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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons

Airs Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Actor Jeremy Irons

In a unique series of six films debuting on PBS, SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis and the personal passion of its celebrated hosts — Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson and David Tennant — to tell the story behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

Which Character Are You?

Answer all 7 questions to find out which Shakespeare character has a lot in common with you.

Courtesy of Alex Brenner

Jeremy Irons (right) discussing “Henry IV” and “Henry V” with Dominic Dromgoole (left) of the Globe Theater.

Courtesy of Alex Brenner

Jeremy Irons explains the history of Shakespeare's theatre in London, while paddling a boat, in a scene from "Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons."

Each episode combines interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays specially staged for the series at Shakespeare's Globe in London.

"Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons" - Jeremy Irons (who stars as Henry IV in the upcoming new GREAT PERFORMANCES film adaptation) uncovers the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s “history plays,” from the facts of English history to the father-son drama that Shakespeare created. He discloses what Shakespeare’s sources were — and how he distorted them.

Irons uncovers the historical truths behind the story and how they inspired some of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues. On a journey to the battlefield at Agincourt in Northern France, the climactic location of these plays, it’s revealed how the Bard was more subversive and less patriotic than his ardent admirers often think.

Irons also invites viewers behind the scenes at the filming of key sequences in the new GREAT PERFORMANCES adaptation starring Irons himself as the father-king, Henry IV, and Tom Hiddleston as his son, Prince Hal, who becomes Henry V.

Video clips and past episodes from this series are available for online viewing.

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Preview: SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons

Above: Jeremy Irons (who stars as Henry IV in the upcoming new GREAT PERFORMANCES film adaptation) uncovers the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s “history plays,” from the facts of English history to the father-son drama that Shakespeare created. He discloses what Shakespeare’s sources were — and how he distorted them. He invites the viewer behind the scenes at the filming of some of the most important sequences in the new GREAT PERFORMANCES adaptations of both plays, starring Irons, with Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal.

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Jeremy Irons on SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED

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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: A Royal Family

Above: An overview of the play that emphasizes the theme of fathers and sons.

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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: Role Playing in Henry IV

Above: A look at Hal and Falstaff’s role playing of Hal’s upcoming meeting with his father, as well as the actual meeting between Hal and his father.

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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: Director Thea Sharrock: Once More Unto The Breach

Above: Director Thea Sharrock explains that her new production of Henry V is neither pro nor anti-war, but is rather an acknowledgement that “war happens,” and an attempt to understand the individuals shaped by it.

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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED Trailer