‘Be thou my witness…’ [Updated]

22nd June 2012

As I have done previously with our productions of Hamlet (2009) and Macbeth (2010), I am using this page to draw together responses to our new film of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar. The film is first broadcast by BBC Four on Sunday night, 24 June, at 8pm, and we very much hope that you will see it then or during the following week on BBC iPlayer. Over the coming days I will update this post with all of the reactions I can find – and your thoughts and questions will be very welcome in the Comments below. For the latest news, follow @Illuminations on  Twitter – and if you comment about the film there please use #JuliusCaesar. Across the jump you will find links to the key BBC resources, to articles, previews, reviews, blog posts and more, as well as an index of links to all the previous Illuminations posts about Julius Caesar.

BBC and The Open University resources

• The BBC Four programme page and an extract from the film, taken from just after the assassination
Launching the Shakespeare season on the BBC: an interview with the BBC’s Commissioning Editor, Arts, Mark Bell, which includes his hopes for the production.
Julius Caesar – political thriller in a modern African state: my BBC blog introducing the production.
Julius Caesar – Shakespeare’s Africa play: audio report from BBC News in which I sound really, really weird (and everyone else seems completely normal)
OU on the BBC – Julius Caesar: the programme page for the production at The Open University.

Julius Caesar at the RSC

• The punchy trailer for the stage production.
Photos by Kwame Lestrade of the stage production.
Julius Caesar and Nelson Mandela: a background article.
Two short RSC documentaries about the play.


All the world’s a screen: Sarah Hemming for the Financial Times discusses the transfer of stage plays to the screen, with comments from Greg Doran.
Power and glory – how to tackle Shakespeare’s revolutions: Greg Doran writes about the production in the Guardian, together with another exclusive extract.
Julius Caesar on stage and page: The Open University’s Dr Edmund King explores the history of people reading, performing and witnessing the play.
RSC director Greg Doran on his African Julius Caesar: an audio interview (recorded 31 July 2012) with Theatre Voice.

Previews and reviews

Radio Times preview: Patrick Mulkern writes.
Lady Television: Michael Moran previews the film for The Lady.
Sam Wollaston at The Guardian admits he’s not the best person to review Shakespeare. Yup.
• … and at The Arts Desk Jasper Rees reviews the production (as well as the football).
Tom Sutcliffe takes on the film for The Independent.
Simal Patel reviews the production for LSMedia.
‘I shall see thee again’: my post includes numerous Tweets from the first 36 hours after transmission.
‘And the first motion…’: a full list of links to reviews of the stage production.


A post-colonial view of Julius Caesar: Andrew Cowie raises some questions about the stage production, but they are pertinent for the film too – see also Ian Shuttleworth’s stage review for more on this argument.
Juliette blogs the film at Pop Classics.
Peter Kirwan contributed an immensely thoughtful post to The Bardathon.
• A sympathetic discussion by Sylvia Morris at The Shakespeare Blog.

Links to the Illuminations story so far…

• ‘Well, to our work alive’, 3 May
• ‘How many ages hence…’, 2 May
• ‘The Ides of March are come’, 30 April
• ‘Good words are better than bad strokes’, 27 April
• ‘Whoever knew the heavens threaten so?’, 26 April
• ‘Peace. Count the clock.’, 25 April
• ‘When it is lighted, come and call me here’, 24 April
• ‘Tell us the manner of it’, 23 April
• ‘Their battles are at hand’, 21 April
• ‘A very pleasing night to  honest men’, 17 April
• ‘Be patient till the last’, 12 April
• ‘Now they are almost on him’, 6 April
• ‘A mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome’, 2 April
• ‘Tell us what hath chanced today’, 30 March
• ‘Shakespeare’s Africa play’, 29 February
• ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen…’, 24 November

Image: ‘Et tu, Brute?’ Jeffery Kissoon as Julius Caesar at the moment of the assassination; phot by Ellie Kurttz, © Illuminations/Royal Shakespeare Company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *