TV Movie | Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance
Benedick and Beatrice fight their merry war of words. But when Beatrice's friend, Hero, is humiliatingly jilted by Benedick's best friend, Claudio, Benedick has to choose which side he's on... See full summary »
The inaugural episode of BBC Shakespeare was originally set to be a production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Donald McWhinnie, and starring Penelope Keith and Michael York. The episode was shot (for £250,000), edited and even publicly announced as the opening of the series, before it was suddenly pulled from the schedule and replaced with Romeo & Juliet (which was supposed to air as the second episode). No reasons were given by the BBC for this decision, although initial newspaper reports suggested that the episode had not been abandoned, it had simply been postponed for re-shoots, due to an unspecified actor's "very heavy accent," and concerns that US audiences would not be able to understand the dialogue. However, as time wore on, and no reshoots materialised, the press began to speculate that the show had been cancelled entirely, and would be replaced at a later date by a completely new adaptation, which was in fact what happened. The press also pointed out that the fact that the production was never shown in Britain rubbished any suggestion that the prevailing cause for the abandonment was to do with accents. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that BBC management simply regarded the production as a failure.