Peter Holland


This article explores a number of perspectives on the creation of very different Shakespeares as personas by first examining the celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 2016 and Shake, Mr Shakespeare, a remarkable Roy Mack 1936 Warner Brothers short. From there it moves on to consider the brief appearance of Shakespeare in the time-travel comedy Blackadder: Back and Forth, in ‘The Shakespeare Code’ episode of Doctor Who and in the off-Broadway musical Something Rotten!, before examining the work of Ben Elton in his screenplay for All Is True and in the seemingly unlikely success of Upstart Crow, the BBC sitcom with Shakespeare as the lead character, which has so far completed three six-episode series and three Christmas specials. The article is concerned with the multiple masks of the sequence of personas that create these Shakespeares, from Shakespeare as perhaps the epitome of the celebrity author to Shakespeare as a sitcom Dad.


Shakespeare; Mask; Celebrity; Comedy; Sitcom; Afterlife

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