The King & the Playwright: A Jacobean History


Series 1 - Episode 3 Legacy



Sudden death, shipwreck, murder most foul: the events that probably inspired Shakespeare’s late plays prove suitably gripping. That’s largely thanks to Professor James Shapiro, who’s as accomplished a storyteller as he is a scholar.

In this final instalment, he recounts King James I’s desperate attempts to establish a dynasty, court scandals and tumultuous sea voyages, and examines how his loyal playwright wrote it all into The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest and Henry VIII. As befits a documentary about the Bard, there’s no need to be a literary scholar to enjoy this captivating series.


James Shapiro compares the legacies of William Shakespeare and James I, and examines how the playwright continued to experiment and react to the troubled Jacobean world around him in his later plays, such as The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter James Shapiro
Executive Producer Phil George
Series Director Steven Clarke
Series Producer Steven Clarke