Explore the life of the world's greatest writer through a mixture of travel sequences, scholarly interviews, and re-created adventure sequences. The Movie sets The Bard's life against the backdrop of his turbulent era of militarism, domestic surveillance, and foreign wars. Relive the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot, colonization of the New World, and England's Cultural Revolution, among other events. Hosted by Michael Wood.
Little is known about Shakespeare's life between the ages of 18 and 28 - however, there are some intriguing theories. Did he serve in a Catholic house during a dangerous time of Protestant reform? Or did he spread propaganda for the Elizabethan government in the actors' company the Queen's Men? Historian Michael Wood investigates the Bard's secret history, watches actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company bring his scripts to life, and learns more about the violent death of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's great rival.
Shakespeare's "missing years" have mystified scholars for centuries. In Episode Two - The Lost Years - Michael Wood explores conflicting theories of how Shakespeare spent the ten years between his marriage to Anne Hathaway and his emergence as a star writer in London.
Apart from the birth of his three children, absolutely nothing is known about Shakespeare's life between the ages of 18 and 28, but there are some intriguing clues. Wood first checks out a fascinating theory which takes young William up to serve in an old Catholic house near Preston in Lancashire. There Michael meets the Hoghton family, who believe a family will proves Shakespeare lived with them. Wood also investigates the possibility that Shakespeare first trod the boards in an ancient hall at Rufford near Liverpool.
From such humble beginnings, how then did William learn his craft as an actor and playwright? Wood examines the theory that Shakespeare joined Elizabeth's government propaganda company, the Queen's Men, in the year before the Spanish Armada. Greg Doran and a company of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company bring their long-forgotten scripts back to life, offering a unique insight into the humour of the times.
Back in London, Wood uses Tudor maps, guidebooks, parish records and recently rediscovered Victorian photos of the only City neighborhood to escape the Great Fire, to pinpoint the street where Shakespeare first lived, the inns where he first drank, and the "winding lane" he walked down each day.
Shakespeare's world was one of surveillance and militarism. Using original documentation, Wood traces the downfall of Shakespeare's great rival Christopher Marlowe, recreating his fateful last journey; and, again aided by the RSC company, unveils some of Shakespeare's earliest works.
With the death of Marlowe, fame and fortune beckon for the young bard, but ahead too lie trauma and loss, both in life and in love.