In a unique series of six films debuting on WUCF TV Friday, Jan. 25, “Shakespeare Uncovered” will combine history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts – Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons and others – to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

Alongside each national episode, WUCF TV will air its own locally produced mini-series “Shakespeare Uncovered: In Our Town, In Our Time,” exploring William Shakespeare’s works and the still-potent impact they have today.

Each local episode is produced with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF, combining interviews with actors, directors and illustrative excerpts from local performances and events.

Covering themes such as violence, racism and the community impact of the region’s only professional Shakespeare theater, each “In Our Town, In Our Time” episode goes “behind the Bard” in Central Florida to share stories of staging Shakespeare’s works and their modern-day relevancy.

A sneak peek of Friday’s premiere national and local presentation is available here:

The six national episodes will air as follows:

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

Shakespeare Uncovered: Macbeth With Ethan Hawke

9:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ethan Hawke invites viewers on his quest to play Shakespeare’s murderous Thane of Cawdor by researching the true story and real-life events that served as the play’s inspiration.

Shakespeare Uncovered: The Comedies With Joely Richardson

10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Joely Richardson investigates (with her mother Vanessa Redgrave) the legacy of two brilliant cross-dressing comedies, Twelfth Night and As You Like It, with their missing twins, mistaken identities and characters in disguise; their connections to Shakespeare’s personal life; and the great romantic heroines created by Shakespeare in these two perennially popular plays.

Friday, Feb. 1, 2013

Shakespeare Uncovered: Richard II With Derek Jacobi

9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

In returning to the role of a deposed monarch whose crown is taken from him, Derek Jacobi takes a 360-degree view of this great political thriller whose title character he played more than 30 years ago.

Shakespeare Uncovered: Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons

10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Jeremy Irons uncovers the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s most iconic “history plays,” from the true English history embedded into the works to the father-son drama that Shakespeare created.

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

Shakespeare Uncovered: Hamlet With David Tennant

9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

An acclaimed Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s hit production, David Tennant meets fellow actors who’ve tackled this most iconic of roles, including superstar Jude Law, and compares notes on the role’s titanic challenges.

Shakespeare Uncovered: The Tempest With Trevor Nunn

10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Trevor Nunn, the legendary director who has helmed 30 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays – and aims to complete them all before he retires – takes us through the magical and mysterious world created in the playwright’s last complete work.

For more on the national “Shakespeare Uncovered” series, visit

WUCF TV launched July 1, 2011, providing uninterrupted access to PBS programming to more than 4 million Central Floridians across nine counties.

Owned and operated by UCF, WUCF TV recently acquired the broadcast license of the region’s former PBS broadcaster, offering three new channels and a stronger signal to provide programming that entertains, inspires and informs our community.