Much Ado About Nothing

Directed by Alan Cooke, Franco Zeffirelli (stage director)
Writers: William Shakespeare, Robert Graves (adaptation)

1967



  • Alan Adams ... Inanimate
    Chloe Ashcroft ... House maid
    David Belcher ... Watchman #3
    Michael Byrne ... Claudio
    Wynne Clark ... Ursula
    Graham Crowden ... Verges
    Paul Curran ... Friar Francis
    Denis DeMarne ... A Lord
    Barry Evans ... Coffee boy
    Janina Faye ... Inanimate
    Frank Finlay ... Dogberry
    Neil Fitzpatrick ... Balthasar
    Kay Gallie ... Inanimate
    Michael Gambon ... Watchman #4
    Mary Griffiths ... House maid
    John Hallam ... Watchman #5
    Luke Hardy ... Inanimate
    David Hargreaves ... Borachio
    Alan Hutt ... Trombonist
    Derek Jacobi ... Don John
    Gerald James ... Leonato
    Caroline John ... Hero
    Roger Kemp ... Watchman #1
    Harry Lomax ... Antonio
    John McEnery ... Gentleman
    Ron Pember ... Watchman #2
    Edward Petherbridge ... Conrade
    Ronald Pickup ... Don Pedro
    Malcolm Reynolds ... Messenger
    David Ryall ... Sexton
    Maggie Smith ... Beatrice
    Robert Stephens ... Benedick
    Christopher Timothy ... Server


  • The screen version of the famed National Theatre production by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli. It was pre-recorded in the studio on January 11, 1967. The cast of forty three actors spent three weeks in rehearsal for the tv performance. Hence the production passes over the line from being a mere "recording" of a stage play to the status of a full-scale television drama.

    It is thought to be the earliest British television broadcast of the whole play and was assumed to be lost. However in 2010 a copy was discovered in the Library of Congress in Washington DC having been loaned to PBS, America's public broadcasting channel. The restoration of Much Ado About Nothing was completed by the BBC Archive Development in a collection of programmes from the 50s and 60s which were screened at London's Barbican.



A phenomenal cast that includes Maggie Smith, Robert Stephens, Derek Jacobi, Graham Crowden, Edward Petherbridge and Ronald Pickup with Christopher Timothy and Michael Gambon in minor roles.