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In Search of Shakespeare [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Gregory Doran , Ray Fearon    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Price: £13.48
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.


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In Search of Shakespeare [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great [DVD] + In Search of the Trojan War [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Gregory Doran, Ray Fearon, Gerald Kyd, Fred Melamed, Robert Whitelock
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Feb 2004
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00019JRFY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,055 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The BBC series In Search of Shakespeare could be the English teacher's most important ally yet. With his typical mixture of intensive research, detective work, boyish enthusiasm and popular appeal, television historian Michael Wood comes closer than anyone to bringing the Bard to life. There are some astonishing discoveries along the way, which help to give a documentary cohesion to Shakespeare's story. But Wood is never arrogant enough to claim to have pinned the playwright's character down. The ifs, buts and maybes are all part of the fascination. The man himself remains tantalisingly just out of reach, which is probably as it should be.

Instead, Wood takes us on an exhilarating journey through Elizabethan and Jacobean England, building a picture of his subject through painstaking reference to the climate of the age: a police state in which Shakespeare's family was devastated by the persecution of Catholics. Social, familial and political influences are all unravelled and pieced together, counterpointed with scenes from the plays--RSC actors conveniently to hand--and the life and times of the travelling actor and playwright are evoked in front of our eyes, becoming tangible and relevant.

Wood gives us the chance to consider the plays in context, products of a great mind living in interesting times, rather than in academic isolation. It's a compelling tale, full of bloody danger, sex, celebrity and social history, and densely packed with layers of detail. Wood's great gift is to tell it in such an accessible way and without the sense of superiority that some of his peers bring to popular history. --Piers Ford

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reason for going multi-Region in US! 11 Sep 2003
I never had the pleasure or even the opportunity to view this series on TV. Reading the reviews of the show and being a Shakespeare addist, I knew I had to see this, had to own the set. What with the new multi-region player (bought primarily for this very DVD) and the discs and the postage, this must have cost me $150. Well worth the price! I sat right down and watched it and in 2 sessions, had seen it all.
Beat out my Shakespeare 101 classes at university hands down for interest and content! Not only was the information exciting and (some) new (and perhaps speculative), but the host was engaging, the photography stunning (I am decided I MUST go to England next year!) and the locations fascinating.
You really do owe this to yourself if you have ANY interest in the Bard. If you're in the UK you can own it for pennies on the dollar (shillings on the pound?) than my costs. Highest accolades!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Not of an age, but for all time" 2 Sep 2009
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
"So why go in search of Shakespeare? Can the life of a writer ever be as interesting or exciting as a conqueror, an inventor, or an explorer, a Napoleon, a Columbus, an Alexander the Great? Well yes, yes it can. More so, because the writers and the poets are the explorers of the human heart, and long after the conquerors are forgotten, THEIR legacy will be the most valuable to us as human beings."

Thus does Michael Wood address the viewer at the commencement of this magnificent four-part series. I've already reviewed the book on Amazon and praised it for containing so much more than the TV series, but of course the book does not have the fine scenes from Shakespeare's plays acted out by members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. And neither can the book convey the atmosphere of a visit to Stratford or the Forest of Arden or the many other places Wood visits in his search. Thankfully, we are preserved from actors playing a part in a docudrama.

It's good to see that the first episode - one whole quarter of the series - is spent by Wood looking at the first nineteen years of the poet's life. Wood calls this part `A Time of Revolution', and he bases his theory of the mystery of Shakespeare's on his place at the edge of fundamental changes in the English psyche, when it could be a matter of life or death depending on which horse you backed in the religious ferment of the time.

The second episode is again a wonder, for here Wood spends the whole time concentrating on the mystery of ten lost years. Was he in Catholic Lancashire? "It's easy to get carried away ...", says Wood, "This part of Lancashire is thick with Shakespearian co-incidences." But the series makes no extravagant claims, keeping its feet firmly on the ground.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Puskas
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The peerless Dr. Wood (I assume he's got a Ph.D) was my sixth form pin up twenty five years ago when he began his BBC 'In Search of' series. He's done it again with a passionate and breathless recce round Stratford, Lancashire and London. Shakespeare's underground Catholicism is thumped home a fair bit, but the whole spirit of place thing, in the darkened Elizabethan rooms that another reviewer mentioned, is very very well done. Also, one tends not to hear much about Shakespeare's dalliances with the underworld, and with the hitherto unreported black community in Elizabethan London, and also his father's rise and fall, but it is all here and incredibly well done. I like the interspersing with RSC moments, performed in unusual but very Shakespearean locations. The only bit I didn't like was the assumption by one of the people interviewed that Shakespeare was a Brummie, or the inference that he spoke like Lenny Henry from Dudley in the Black Country. I am Warwickshire born and bred, and can assure you that the good people of Stratford upon Avon are not Brummies, nor are they from the Black Country. Warwickshire has a multitude of its own accents, thank you, without having to borrow from the neighbouring West Midlands, which didn't actually exist in its present form when Shakespeare trod the boards.

Altogether, though, an excellent piece of work by the enthusiastic and sexy Dr. Wood.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much about the English landscape as about Will 10 April 2004
It is more than quarter of a century since Michael, nearly fresh out of Oriel College Oxford, first appeared on our TV screens. Clad in unfusty denim, he hurled himself about the great English outdoors, enthusiastically telling us about Eric Bloodaxe and Co in the BBC series 'In Search of the Dark Ages'.
Since then, Michael has been abroad with 'In Search of the Trojan War', 'In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great', and ... well, you get the general picture.
Now he's back in England -- mostly Warwickshire, Lancashire and London, actually -- and he's ditched the denim in favour of the Barbour 'Bushman' jacket and Karrimor backpack. This four-part programme is as much a celebration of England's landscape and ancient buildings as it is the story of our greatest playwright. The photography is exceptional, the music well-composed, and Michael is always a pleasant companion to escort us around the key sites. We also spend much time in the company of the RSC, as they travel around the more authentic venues to perform excerpts from Othello, Henry IVth Part Two, Romeo & Juliet etc.
There's always latent demand on British TV for Shakespeare insmall, digestible chunks. It is one of the regrets of so many adults that they wished they liked Shakespeare more ... if only it wasn't so much work to appreciate him, compared to 'Friends' etc. Here Michael makes him very digestible. If you could cope with 'Shakespeare in Love', then you can handle this series. The problem for me is that, having now viewed it once, when will I next want to watch it again? Probably in a couple of years' time. This is really a DVD to buy, watch once, and then lend to friends and family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for Wood's Shakespeare.A true delight!
Wood shows us here a thrilling account of Shakespeare life and times.Wood digs deep into Elisabethan England and gives us a good glimpse of the Bard's life in Stratfford and London... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Victor Asensi Alvarez
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Really good! The scene where they showed phots of houses that had been pulled down in relatively recent times - that Shakespeare would have know was unforgettable!
Published 4 months ago by G. C. Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting film!
Michael Wood tried to go in search of Shakespeare and he managed to give us a picture of his time. New things emerged, new documents about Shakespeare and his family. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Georgia Hasegan Brighton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great For The Kids
I don't want o come over all Michael Gove here but this DVD is a great way to get the kids understanding and appreciating the bard. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lance percival
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Shakespeare
Michael Wood's fantastic 4 part documentary on William Shakespeare travels through England looking at the history and time in which Shakespeare would have lived. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mr. M. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Summary
This was bought as a gift so I haven't watched it. Item was despatched quickly as promised. What more can I say?
Published 14 months ago by Gill Northern
5.0 out of 5 stars Sakespeare
Wonderful trip into Shakespeare's Tudor world, charmingly retold with so many interesting facts, only criticism was that he failed to address the "did he or didn't he' write... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ann Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, highly-recommended set
Michael Wood is a favourite. Having seen this series many years ago. my wife and I thought to buy it for our grand-daughter, who loves Shakespeare. Read more
Published 20 months ago by J. E. Long
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich, enthusiastic history
Michael Wood, all hands-on excitment, follows the echoes of Shakespeare through England. Lots of gorgeous locations illustrate this highly speculative but still plausible attempt... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2012 by G. P. Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars In search of the orthodox view
Michael Woods is usually very good in his historical documentaries ("In Search of Troy", "In the Footsteps of Alexander", etc.). Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2012 by Andrew Finch
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