British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Othello

Alternative title
The Shakespeare Plays
Synopsis
Television production of the play directed by Jonathan Miller with Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Bob Hoskins as Iago and Penelope Wilton as Desdemona.
Series
BBC Television Shakespeare
Language
English
Country
Great Britain; United States
Medium
Television
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Recording date
9 Mar 1981
Transmission details
4 Oct 1981 at 19:15 (Channel: BBC2)
Duration
205 mins

Credits

Director
Jonathan Miller
Producer
Jonathan Miller
Writer
William Shakespeare
Music
Stephen Oliver
Costume
Raymond Hughes
Art Direction
Colin Lowrey
Contributor
David Snodin
Cast
Anthony HopkinsOthello
Penelope WiltonDesdemona
Bob HoskinsIago
David YellandMichael Cassio
Rosemary LeachEmilia
Alexander DavionGratiano
Anthony PedleyRoderigo
Geoffrey ChaterBrabantio
Howard GoorneySenator (2)
John BarronDuke of Venice
Joseph O’ConorLodovico
Max HarveyFirst Gentleman (Gentleman)
Nigel NobesThird Gentleman (Gentleman)
Peter WalmsleyOfficer
Seymour GreenSenator (1)
Terence McGinitySecond Gentleman (Gentleman)
Tony SteedmanMontano
Wendy MorganBianca

Additional Details

Production type
Television and Radio Drama
Historical period
Renaissance Italy
Plays
Othello
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
drama in English; performances; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Black actors
Related items
Othello
Othello

Notes

Notes
The production is commercially available on DVD as part of the BBC TV SHAKESPEARE COLLECTION box set (see separate entry).
General
Cedric Messina’s and Shaun Sutton’s plans to cast black American actor James Earl Jones as Othello were thwarted because Equity, the actors union, insisted that a British actor must play the part. Cf. Susan Willis, The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991) p. 14.
Textual information
Between 1978 and 1986 the BBC published individual scripts of the series. Each volume of The BBC TV Shakespeare, ed. Peter Alexander et al. (London: British Broadcasting Corporation) contains the full text of the play (the Peter Alexander edition) with accompanying notes on the scene breaks and cuts made in the production, as well as a glossary. A general introduction to the play by series literary advisor John Wilders is followed by an essay on the production of the play by Henry Fenwick. This is based on interviews with actors, directors, and designers.
Reviews
Susan Willis, The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991).

Production Company

Name

BBC

Notes
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Name

Time-Life Films Inc

Phone
0101 201 843 4545
Address
PO Box 644
NJ 07652
USA

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Trumedia Ltd

Contact
Bill Cotton
Email
sales@trumedia.co.uk
Web
https://trumedia.co.uk/ External site opens in new window
Phone
01865 847837
Fax
01865 847837
Address
9 Meadow View
Kidlington
Kidlington
OX5 2XY
Notes
Trumedia supplies video tapes and DVDs to UK schools, colleges and universities and is geared up to take official orders from educational institutions. The catalogue highlights programmes likely to be of use in the curriculum, but the company can supply any video in current UK distribution, as well as some deleted titles. Particularly strong in the areas of English literature and drama, as well as history, natural history, art & artists, and foreign language films.

Online Retailer

Name

Moviemail

Web
https://www.simplyhe.com/3000-moviemail External site opens in new window
Phone
0844 848 2000
Address
Simply Home Entertainment
PO Box 7741
Ringwood
BH24 9FA
UK
Notes
As of December 2016 the Moviemail web presence is incorporated within the Simply Media website

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