BBC One soap brings Shakespeare to life

BBC One soap, Doctors, filmed at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of their special season to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The scenes, which will be aired in April, see loveable doctor Heston Carter take to the stage at the RSC to serenade his girlfriend, Ruhma with one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

The BBC ‘Doctors’ team are currently filming a week of Sonnet based episodes as a unique way of marking the milestone. Each episode across one week in April will be inspired by a Sonnet, in terms of story and theme. The Sonnets will form part of the narrative and will be heard in voice over at a key point in the story.

Talking of the reasons behind the idea, Peter Lloyd, Series Producer of Doctors said:

As Shakespeare was a Midlands boy we wanted to play a part in the BBC’s celebrations to mark 400 years since his death. On Doctors we have the ability to do something a little different.
A lot of people know one of the Sonnets, or lines from them and they can be a bit more digestible than entire plays. All the episodes will go out around the anniversary and each episode will be inspired by and named after a Sonnet.
In the one we’re filming here at the RSC, Heston actually recites Sonnet 73 as a way of wooing Ruhma back at the end of the episode. It will be terribly romantic.

The RSC has been producing inspirational artistic programming since 1875, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and modern writers.

It’s a huge thrill to come and film this on the RSC stage. I used to come here a kid and be completely over-awed by the place so it’s very exciting.
And it’s been great to see the writers come up with their interpretations of these Sonnets. They’re not just romantic, there are themes of death, nightmares, loss, ageing, lust and even one about rape.

Liz Thompson, Director of Communications at the RSC, said:

Shakespeare is for everyone. That's the message behind our whole year of celebration to mark his 400th anniversary. We want as many people as possible to come to his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon to enjoy plays, exhibitions and outdoor activities, all of which remind us how Shakespeare still manages to be spot on about life, 400 years on. That is why we were delighted to be asked to be part of this special week of 'Doctors' episodes and we are looking forward to tuning in to them all.

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