about this play. Although written entirely ‘in verse’, it is nonetheless one of the most resonant and relevant of all of Shakespeare’s plays. Its understanding of power and its inevitable tendency to corrupt and distort the truth are continually repeated in current affairs.

Derek visits Shakespeare’s Globe and shares his thoughts with actors rehearsing the play – but he also looks at his own performance and those of other actors who have over the last 30 years tried this taxing role. Richard is both a king and a man who knows he is acting the role of a king. It makes him an extraordinary character for any actor to play. But was this play written by the actor William Shakespeare? Derek is one of those who doubt that and he visits the ancestral home of the man he thinks might very well be the true author of ‘Shakespeare’s’ plays.

Richard II is a politically sensitive play, with a monarch having the crown taken from them. Derek goes on to tell of the attempted coup against Queen Elizabeth led by the Earl of Essex, and how that involved Shakespeare’s company of actors. The Earl persuaded them to put on the play to encourage his ‘plotters’ and it could have cost Shakespeare his life.

With contributions from both the director and leading actor – Rupert Goold and Ben Whishaw – and clips from the new film, Derek uncovers the continuing resonance of this extraordinary play.

Professor Michael Egan, Shakespeare Scholar Who Is Open-Minded on the Shakespeare Authorship Question, Named Editor of Shakespeare Oxford Society’s Quarterly Newsletter

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Professor Michael Egan, Shakespeare Scholar Who Is Open-Minded on the Shakespeare Authorship Question, Named Editor of Shakespeare Oxford Society’s Quarterly Newsletter

Professor Egan believes the Shakespeare authorship issue is a “legitimate and important area for investigation” and that “there are enough doubts to continue serious academic research”

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – June 7, 2010 – The Shakespeare Oxford Society (SOS) has announced the appointment of Professor Michael Egan, a Shakespeare scholar who is open-minded on the Shakespeare authorship question, to be the editor of the Society’s quarterly newsletter.

With M.A. and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, Professor Egan is an internationally known writer, consultant and educator.  Professor Egan will continue in his role as editor of The Oxfordian, the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s flagship annual scholarly publication.

There is a long and distinguished history of doubting the traditional “Stratfordian” attribution of the Shakespeare works.  Noted doubters over the years include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin.  More recent skeptics include renowned Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons, Michael York, and Mark Rylance.

Last year, the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship jointly presented the 2009 “Oxfordian of the Year Award” to John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Justice Stevens has long doubted whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon is the real Bard.

The BBC published a story about the case for Edward de Vere as the real Shakespeare. (See BBC News: The Earl of Oxford’s Big Secret.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/oxford/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8380000/8380564.stm.) 

In this BBC article, Professor Egan is quoted as follows:

“One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole debate is the way the anti-Stratfordians are silenced. There isn’t any real attempt to confront the arguments. There’s just a general mocking and ridiculing strategy — what I call arguing by adjective… ‘ridiculous, absurd’ and so on… whereas in fact there’s some very suggestive and interesting pieces of information that need to be factored in there. It’s a little like the Copernican theory of the universe. What seems obvious at first turns out to be not so when you try to reconcile the obvious with the anomalies and the anomalies are great.”

Regarding the case for the 17th Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare,” Professor Egan told the BBC: 

“He was very interested in the theatre.  He was often mentioned by contemporaries as being the finest writer of comedy in his day.  There are aspects of Oxford’s life which are reflected otherwise in the plays.  For example, he was captured by pirates at one point, which is also a mysterious moment in Hamlet.  There are lots of suggestive hints and details which should make a thoughtful person reflect a little bit on the question.”

John Hamill, president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, said:  “We’re delighted that a Shakespeare scholar of Professor Egan’s stature agreed to join us as the editor of newsletter and our flagship annual publication. We invite other Shakespeare scholars and Bard lovers worldwide to approach the Shakespeare authorship issue with the same open mind that Professor Egan displays.  It’s a fascinating topic that deserves the serious attention of scholars and the media.”

Needed:  A Shakespeare Authorship Commission
To resolve the Shakespeare authorship mystery once and for all, the Shakespeare Oxford Society has called for the creation of an independent, blue ribbon commission composed of distinguished, internationally recognized experts in relevant fields – including historians, biographers, jurists, and other esteemed writers and scholars. 

More About Professor Michael Egan, PhD
Michael Egan is an internationally known writer, consultant and educator, with experience working in England, South Africa, the US mainland and Hawaii. Formerly Scholar in Residence, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Egan earned his BA from Witwatersrand University, and his M.A. and PhD degrees from Cambridge. He has served as Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Lecturer in English, Lancaster University, UK. and as Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, and South London University. He is a prize-winning author of ten books and over 80 professional articles.

About The Shakespeare Oxford Society

Founded in 1957, New York-based Shakespeare Oxford Society is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of “William Shakespeare.  The homepage of the Society also says the group is “Dedicated to Researching and Honoring the True Bard.”  Visit www.shakespeare-oxford.com for more information.

Authorship “expert” on BBC-TV show

De Vere Society member Malcolm Blackmoor reports on BBC-TV series “It’s Only a Theory” featuring Stratfordian Stanley Wells.

Purring & Preening from Professor Wells
Malcolm Blackmoor

Stanley Wells had a free run and a triumph last night, October 20, 2009, on a tv programme called “It’s only a Theory”. The show is a lightweight entertainment in which someone has a few minutes to propose a theory to three panelists and then, after a few questions, they give or don’t give it an official stamp.

I started watching it by chance and, after someone with a modification to the chaos theory, to my amazement Professor Stanley Wells arrived. (“It’s Only a Theory” Episode 3, 2009)

It was a superb assured performance as nobody challenged or asked for proof on anything Wells said. He, as usual, implied that Stratfordianism is totally supported by evidence and he wasn’t asked what that evidence was – which is the brilliant sleight of hand they use because the general public has no idea that there is no evidence, and he wasn’t made to face anything in Diana Price’s book. (See Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography by Diana Price.)

Whilst assuring everyone that it was possible to have “an excellent education” in Stratford, accusing doubters of snobbery and using Oxford’s death date as a comedy brush off, (and taking longer to rubbish the case for Marlowe), he happily yielded the possibility of collaboration early and late. This all took about five minutes as the programme has a few “rounds” in half an hour.

For that reason the voting was:

One person agreed with Wells because he didn’t want to take the chance of Wells having a stroke if he didn’t.

Another agreed because he was attracted by the idea of accepting one theory that destroyed hundreds of others.

The third person disagreed because she was intrigued by the collaboration idea and wanted to know more.This was Kirsty Young, a most able broadcaster and a possibility for further enlightenment.

It is, as I said, a lightweight programme but will have been seen by many people who could have been presented with basic disagreements to Wells, had anyone known anything about it.

Oh he was confident, funny, smart and lively and in a very good mood.

Something about ‘cudgeling the wretch . . . .” (Henry IV Part One – first tavern scene ?)

I happened to have my hard disc/DVD recorder switched on so I could then rewind and record it. Maybe it should be played at the next De Vere Society meeting to allow us to rehearse the questions that would have wiped the confident smirk from his face, and left my cats as the only purrers in the room.