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Disappointed with their lack of enthusiasm, Messina went over the departmental heads, forwarding his proposal directly to Director of Programmes, Alasdair Milne and Director-General, Ian Trethowan, both of whom liked the idea.

Although there were still reservations within the BBC, and although Messina's decision to bypass the accepted hierarchy would not be forgotten, with the support of Milne and Trethowan, the series was greenlighted, with its daunting scope championed as part of its appeal; "it was a grand project, no one else could do it, no one else would do it, but it ought to be done." The BBC had screened many Shakespearean adaptations before, and by 1978, the only plays which they had not shown in specifically made-for-TV adaptations were Henry VIII, Pericles, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus and The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

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Almost immediately upon pitching the idea to his colleagues, however, Messina began to encounter problems.

He had anticipated that everyone in the BBC would be excited about the concept, but this did not prove so.

1964 also saw the broadcast of Hamlet at Elsinore, directed by Philip Saville and produced by Peter Luke.

Starring Christopher Plummer as Hamlet, Robert Shaw as Claudius and June Tobin as Gertrude, the entire play was shot on-location in Helsingør at the real Elsinore Castle.

Development began in 1975 when Messina saw that the grounds of Glamis Castle would make a perfect location for an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It for the Play of the Month series.

Upon returning to London, however, he had come to envision an entire series devoted exclusively to the dramatic works of Shakespeare.During his time on set, Messina realised that the castle grounds would make a perfect location for an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It.By the time he had returned to London, however, his idea had grown considerably, and he now envisioned an entire series devoted exclusively to the dramatic work of Shakespeare; a series which would adapt all thirty-seven Shakespearean plays.The complete set is a popular collection, and several episodes represent the only non-theatrical production of the particular play currently available on DVD.The concept for the series originated in 1975 with Cedric Messina, a BBC producer who specialised in television productions of theatrical classics, while he was on location at Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland, shooting an adaptation of J. Barrie's The Little Minister for the BBC's Play of the Month series.Produced and directed by Ronald Eyre, and starring Roger Livesey as Falstaff, the series took all of the Falstaff scenes from the Henriad and adapted them into seven thirty-minute episodes. Produced by Peter Dews and directed by Michael Hayes, the show comprised fifteen episodes between sixty and eighty minutes each, which adapted all eight of Shakespeare's sequential history plays (Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III).

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