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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Shakespeare comedy and the best version I've ever seen of it
For me this production is simply perfect. I can't fault a single moment but also I simply love this story anyway. Like many people I think, I'm appalled by Claudio's appalling behaviour and enthralled by Beatrice and Benedict's edgy romance.

Especially recommended - Robert Lindsay, a great favourite of mine. I had originally seen him as Citizen Smith, oh years...
Published on 27 Feb 2009 by Helen

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's nothing compared to Kenneth Branagh's Film
I bought this as a teaching tool; mistake number one! The sound quality isn't good enough and while it is the full play, it really doesn't engage as a comedy; there isn't enough shade between the dark and light moments. Lindsay and Lunghi are 'good' - but a director with a more imaginative approach would have been better - it's stiff and dull, and I don't quite...
Published 10 months ago by Mrs Harris


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Shakespeare comedy and the best version I've ever seen of it, 27 Feb 2009
This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
For me this production is simply perfect. I can't fault a single moment but also I simply love this story anyway. Like many people I think, I'm appalled by Claudio's appalling behaviour and enthralled by Beatrice and Benedict's edgy romance.

Especially recommended - Robert Lindsay, a great favourite of mine. I had originally seen him as Citizen Smith, oh years ago. In this Beeb series he has several outings, improving all the time and showing what a great actor he is. I was thrilled to see him as Benedict. I had earlier enjoyed the DVD of Branagh's production of this play but it pales besides the Beeb's - partly I think because Lindsay is better as Benedict even than Branagh. Branagh has lots of charm but the whole production is a little too frothy and dazzling. The Beeb's version, doubtless restrained by costs but perhaps fortunately, comes over as more realistic. I didn't feel for Branagh's Benedict at all. I feel for Lindsay's because his portrayal is I think just as he was himself as the actor - finding his way and succeeding so well, a little hesitant, uncertain what to do about Beatrice, just as Benedict surely should be after years of assuring himself he wasn't in love with her, instead of Branagh's just too starry and bright Benedict. Branagh can put over the uncertainty too, but it was just acting, whilst with Lindsay it struck true.

Well, OK, I'm biased, I would prefer Robert Lindsay to Branagh in anything anyway... I've a copy of each version, both well worth having.

As for the BBC productions in general, I bought three individually including this one, my favourites, then I couldn't bear it any more and bought the whole lot. Awesome, a treasured possession.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully acted, 11 Feb 2010
This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
I'd agree with the other reviewer who said "simply perfect". And I cant really understand all the praise that big name productions often get, when they simply dont live up to it. Case in point a couple of Branagh productions, where he always seems to lose presence and act instead, or more recently Tennent's much touted Hamlet which suffers from similar flaws - very fake acting indeed.

Back to this title, the whole play is just perfectly executed from beginning to end. The performances are fresh, the directing is simple and effective, the play vividly communicated. Most noteworthy for me were the following:
Jon Finch oozes charm, style and grace as Don Pedro;
Robert Lindsay's Benedick is full of sharp wit, cynicism and humour;
Lee Montague's Leonato is a character fully realised;
Cherie Lunghi's sexy Beatrice is a match to Benedick in every department;
Vernon Dobtchef is a wonderful vilain in Don John, and what superb diction; and finally
Michael Elphick being Michael Elphick - what a great casting for Dogberry.

To those who may note Katharine Levy's Hero's abscence from my list let me be blunt: she is certainly a great actress and her performance doesn't lack in any department. However she simply doesn't fit the part visually. Much as people like to be proper and correct and deny such seemingly superficial claims, they are important, particularly in view of the given production's Claudio. This however, is a very minor blemish.

As an actor, I cherished every moment of this dvd, and that is something I rarely say for Shakespeare productions, from which I often come away disappointed by the intellectualisation and fakeness of the performances and their lack of flow and presence. Definitely not the case here - a masterclass!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best version I have found so far, 2 April 2013
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Amazon Customer (Bicester, Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
I am studying this play as part of my English GCSE course.
Robert Lindsey is very good and Cherie Lunghi is outstanding. The costumes look slightly overblown. However, as part of the BBC Shakespeare series, the script is as faithful to the full text as any other recorded version. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of my favourite productions, 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
I first watched this as a 17 year old to broaden my knowledge of comedy while studying A Winters Tale and Othello for A level, and was totally enthralled by Robert Lindsay's portrayal of Benedict. Previously I had only seen him as a slightly absurd character in Citizen Smith.

A couple of weeks ago a US friend mentioned a bbc Shakespeare collection of the full works dating from that period and I managed to trace this. I wondered whether this 1984 version would still impress me nearly 30 years later. Well the answer is yes. Admittedly the set is clearly a bit cheesy and made of plywood, but then the play is a comedy. Cherie Lunghi is great as Benedict's witty but reluctant fiancée Beatrice, who incites Benedict to murder. The pair work well together. If I'm honest I'd rather see a live RSC version - the lack of audience interaction makes the production seem a little flat- there is no music score or fancy camera work to mask that and no canned or studio laughter). But theatre visits are expensive and not always practical. So I watched this with my 16 year old daughter instead...and she was also impressed!
Note this is the full unabridged play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Shakespeare lovers., 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliantly designed and acted.marvellous cast. Great actors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 8 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
Was a present for my dad. He loved it. Great price, great product and good for the whole family to enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
All characters are fantastic in this BBC production. Great for GCSE or A level students needing to bring the text to life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Collection, 14 Jun 2012
This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with other reviewers that this is perfect. I've been working my way through the BBC Shakespeare collection over the last few years and have enjoyed many moments and interpretations but this tops the lot. Centrally both Robert Lindsay and Cherie Lunghi separately and together bring out the magic of the dialogue and the relationship with skills unique to them.

And they are surrounded by toned down but intelligently crafted performances from others - Michael Elphick as Dogberry is one, but there are many - which really let the characters speak for themselves and the comedy and romance sparkle.

One I'll be watching again - and although I like Kenneth Branagh and enjoyed the film - I agree that this is better. It seems to try less hard, it has nothing in the way of distractions and the production frames the story and allows it to speak for itself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... screen image and a very stage-bound production but a wonderful set of actors doing the play great justice, 17 July 2014
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
Blurry old BBC screen image and a very stage-bound production but a wonderful set of actors doing the play great justice.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robert Lindsay rocks Benedick, 12 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
There is nothing so good that some Robert Lindsay cannot make it better. Despite the fact that Branagh's _Much Ado_ has many many features which make it the better overall version (Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton, Ben Elton, Kate Beckinsale, fountains, dancing, cinematography,and a jolly setting), Robert Lindsay's Benedick is the most wonderful I have ever seen. He lends an air of authenticity to the role and projects naturalness in the most lively, sumptious and somewhat ridiculously wonderful costumes. If you love "Much Ado", this is a must-see.
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