British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Shakespeare database – top ten viewed records

It’s Shakespeare Week, so all this week organisations up and down the nation are celebrating the life, work and legacy of the Bard. At the BUFVC, one of our services is the International Database of Shakespeare on Film, Television and Radiothe authoritative online resource of Shakespeare-related content in film, radio, television, home video release and podcasts, with records dating from 1898 to the present day. Shakespeare

In order to highlight the amazing array of records the database holds we have compiled a list of the ten most viewed records. These include television productions, video recordings of play rehearsals and one rather more lurid title!

  1. The Tempest (2006) dir. Rupert Goold. Patrick Stewart is Prospero.
  2. Richard III (1992) dir. Richard Eyre. Ian McKellen is King Richard, (stage version).
  3. Hamlet (2004) dir. Trevor Nunn. Ben Whishaw is Hamlet.
  4. Richard III (1985) dir. Bill Alexander. Antony Sher is King Richard.
  5. *Macbeth on the Estate (1997) dir. Penny Woolcock.  An extension of Woolcock’s work with Michael Bogdanov on the Ladywood estate in Birmingham
  6. Cymbeline (2007) dir. Declan Donnelan. David Collings is Cymbeline.
  7. Hamlet – Ostermeier (2008) dir. Thomas Ostermeier (2008). Lars Eldinger is Hamlet. 
  8. X Hamlet (1996) dir. Luca Damiano. Christoph Clark is Hamlet. Hardcore pornographic adaptation of the play, acted in Elizabethan costume. The film was released in two slightly different versions: as a two-part video version Hamlet: For the Love of Ophelia and a one-part DVD version entitled X Hamlet.
  9. Richard III Live from the Globe (2003). dir. Tim Carroll. Mark Rylance is King Richard.
  10. *Lenny Henry – Finding Shakespeare (2012) dir. Elizabeth Dobson.
*Available to order through the BUFVC’s off-air or BoB service.

It is worth noting that the majority of these productions were not released on DVD or streamed online, so we might assume that visitors to the site want to know how they can see these productions. We are thankful that the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, London and the V&A National Video Archive of Performance and others for recording these performances and making them available to researchers.

Compiled by Olwen Terris, Specialist Resource Officer

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