BBC Lifetime of Original British Drama

BBC has launched “A Lifetime of Original British Drama”, a trailer promoting the 2015 drama season, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Benedict reads William Shakespeare’s monologue All the World’s A Stage, from As You Like It, as the trailer celebrates moments from seminal dramas past, present and future. The seven ages of human life are used as a framework: infancy, whining schoolboy, the lover, the soldier, the justice, old age and incapacity. The interactive version, online at, allows viewers to click on the hotspots to watch previews of upcoming dramas.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Upcoming dramas in the trailer include The Casual Vacancy, Esio Trot, The Missing, One Child, The Interceptor, Wolf Hall, Banished, Strange And Norrell, and Poldark.

Dramas from the past include The Singing Detective; House Of Cards; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; This Life, Pride and Prejudice; Criminal Justice; Small Island; Spooks and Life On Mars, The 7.39; The Honourable Woman; Burton and Taylor; Our Zoo; The Shadow Line and Our Girl.

Current dama series highlighted in the trailer include Doctor Who, Last Tango in Halifax, Luther, Sherlock, Call The Midwife, Death in Paradise; Peaky Blinders; Line of Duty; The Fall; The Hollow Crown; EastEnders; and Happy Valley.

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning says: “It’s a privilege to premiere a new trailer tonight that celebrates BBC Drama. Who better than Benedict Cumberbatch to narrate this special film that showcases the BBC’s unique role in nurturing talent and its powerful storytelling from the past, present and future.”

William Shakespeare’s As You Like it, spoken by the melancholy Jaques in Act II Scene VII.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.
Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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