"Much Ado About Something"
Original airdate: January 2, 2003
Written, directed, narrated, filmed & recorded by
SHAKESPEARE: "When all the breathers of this world are dead, you still shall live, such virtue hath my pen"-
ANNOUNCER: More than a decade ago, FRONTLINE became intrigued with the Shakespeare authorship question.
CALVIN HOFFMAN: It's the greatest story in literature. You want the man who conferred the greatest glory on English letters to get his recognition. It's a matter of simple justice.
ANNOUNCER: Who really wrote the works of William Shakespeare? Some believe it was Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford.
EXPERT: The Earl of Oxford has all the academic, intellectual qualifications.
ANNOUNCER: But there is another theory.
MICHAEL RUBBO: What about Marlowe? Marlowe has his supporters.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight filmmaker Michael Rubbo continues the journey and investigates the question that has plagued the literary world for over a century.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE, Author of "The Genius of Shakespeare": This is the biggest literary prize in the world. I mean, it's like Captain Kidd's treasure.
ANNOUNCER: This is the story of two men-
EXPERT: Shakespeare, the man from Stratford-
EXPERT: Christopher Marlowe-
ANNOUNCER: -and all the people who've spent their lives trying to prove that one-
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Marlowe.
PETER FAREY, Management Consultant: Marlowe.
JOHN HUNT, Canterbury Bookseller: Marlowe wrote Shakespeare.
ANNOUNCER: -wrote everything that the other is famous for.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: This is the greatest cover-up job in history! And that's why it's taken us so long to discover.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE, Much Ado About Something.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] When this man died, he left a sad little poem for his gravestone: "Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear / To dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be the man that spares these stones / And cursed be he who moves my bones."
["Hamlet," Act V Scene I]
ACTOR: [as Hamlet] That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once; how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder!
MICHAEL RUBBO: The poem did work. His bones have been left in peace. But his reputation- ah, his reputation. Now, that has taken quite a tossing and a turning these last 200 years. Alas, poor William. He looks serene, doesn't he here, dominating Poets Corner? But the comments from the floor are a bit of a shock.
[on camera] Henry James, the famous American novelist, said, "I'm haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world." That was Henry James. And then there's Dickens, who seems to like the fact that the life of Shakespeare "is a fine mystery, and I tremble every day lest something should turn up."
And Shaw, who although not here, simply says, "It would be positively a relief to dig up Shakespeare and throw stones at him." That was George Bernard Shaw.
BILL BROWNING, Head of English, King's School, Canterbury: Actually, I don't find the list that impressive. I mean, as soon as you have a god- as Jonathan Bate says, as soon as you have a god, you have apostates. And it's a game that people play. Not only has there never been as great an author as Shakespeare, there will never be as great an author as Shakespeare because the cultural conditions will not recur. Therefore, we have this enormously famous figure who is the first person everybody goes for.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE, Author of "The Genius of Shakespeare": It's bad blood there. I mean, I'm interested in these people. It seems to me the people who think that Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare are either American snobs, who tend to go for the Earl of Oxford, or great British eccentrics.
MICHAEL RUBBO: At the top of a block of flats in London lives a man who's tried to make sense of all the attacks on Shakespeare. He's John Michell. He's written an excellent overview book, and in the process, built up an amazing library.
JOHN MICHELL, Author of "Who Wrote Shakespeare?": It's remarkable how over the years, hundreds of books have been written on this authorship question. who actually wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare., particularly the Baconians. They started this business, first of all, the followers of Sir Francis Bacon. And all this middle shelf, they're all about the authorship of Bacon. The first book, I think it was 1856, was by an American lady, Delia Bacon.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] No relation to Francis Bacon?
JOHN MICHELL: No. She was teased about that, but she always denied she was- well, perhaps she thought she was related to Francis Bacon, but she's- actually, she was an American Puritan lady who came to England, tried to open Shakespeare's tomb and then went a bit strange in the head. And her brother had to come from America and take her back.
Up here is the- I suppose, the second most popular candidate, who is the Earl of Oxford. Edward De Vere got a great deal of support and a great many books written about him. Sigmund Freud joined in the debate. He was an Oxfordian. He believed the Earl of Oxford fitted the character of Shakespeare, as he psychologically characterized him.
But then, the people who believe in Shakespeare, they're believers, too, because of all the candidates, possibly Shakespeare, the man from Stratford, is the weakest. We don't even know if he could read or write.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Quite a mystery.
JOHN MICHELL: It's a great mystery. It's a delightful mystery, too, because it takes you into very beautiful territory, the 16th century mind and so on, and 17th century.
MICHAEL RUBBO: What about Marlowe? Is he a candidate who appeals?
JOHN MICHELL: Marlowe has his supporters, and there's quite a number of books on him. And he's the only one, really, among the candidates who was a professional playwright. Yes, this is the key book in the case for- in the case for Christopher Marlowe, Hoffman's The Man Who Was Shakespeare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Calvin Hoffman?
JOHN MICHELL: Yes. He was the man who opened the Walsingham tomb in Chislehurst Church.
Certainly, the most amusing book in this whole subject is Mark Twain's Is Shakespeare Dead? And Mark Twain got into the subject because when he was working on the Mississippi riverboat, Twain's colleague, the pilot, was very much against it. So Mark Twain took up the other case to give him an argument. And he said the more he- the more he weighed into the Bacon case, the more he was convinced by it. "And now," he said, at the end, "I'd give up my life for it."
Oh, people have become really obsessed, really fascinated and caught up by this subject, and indeed, given lives to the study of it.
BILL BROWNING, Head of English, King's School, Canterbury: I see- I don't see that the issue of authorship- I mean, the issue of authorship, seems to me, is a substitute for people- a substitute activity for people, rather than looking at the plays. It doesn't- it doesn't help us.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But the authorship debate has helped Mark Rylance, Shakespearean actor, and artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Amazingly, Mark thinks the real author might be Francis Bacon.
MARK RYLANCE, Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe: No, I think it's- I really think it's the right- the only rational response at the moment is to say that it has to be an open question, at least. It really has to be an open question, on the evidence.
MICHAEL RUBBO: How did this come about? Well, studying Hamlet in order to play the part, Mark found great learning in the play but nothing in the life of Shakespeare to show from whence came this learning.
MARK RYLANCE: So I came to it, actually, by finding something very helpful in the widening of my view of the learning that this man had. And at first, I didn't think much of the authorship stuff. I thought, well they can talk a bit about that, but- and then one morning I woke up, and I- and I thought, "Oh, my mind is changing. I'm not quite sure anymore who did this." And that was an amazing moment for me, when I came to not being quite sure.
How did you- why are you making this film? Why are you interested in this?
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Much simpler. I just read Calvin Hoffman's book, and I was shocked, profoundly shocked.
[voice-over] Shocked enough to want to know more about this Calvin Hoffman. Not easy. But I did find traces of him at this little church in Kent. Calvin, the novelist, the poet, the drama critic and the amateur historian, was on the rampage. It was 1984 and he had finally, with tremendous difficulty, got permission - a faculty, they call it - to open a tomb in this church - not that of Shakespeare, that will never happen, and besides, he's not here - but of Sir Thomas Walsingham, young cousin of Sir Francis Walsingham, the spymaster. Tom was friend and patron to Christopher Marlowe.
In the tomb, Calvin expected to find a box of papers, playscripts that would knock Shakespeare off his pedestal. And this is Colin Saxby. He was there the day that Calvin's team went through the church floor.
COLIN SAXBY: Below ground was pretty unpleasant, actually. So we had these enormous lead coffins, huge weight, you can imagine it, with rotting remains. They were in liquid form, actually.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] But now, how, after 400 years, could anything be in liquid form, a body? That makes no sense. It would be dry, surely, dry as dust.
COLIN SAXBY: I don't know. There was- there was quite a lot of liquid around. It was very unpleasant. And the smell.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But now, Calvin talks about looking for a box. Did he mention that at all?
COLIN SAXBY: He did mention a box, yes.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And there was definitely no box?
COLIN SAXBY: No. Nothing was found at all. Just coffins. He was very disappointed, naturally, yeah, that it had all come to naught.
CALVIN HOFFMAN: [BBC 1984] And I am not disillusioned at all. My theory holds as solid and firm as ever. This operation was merely one clue. Others remain.
MICHAEL RUBBO: This is Canterbury, the birthplace of Christopher Marlowe. John Hunt sells books under the shadow of the cathedral. He would love Hoffman's theory to be true.
JOHN HUNT, Canterbury Bookseller: A cutting from The Guardian of the 11th of July, my birthday, 1983. I think most interesting. "Calvin Hoffman, probably the most indefatigable friend the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe ever had, will travel to Italy next week in what he hopes will be the conclusive phase of his 30-year campaign to prove that Marlowe wrote the works of Shakespeare."
MICHAEL RUBBO: This is a seriously divided family. John's wife, Sue, has heard it all one time too often.
JOHN HUNT: His idea was that Marlowe survived the alleged murder, lived in Europe, maybe in France or Italy, carried on writing plays, which he would send back to Walsingham.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] His patron.
JOHN HUNT: His patron.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Calvin suspected that Walsingham was the middleman, receiving scripts from overseas, having them copied into another hand and then delivering them to a front man in the theater world. This was a secret that Walsingham had literally taken to the grave.
JOHN HUNT: So he got a faculty to open the Walsingham tomb, expecting to find plays written in Marlowe's handwriting in the tomb.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Thus proving-
JOHN HUNT: Thus proving incontrovertibly that Marlowe wrote Shakespeare.
SUE HUNT: Marlowe's plays don't make you blart.
MICHAEL RUBBO: They don't make you what?
SUE HUNT: Cry.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Oh, right.
SUE HUNT: I mean, you don't burst into tears in Marlowe's plays. You do burst into tears in Shakespeare's plays.
JOHN HUNT: My wife is sucking her cheeks in now. She's- I think she's a Stratfordian, you see, you know. I'm pointing out-
SUE HUNT: Well, Shakespeare's a god. I'm sorry, whoever he was, whether it was Marlowe or Shakespeare.
What it is, Mike, is that the English take in Shakespeare with their mother's milk. We love him.
JOHN HUNT: Well, some years ago Calvin Hoffman- now, when he died about 10 years ago, he left all of his wealth to the King's School in Canterbury, Marlowe's old school. And if anybody can prove that the poems and plays that are commonly attributed to Shakespeare were written by Marlowe, then they get half of the capital.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And how much is that?
JOHN HUNT: I would hazard a guess that it's somewhere between half a million and three quarters of a million pounds.
MICHAEL RUBBO: My God! Really?
JOHN HUNT: So this is the biggest literary prize in the world. I mean, it's like Captain Kidd's treasure.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] In Canterbury, I find a Marlowe Theatre, but very little recognition of Marlowe.
[on camera] Can I ask you if you've ever heard of Christopher Marlowe?
1st CANTERBURY MAN: I haven't, no.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Thank you.
2nd CANTERBURY MAN: No.
3rd CANTERBURY MAN: No, I haven't.
MICHAEL RUBBO: OK.
4th CANTERBURY MAN: Sorry?
MICHAEL RUBBO: Have you ever heard of a guy called Christopher Marlowe?
5th CANTERBURY MAN: No, I'm sorry.
6th CANTERBURY MAN: He was a playwright.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Very good. You're one of the few who know.
7th CANTERBURY MAN: He was killed here, wasn't he? He was murdered here.
MICHAEL RUBBO: No, not here.
7th CANTERBURY MAN: No?
MICHAEL RUBBO: At a place called Deptford, near London.
7th CANTERBURY MAN: Was he? OK. Yeah.
[clip from "Shakespeare in Love"]
1st ACTOR: Will! Mr. Henslowe! Gentlemen, all! A black day for us all. There is news from a tavern in Deptford. Marlowe is dead. Stabbed. Stabbed to death in a tavern at Deptford.
2nd ACTOR: He was the first man among us. A great light has gone out.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] No great light went out that day, says Hoffman. There was no death at Deptford, just a very clever plan for Marlowe to fake his own death and escape the notorious Star Chamber, escape into exile, perhaps to Mantua.
["Romeo and Juliet," Act II Scene III]
ACTOR: [as Friar Laurence]
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua;
Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time
To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends
MICHAEL RUBBO: Or perhaps to Verona - Two Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet - or perhaps to Venice- The Merchant of Venice and Othello - all puzzles as to why the writer, whoever he was, set so many of his plays in northern Italy.
[www.pbs.org: More on Hoffman's theory]
Calvin died in the late '80s, and his books are long out of print. But his disciples keep on going around the world. They're seen as a bunch of scalawag crackpots, I guess, but I'm just fascinated.
[on camera] This is Peter! Hello!
PETER FAREY, Management Consultant: Hello, Mike. How're you doing?
MICHAEL RUBBO: I'm good.
PETER FAREY: Well, it's a great story. I mean, to be honest, that was, I think probably more than anything, what appealed to me when I read the Hoffman book-
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yeah.
PETER FAREY: -was what a great story it was.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Isn't it? Yes.
PETER FAREY: I assumed that, you know, once you get into- once you get into, you know, finding the facts about it, that it would turn out to be a load of rubbish. But that was 30 years ago.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And it wasn't true?
PETER FAREY: I still haven't been able to find anything wrong with it.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] And then there's John Baker. He devotes a very big chunk of his life to Marlowe, just south of Seattle.
JOHN BAKER, Centralia, USA: Well, the secret is out. You know why I'm not a singer now, Mike. If I could carry a tune in a wheelbarrow I would be lucky. But-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Does it matter who wrote the plays?
JOHN BAKER: Oh yes, it does. You know, we see these plays- well, you've probably seen- the audience has certainly seen all of these plays. But do you realize that they're set in Italy? How many plays are set in Italy? Do you realize that? Or do you realize they're about exiles? Exiles in Italy, exiles who want to come home.
Look at the India of Two Gentlemen of Verona. The exiles want to come home. They beg to be brought back to home. So do you realize that they're about false identity? Do you realize they're about people who are resurrected from the grave? Several times, repeated themes in the plays, people resurrected from the dead, come back and become great people again. So do you-
MICHAEL RUBBO: That's Marlowe's story again and again.
JOHN BAKER: It's Marlowe's story again and again and again and again. If you think about this, and if you really think about how- what these plays mean, what they meant at the time, and you realize they were written by an intellectual exile, an expatriate- bang! Everything makes sense again.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] And finally, in London, there's Dolly Walker Wraight, the grande dame of the Marlovians.
JOHN HUNT: That's Dolly over there. She's the power behind the Marlowe Society, and has been for 30 years. Her theories are interesting.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] What theory?
[voice-over] But Dolly is tired and ill. She's almost 80. Her last book has been hard going, and now there's dissension in the ranks.
[Marlowe Society meeting]
GEORGE METCALFE, President of the Marlowe Society: Whether or not you do or do not believe that Marlowe is Shakespeare is- is fine. You are absolutely allowed to believe whether Marlowe is Shakespeare or not Shakespeare. Many people believe that there is overwhelming evidence that that is the case. Others do not.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: [on the phone] Dolly Walker Wraight of the Marlowe Society here. Hello, is that Mrs. Kinnell? Hello. We want to come to Corpus Christi College this morning to film the- and see, of course, the portrait, but we haven't made arrangements-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] There are a 154 Shakespearean sonnets. If you rearrange them, you find that the themes of exile and loss come through sonnet after sonnet. This fits nothing that we know in the life of Shakespeare, and yet fits very well that of a man - Marlowe, perhaps - forced into exile. This is the main theme of Dolly's book.
[on camera] Can I- what-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: I tried to persuade Calvin that this was his only very valid point, that he should, you know, use this when he's giving his talks, and so on. And then he said, "Well, Dolly"- that was how he called me. "Dolly, why don't you do it? You know so much." So I said, "Well, if I did it, Calvin, I would do it on the sonnets." "That's all right. You do it." So I did. And I had two actors to recite the sonnets while I gave the talk. And it went down very, very well.
[reciting Sonnet 50]
How heavy do I journey on the way
When what I seek, my weary travels end,
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend!
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider loved not speed, being made from thee:
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Beautiful.
[voice-over] Calvin did agree that there were clues in the sonnets, but I discovered that he was much more excited by another discovery that he made: parallelisms.
CALVIN HOFFMAN: I will give you an example. In the play- in the play of Marlowe called Tamburlaine, when he, the emperor, beholds his wife, Zenocrate, dead, he utters these words: "Eyes look your last, arms take your last embrace." Boy, I thought, well, that comes from Romeo and Juliet, the exact words.
Then another example. In The Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe, a character utters, "I count religion but a childish toy and hold there is no sin but ignorance." Why, that- that's immediately from Twelfth Night. And so on and so on.
I extracted these so called parallelisms between the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare, and the number grew to- to an astonishing number, hundreds upon hundreds.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Some of Calvin's parallelisms are pretty far-fetched, but he does have 30 pages of them. So I got two actors to help me do some testing. One will read Shakespeare and the other Marlowe, and we'll see if they do sound the same. That is when they decide who's who.
I count religion but a childish toy
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
I say there is no darkness but ignorance.
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?
-she is a pearl,
Whose price hath launchd above a thousand ships-
Holla, ye pampered jades of Asia. What, can ye draw but twenty miles a day?
And hollow pampered jades of Asia,
Which cannot go but thirty miles a day-
Inhuman creatures, nursed with tiger's milk.
O tiger's heart wrapp'd in a woman's hide!
But stay! what star shines yonder in the east?
The lodestar of my life, if Abigail!
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?
Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: I mean, there's all sorts of reasons why this is a completely barmy theory. At the same time, it's- there's- like all barmy theories, it's built on a seed of truth. What Hoffman noticed is that there are lots of phrases and ideas in Shakespeare's plays that are derived from Marlowe.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Parallelisms.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Parallelisms. Exactly. And Hoffman, in order to account for that, came up with a kind of genius idea that Marlowe really was Shakespeare. But I think we now- because we have a slightly less reverential attitude to Shakespeare's creativity, we see that Shakespeare was snapping up lines and ideas from all sorts of different sources. And it's not remotely surprising that he should have borrowed a lot - stolen, indeed - from the greatest dramatist of his youth.
[www.pbs.org: Read and interview with Bate]
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But what about if it wasn't borrowing and stealing but collaboration? And what if Shakespeare was the junior partner in that collaboration? And what, then, if Marlowe didn't die at Deptford?
[clip from "Shakespeare in Love"]
1st ACTOR: [as Shakespeare] Give my friend a beaker of your best brandy. Kit.
2nd ACTOR: [as Marlowe] How goes it, Will?
"SHAKESPEARE": Wonderful, wonderful.
2nd ACTOR: Burbidge says you have a play.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Remember this scene from Shakespeare In Love ? Fiction, certainly, but an interesting proposal. Here we meet a shadowy Marlowe, who seems to be much respected by Shakespeare.
"SHAKESPEARE": I love your early work.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Marlowe is helping the bard with his plotline for Romeo and Juliet.
"MARLOWE": Romeo. Romeo is Italian, always in and out of love.
"SHAKESPEARE": Yes, that's good. It- clearly means-
"SHAKESPEARE": Do you think?
"MARLOWE": The daughter of his enemy.
"SHAKESPEARE": The daughter of his enemy.
MICHAEL RUBBO: This comes from Jonathan Bate's theory that they were friendly rivals.
"MARLOWE": Or something. His name is Mercutio.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Yeah, I see them as sort of twins, in a way. They were both born in 1564, very similar family backgrounds, sort of lower middle class, small town, father upwardly mobile tradesmen. But they go in different directions because Marlowe gets to Cambridge and Shakespeare doesn't. So immediately, Marlowe's ahead of the game, and he becomes one of this group called the University Wits, who are writing this very clever, sophisticated drama, taking the London theater world by storm.
So when Shakespeare comes to town, he's very much the poor man, the country bumpkin. So he's got to start competing. He's got to steal their thunder. And in the first few years of his career-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Of the Wits?
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Of the Wits, yeah. So in the first few years of his career, he's very much under the shadow of Marlowe. His plays imitate Marlowe's, but they're just simply not as good. So for Shakespeare, Marlowe's death actually turns out to be his big break. It's the chance to take up the mantle for himself.
Prof. ANDY GURR, Director of Research, Shakespeare's Globe: Marlowe is much the more conspicuous as an innovator. He was really radical. Every single play he wrote was utterly different from every other play. I mean, the first tragedy he produced, the hero didn't die. That is in itself a radical innovation.
Shakespeare was much more slow-moving, in terms of his innovation, though in fact, of course, he went, in the end, a lot further because Marlowe got cut off early on, and Shakespeare kept on going. And of course, homosexuality, as in Marlowe's case, you know, "They that love not tobacco and boys are fools," as he's supposed to have said, that would have made him a rebel from the start. Shakespeare got married at 18, so he clearly was much more conformist in those respects. And there are those fundamental differences.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Now I'm in Stratford-upon-Avon, the very home of the bard. Tourists photograph themselves in front of the birthplace, while next door, Stanley Wells, one of England's greatest scholars, gives the final accolade for Marlowe.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS, Chairman, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: If Shakespeare had died at the age that Marlowe died, I think we should now regard Marlowe as the greater dramatist. The achievement of Marlowe, by 1593- they were both born in the same year. The achievement by the time of his death of Marlowe, was greater, I think, than that of Shakespeare by that age. I mean, Marlowe has a string of great plays - Faustus, Edward II, two parts of Tamburlaine, Jew of Malta, a marvelous poem, that Hero and Leander. A lot of good translations, as well. He was a very rapid developer- burnt himself out, one might say.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] So what have you found, Anne?
1st RESEARCHER: Well, I've found four children-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] I'm now curious enough about Marlowe to delve into his past, the little we know of it.
[on camera] How many children were there?
2nd RESEARCHER: I believe there were nine children altogether. There were five girls and two boys.
1st RESEARCHER: His sister, Mary, was older than he was. There's Mary. And Christopher.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Show me Christopher? OK. And Marlowe? Where's the name- oh, yes, Marlowe. Right.
[voice-over] It's the 1560s, and Canterbury is a bustling cathedral town on the great road to London.
1st RESEARCHER: He lived more or less on this corner.
MICHAEL RUBBO: We catch just glimpses of the boy Marlowe as he grows. Perhaps he waits to see his queen when she comes to visit the archbishop. This is certainly the cathedral as he knew it. And next door the great school, King's, where he goes on his scholarship.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Oh, yes. This is lovely, isn't it? Because it's all quiet. It's all quiet. Well, Christopher Marlowe would have come to school every morning through the cloisters here and gone through that archway there to the King's School in his long gown, which the scholars wore. And they were only allowed to speak Latin when they were at play, even. And he would be scampering through here. But also, I think he'd be very aware of the historical significance of his surroundings.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Then to Cambridge, where he was supposed to study for the church, but something changed his plans.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: This is Corpus Christi College, where Marlowe arrived in 1581, in the Michaelmas term, to take up his scholarship, which was for six-and-a-half years. A long time. And he was going to study and get his BA, hopefully, at the end of that, his MA, and become a really well educated young man.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Marlowe's very busy at university. He translates Latin poets, he writes his great play, Tamburlaine, and he's recruited to the new secret service, to spy on his queen's Catholic enemies.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: He has got a very unusual gesture there, the folded arms, which show that, "I am one who keeps secrets." He had joined the secret service. This was his celebration of becoming a servant of the queen in the secret service, which was the greatest secret service in the Elizabethan time. And he did his work to great satisfaction because the Privy Council have written this letter, giving him the accolade of having served his country.
MICHAEL RUBBO: In fact, Marlowe was in some trouble. The university didn't want to graduate him because he'd missed some school and they suspected that he'd been off in France as a Catholic traitor. That is, until they got a stern letter from the Privy Council saying, "Give him his degree."
CHARLES NICHOLL, Author of "The Reckoning": There are the names of the privy councilors actually present at the meeting, among which were noted as the Lord Archbishop Whitgift, the Lord Chancellor.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] So all of these important people are signing a letter on the behalf of humble young Christopher.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Yes, exactly. They are.
MICHAEL RUBBO: That's amazing, isn't it?
CHARLES NICHOLL: Yeah. Exactly. They are.
MICHAEL RUBBO: So they really-
CHARLES NICHOLL: [reading] "Whereby he had done Her Majesty good service, and deserved to be rewarded for his faithful dealing."
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] This is Vlissingen, in Holland, another place where Marlowe, the secret agent, got into trouble. He was arrested here for counterfeiting coin and could have been executed.
PETER FAREY: But that's what was reported. Whether he was actually doing that or not, we don't know. It's usually assumed that he was on some sort of government business. And that's something to do with the funding of the Catholics and finding out how they were being funded, and so forth. But he got reported, was sent back as a prisoner to England, and-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] It was a capital offense.
PETER FAREY: That's right. Petty treason. Sent back, and- to Lord Burleigh. And we don't know exactly what happened to him, but we know that within a few months, a very few months, he was free.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But then his luck ran out, or so we are told. There was the knife fight, the stabbing, and then a quick burial in St. Nicholas churchyard, here in Deptford. This is the yard, the graves unmarked. I have no idea where to look. Small boys throw stones at me.
BOY: What are you looking at?
MICHAEL RUBBO: But then the vicar appears, and he thinks he knows where Marlowe lies, in the plague pit.
VICAR: -put him in the plague pit.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But the story of this death is so full of contradictions that we can argue that he's not here at all.
[on camera] Why- why does this- this famous playwright, this poet, get buried in an unmarked grave?
JOHN HUNT: Well, this is just another of the inconsistencies.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I mean, isn't that bizarre?
JOHN HUNT: Yeah, absolutely bizarre. He's an eminent playwright. He's the darling of the London stage. His Tamburlaine is repeated and repeated.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But not, we must admit, anymore. Compared to Shakespeare, Marlowe is rarely performed today. Is he just out of fashion, or are the plays simply not as good?
CALLUM COATES, Shakespearean Actor: What we're doing here is Act III Scene I, II and III from Doctor Faustus.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I search everywhere for Marlowe in performance.
CALLUM COATES: -where he has sold his soul to the devil, and he and Mephistophilis have been flying around-
MICHAEL RUBBO: And finding none, have to settle for an excerpt being put on for the Marlowe Society.
["Doctor Faustus," Act III Scene I]
1st ACTOR: [as Mephistophilis]
Now by the kingdoms of infernal rule,
Of Styx, of Acheron-
MICHAEL RUBBO: Faustus is a tragic character.
2nd ACTOR: [as Faustus]
That I do long to see the monuments
And situation of bright-splendent Rome.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But I listen in vain for psychological depth of character, in vain for power of plot.
1st ACTOR: [as Mephistophilis]
-The which, in state and high solemnity.
This day, is held through Rome and Italy,
In honor of the Pope's triumphant victory.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Though there is real humor.
2nd ACTOR: [as Faustus] Thou pleasest me.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: And of course, it's well known that in Doctor Faustus, the comic scenes were contributed by- by others.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Oh, really? How do we know that?
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Well, we know it from Henslowe's diary, that he recorded payments made to- to other dramatists, Mr. Rowley and Mr. Baird, for contributing extra scenes to Doctor Faustus. This, incidentally, is another very good reason why Marlowe couldn't have written the works of Shakespeare, that, you know, he wasn't able to write good comedy. He wasn't able to write for women, and he wasn't able to write comedy. Shakespeare does those things consummately.
MICHAEL RUBBO: So Dolly, I mean, it just doesn't sound like the same author. I mean, the early- the plays of Marlowe, and then these masterpieces that we acknowledge of Shakespeare, of Lear, and Hamlet and so on- I mean, surely this is a different person?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: You can compare in Shakespeare's catalogue, King Lear with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. If you saw those plays or read them before anybody had said who they were by, you would not dream that they were by the same person, would you? Think of Picasso. Think of his blue period and what he painted before. You would not think it was the same painter, would you?
ACTOR: I mean, if you look at any playwright, their early works are different to their later works. The early works of Chekhov are different to the last works of Chekhov, and so on. I mean, the early works of Shakespeare are different to the late works of Shakespeare. So why- why do people say their style is too radically different? When if you look at it very carefully, you find that there- there is a similarity there, and there is humor in Marlowe's works. A lot of people dismiss him as having no humor. That's just bad directors and bad actors not finding it. It's there.
[www.pbs.org: More on Marlowe as a playwright]
PETER FAREY: In Marlowe's case, if he did, in fact, survive, took on a new identity, he must have had a very life-changing experience.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Gone to Italy.
PETER FAREY: Gone to Italy and possibly having the chance to- to experience the European Renaissance firsthand. And he was able to see the Commedia Dell'arte, Commedia [inaudible], the various styles in which plays were done over there, to read the best of European literature, to learn the languages and learn new ways of thinking, new ways of doing. That must have a tremendous effect on anyone, provided they were as brilliant as Marlowe clearly was already.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] This man suddenly disappears, and his writing stops. But seemingly within days, this man just as suddenly appears. The name Shakespeare is there for the first time on a poem he calls the first heir of his invention, "Venus and Adonis."
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Reasons why Marlowe couldn't have written the works of Shakespeare. One is that- a major plank in the Hoffman argument is that Shakespeare's name only- Shakespeare's name as a writer only emerges in public after Marlowe's death. The argument is that "Venus and Adonis," with the name Shakespeare on the title page, is published soon after. And so that's how the alias emerges. But the chronology simply doesn't work there because "Venus and Adonis" was already written and entered in the stationer's register as being by Shakespeare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Anonymously. That, in fact, it was entered anonymously. It only had the name put on it after Marlowe's death.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: You're sure about that?
MICHAEL RUBBO: Sure. Sure. Absolutely sure. That's a major plank of the other side's argument.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: And this poem appeared in print then 12 or 13 days - we don't know exactly - after the Deptford event, when he disappeared under the cloak of death. And it is obviously launching the name of a new poet, William Shakespeare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Case not proven? Well that is certainly true, but Marlowe is quite credible, isn't he. He could perhaps rise to the occasion if there was a problem with Shakespeare. So now we must find out if there really is a problem with William Shakespeare.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: This is a copy, a facsimile copy, of the First Folio, which was this huge, huge book - weighs a ton - of the first-ever assembly of all Shakespeare's plays- his comedies, histories and tragedies. It was published eventually in 1623, seven years after Marlowe's- after Shakespeare's death. Marlowe would have died before, of course.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Who has told us that the author is Shakespeare and not Marlowe or somebody else? This book, mainly, the First Folio, the collected works, published seven years after Shakespeare's death, 36 plays and a glowing introduction to the author by his friend, Ben Jonson.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Ben Jonson was very largely involved in helping to get this out.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] But now, this dedication is the most powerful piece of evidence for the- for the Shakespeare believers, isn't it?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Well, it is, in a way- [crosstalk]
MICHAEL RUBBO: It links Stratford. It links authorship-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: But that has been shown to be actually cryptic.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Cryptic perhaps, but Ben does praise Shakespeare to the skies, and he calls him, "the sweet swan of Avon." It seems almost churlish to doubt, and yet-
I start Dolly off on a whole list of puzzles, and none more puzzling about Shakespeare's famous will.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: -which is, of course, all cryptic-
MICHAEL RUBBO: It's a will that records no signs of cultural life at all- no paintings, no musical instruments, and above all, no books.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: And that, of course, is one of the most important things because it doesn't mention a single book or manuscript or play. None at all.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] How is it possible- is there any writer in the world who has died not leaving a single book or unfinished play?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Well, if their wills- if their wills are extant, I don't think so, no. Ben Jonson had a huge amount. Of course, his library was burnt because his house was on fire.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Right.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: But-
MICHAEL RUBBO: It's very curious, isn't it.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: It is. It's very curious.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Perhaps genius doesn't need books.
JOHN BAKER: Here's a list right here of the people in Shakespeare, right? And these are them, classical people, people that- he didn't make up these names. These are real people in classical literature. The only way you'll get knowledge about these people is to open up a book where they're in it because you can't meet them, you can't see them, you can't talk to them. They only live in a book.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: And what is even more curious is that in that time, when William Shakespeare died, in 1616, it was unheard of, absolutely unheard of for even a minor poet to pass away without all these encomia and accolades from his fellow poets-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera]<n> Everybody-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: -everyone. But when William Shakespeare died, nobody took the slightest bit of notice. When Edmund Spencer had died, the Earl of Essex paid for his funeral expenses. When the actor, Richard Burbidge, who had interpreted the Shakespeare plays for the Lord Chamberlain's men, died, the Earl of Pembroke went into mourning for this- just this actor because he so missed him, you know?
MICHAEL RUBBO: And what about Shakespeare's patron? Did he take any notice?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Not a bit. He didn't bat an eyelid.
MICHAEL RUBBO: What? How's that possible?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: It's incredible.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] This is Shakespeare's forgetful patron. But we can't be too hard on him because it seems that virtually everybody of note forgot Shakespeare, alive or dead.
[on camera] You say Jonson was his friend, but Jonson took no notice of him when he died. Jonson himself got accolades to the skies and books published full of his eulogies, and Shakespeare gets nothing. And that's- that's a puzzle.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: But of course, it's- it's a puzzle that was caused by the other puzzle, which was that of his retirement. The writers who die and immediately elegies come rolling off the presses, tend to be writers who die in mid-career. Because Shakespeare completed his career, withdrew from the stage, handed his job over to John Fletcher, his successor, returned quietly to Stratford, he created the conditions where there wasn't actually much interest at the time that he- at the time that he died. He wasn't hot news. He died in Stratford. He didn't die in London, and news tended not to travel at that time. There was no news media.
[www.pbs.org: More puzzles surrounding Shakespeare]
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] And in the grounds of the Stratford Church, just as dawn is breaking, in a few hours, the tourists will arrive, pilgrims to the holiest of graves, to the man of the millennium, ignored no more. Schoolgirls will come to lay flowers at his grave and sigh for the Juliet that they yearn to be.
ROMEO: But soft, what light from yonder window breaks?
It is my lady; O! it is my love-
MICHAEL RUBBO: I see the bust staring stiffly, puffily ahead, so high on the wall that it's hard to get a clear look at it.
JULIET: Good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
MICHAEL RUBBO: It certainly doesn't look like the face of a sensitive man, does it? Mark Twain called it "the bladder." Thank goodness for the quill.
MAN IN CHURCH: Well, that is not the original one. The original was drawn by a chap called Dugdale, who went 'round all the local churches doing drawings of the architecture, and there are certain very important differences between what you see here and what was here originally, after Shakespeare's death. His hands in the original memorial rested on a sack, which implied that he was a dealer in bagged goods.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Dugdale Monument has recently- the whole issue has been laid to rest. The statue wasn't doctored in the mid-18th century, as the anti-Stratfordians suppose. It was painted, but it wasn't doctored.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I thought I was the only skeptic in town, but I meet a country couple who are well ahead of me in doubt.
FRIEDA BARKER: As I was walking down to the church today- whenever I walk down that path, I always think of the very first time I went-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] You were a schoolgirl, weren't you?
FRIEDA BARKER: Yes, I was a schoolgirl, about 16 at the time. And we looked at the register showing his birth and his death. And as we walked back up, I said to this other girl, "I wonder why it didn't say, William Shakespeare, playwright." It said, "William Shakespeare, gent."
MICHAEL RUBBO: And that was the first doubt?
FRIEDA BARKER: And that was my very first doubt. I thought, well, why is he only a gent?
MICHAEL RUBBO: That leads me- what do you think, if you had to list the main sort of lack or doubts in the Shakespearean-
[voice-over] Peter and Frieda have the case against William down pat.
PETER BARKER: Well, the most important, of course, is education. It is painfully obvious that whoever wrote the Shakespeare plays was very well educated, had a very broad experience of life.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And he may have got that at the school. Couldn't he have got that at the school?
FRIEDA BARKER: There is no proof, documentary proof, that William Shakespeare attended the school.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] No, but if he did go to the school-
FRIEDA BARKER: Even the most ardent of the Shakespeareans dare not say that he did. The most they will ever say is that he almost certainly attended the grammar school.
PETER BARKER: When an actor came to Stratford many years later and tried to do research to find out more about Shakespeare, no one in Stratford seemed to know anything about him.
FRIEDA BARKER: They knew something about him as a businessman, apparently, and we do know from the Stratford records that he lent money to people. He was a money lender in his later life. We also know that he was quite wealthy because he bought 107 acres of land on the outskirts of Stratford, where the Welcome Hotel and Golf Course now is.
PETER BARKER: There are records of his- his dealings in tithes and malt and grain, and it would appear that once he had obtained some capital, he certainly knew how to use it to accumulate more capital.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: I once tried to make an estimate of Shakespeare's income, and it came to something like 200 pounds a year, which is 10 times the amount of the Stratford vicar and the Stratford schoolmaster in his early years. His estate would have been valued at at least a million pounds today, when he died. I mean, New Place was a big house with five gables and a courtyard and- I can't say that too often, to impress how big his Stratford house was.
And it's a great pity it hasn't survived. But if you go to the Shakespeare Hotel and look at the left- the right-hand part of the Shakespeare Hotel, you'll find five gables there. Now, Shakespeare's house had five gables, and everybody says it was the second biggest house in Stratford.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I notice that it's just one building removed from the school, that famous school where he reputedly got his excellent education.
This is the schoolroom much as it must have been when he studied here. I try to imagine this country boy, son of an illiterate glove maker, plunging into the classics, the legends and the languages, setting himself up to have a vocabulary of 28,000 words, three times that of Milton. What a prodigy he must have been, what an amazement to his teachers.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: Well, I think Shakespeare had a very good education.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] We don't know. He may have.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: Well, I think the plays and poems show that he did.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Oh. Yeah, we don't quite know how he got it.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: Well-
MICHAEL RUBBO: But then I'm rather surprised why nobody remembered him. Usually prodigies are talked about. A master remembers a brilliant student. That always seems to happen with your- with your Mozarts and your Beethovens, and so on. People get remembered.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: Well, as I said, I think Shakespeare was a late- a relatively late developer, compared with Marlowe, for example.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Another line of thought relating to this puzzling school. Being right next door in his retirement, he hears the kids every day and sees them, and yet in his will when he dies, he leaves nothing to the school, while his colleague Edward Alleyn, the actor, founded a whole college.
SUE HUNT: Oh, I hate this. I hate you telling me this! La, la, la! I don't know this! No!
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] It was right next to his house. Every day-
SUE HUNT: Oh, no! No!
MICHAEL RUBBO: -in his retirement, he would have seen kids go into that school that gave him his- his wonderful start.
JOHN HUNT: That's unless he didn't go there.
MICHAEL RUBBO: You see what I mean? It isn't- and the fact he didn't educate his family. You'll want to stop your ears about that too, won't you!
SUE HUNT: No, but how do you know he didn't do it all very quietly? You know, anonymously.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Because those sort of things get recorded.
Prof. STANLEY WELLS: Yeah, well it's true there is no- there are no conspicuous charitable bequests in his will. I don't know.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I get the impression you don't like him that much, actually. Is that true?
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: I don't- I don't think he was lovable. I don't think he was lovable.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Right.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Because, I mean, it seems that he gave very little back to his family, in terms of what he could have given. I mean, you would have expect of him, a person who in his place seemed so generous and so humanistic, to have educated his daughters and brought culture to his family, but he doesn't seem to have done that.
["The Taming of the Shrew," Act II Scene I]
ACTOR: [as Tranio] And, toward the education of your daughters, I here bestow a simple instrument, and this small packet of Greek and Latin books-
MICHAEL RUBBO: The plays celebrate the education of women. These books, these tutors, are for daughters. Yet it seems that Shakespeare's own daughters were illiterate. For John Baker, this is the final insult.
JOHN BAKER: How could you get girls- how could you have girls mature in your household while you were writing Romeo and Juliet and Portia's lines and them not to learn these parts, not to learn to read and write and take the lines of Juliet and Portia and these wonderful women? Miranda is educated at her father's elbow.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] You mean, the girls would have played the parts-
JOHN BAKER: They would have played the parts!
MICHAEL RUBBO: -as he tried out-
JOHN BAKER: They would have begged to play the parts. He would have probably- and if they didn't beg, he would have said, "Honey, take this part." He would want to hear it. He would want to see it acted out. And this would have happened naturally in the household. It's an organic situation. We have good records, Mike, of literacy at that time, huge studies, 500-page-thick studies of literacy at that time. And it shows time after time, when the father could read and write, the daughters could read and write.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Forget the character questions. Here's another line of thought. Did Shakespeare have the time to write the plays? His life in the theater as an actor, manager and quasi-director must have been incredibly hectic.
Prof. ANDY GURR: Well, he would have spent the morning rehearsing new plays because they had this incredibly intense repertory of plays. They had to do a different play every day to keep people satisfied with- with new plays. They wouldn't have done the same play more than about three or four times in any one month, and that would be the most popular. And they were doing six plays a week, and each day would it would be a different play. So they had to do rehearsal all morning, performing all afternoon. And if he wrote his plays, he was doing that in the evenings under candle light in taverns or wherever it was he was having his evening meal.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] So he was a desperately busy man.
Prof. ANDY GURR: Very busy, no question.
["Hamlet," Act V Scene I]
ACTOR: [as Hamlet] Alas! poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Hamlet, in the full text, runs four hours. Now, why would this frantically busy man write a play that is twice as long as it needs to be, knowing it'll be cut?
ACTOR: [as Hamlet] Where be your gibes now?
Prof. ANDY GURR: He found it incredibly easy to write. I mean, he wrote with- as Jonson said, he wrote with such facility that it was better he had been stopped. He actually enjoyed writing, and he found it very easy to do.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But hold on. Writing wasn't easy at all. The pens were crude, the paper was rough, and the light was so bad that you just couldn't go on for long.
[on camera] And then, of course, light was not good. There was no electricity in those days.
Prof. ANDY GURR: No, he had to light by candlelight, yeah.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And candles were very expensive.
Prof. ANDY GURR: They were. That's true, yeah.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Good candles.
Prof. ANDY GURR: That's probably- that's probably why he sat in a tavern writing because the taverns were ordinaries. They always provided an evening meal. They also provided candles as part of the- part of what you bought, so-
MICHAEL RUBBO: Right.
Prof. ANDY GURR: That would have been, certainly for him- and he was a fairly skinflintish character, Shakespeare, unlike Marlowe.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But can we really believe that these masterpieces were dashed off in taverns?
["Henry IV Part I"]
ACTOR: [as Falstaff] String me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter's hare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: More believable for me is that they were written by someone else in reflective circumstances and brought to the stage by the tavern man. The only samples of his hand that we have are half a dozen shaky signatures.
PETER FAREY: It doesn't look like, to me, the hand of a competent writer. Whether that's because he never could write or because of his age, his sickness, maybe, that might have caused this, can't say. But they're all-
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Of course, people's handwriting then had to be better than it is today because so much depended on it, didn't it. I mean, this man would have written thousands of pages of script.
PETER FAREY: And people needed to be able to read it.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yeah.
PETER FAREY: Mind you, the- I mean, the handwriting in those days was just as variable as it is now, probably even moreso.
MICHAEL RUBBO: So are there no pages of manuscript from Shakespeare at all?
JOHN HUNT: There are no pages of manuscripts. Nobody's found any.
MICHAEL RUBBO: In his hand. And what about letters? Did he write any letters to people? Did anybody write to him?
JOHN HUNT: There are no letters written by Shakespeare, but there is one letter, somebody writing to him, asking for money.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Was he- was he paid for plays? Do we have any records of-
JOHN HUNT: There's no records. You know, something like Henslowe's diary, for example, gives records of payments, but there's nothing like that for Shakespeare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: It's very fishy.
JOHN HUNT: Yeah.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: The matter that we do not appreciate and which confuses people so much is that they don't realize that this is the greatest cover-up job in history, and it was deliberate, and that's why it's taken us so long to discover.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But there's still the problem of Ben Jonson and his praise for Shakespeare, the writer.
[on camera] -because Ben is the weak- the Achilles heel of the anti-Shakespeare case, in a way, because-
JOHN BAKER: Yes, that's true.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Because he does seem to know Shakespeare.
JOHN BAKER: Yeah, and he certainly would have. He would have known the whole- there's no way that Ben Jonson, you know, if you think about this, wouldn't have known that the actor didn't write Shakespeare.
MICHAEL RUBBO: He had to know that.
JOHN BAKER: He had to know that.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And yet in his memoirs he never mentions that, and he talks about Shakespeare as a writer.
JOHN BAKER: He does. Indeed he does.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Isn't that the thing that saves Shakespeare?
JOHN HUNT: I don't think it saves Shakespeare. Ben Jonson was dependent on the support and the patronage of the Pembroke family. He received quite a bit of money from them. Ben Jonson will not come out and say Shakespeare was a fake. Ben Jonson was on the payroll of the William Herberts. They were- and Ben Jonson knew of this fakery. There's no question in my mind that Jonson knew of this fakery. How could he not know of it? They walked in the same circles.
MICHAEL RUBBO: So he was keeping the secret, you mean.
JOHN HUNT: He kept the secret.
SUE HUNT: I mean, the other problem I have is that because it was a very closed society - I mean, the aristocratic, Elizabethan society was quite small, and quite limited and everyone knew each other - I can't imagine- I kind of feel that if Marlowe was sending plays back, someone would have known.
JOHN HUNT: His silence was being bought for 50 pounds.
SUE HUNT: Whenever there's silence, people talk. Whenever silence is a premium, people talk.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Well, all we can say to that is that Shakespeare looks so plausible. He was a writer of some sort, and he put his mark on these works, so that, in fact, he claimed ownership of them by modifying them, or by- and he was perhaps the director of that.
SUE HUNT: Authorship wasn't- yes, that's true. Authorship wasn't the same-
MICHAEL RUBBO: By directing them, by bringing them to the stage, he, in fact, claimed them.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Well, that is a big assumption, Michael. That is just an assumption.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yes, sure.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: It's just a theory with no evidence at all.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Put yourself in his shoes. You're not going to-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Yes, but you don't have to bring in the idea and put the idea to the minds of a lot of innocent people who would never have thought of it before that William Shakespeare was really a bit of a writer.
MICHAEL RUBBO: All right. Well, just tell me, though, how it worked. OK, Shakespeare receives in the post, from Marlowe or from Walsingham, a new play, OK? What does he say?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: He presents the play, having received it-
MICHAEL RUBBO: To his partners.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: -to his partners as something which is valuable stock.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And they'd say, "When are you getting another one? We need another play."
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Oh, not necessarily.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And then they'd say, "Are we going to publish this one or not?" I mean, there would be lots of questions to ask.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: There weren't any. They weren't published.
MICHAEL RUBBO: They were later. I mean, if he's the owner of the plays-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Oh, for goodness sake. How many probables are you going to add?
["Henry IV Part I," Act II Scene IV]
1st ACTOR: [as Falstaff] You may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackerel!
MICHAEL RUBBO: So here is my theory for Dolly. Imagine that we hear two voices in the plays. One's the high voice, the kingly parts like Prince Hal here. This is Marlowe.
["Henry IV Part I," Act II Scene IV]
1st ACTOR: [as Falstaff] -art thou not horribly afeard? Thou being heir apparent-
MICHAEL RUBBO: The other voice, the lower voice, Falstaff and friends, That's Shakespeare. He's no educated writer, but he has the common touch, and Marlowe needs him.
["Henry IV Part I," Act II Scene IV]
2nd ACTOR: [as Prince] I lack some of thy instinct.
1st ACTOR: [as Falstaff] Well, thou wilt be horribly chid tomorrow when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
MICHAEL RUBBO: So they become writing partners, with Marlowe providing the learning and the great themes, and Shakespeare the heart and soul of Merry England.
Then Marlowe has to flee. Perhaps he comes back secretly, as Dolly believes. In any case, Shakespeare's always there, the plausible front man- ever richer, ever fatter, and no questions asked.
1st ACTOR: [as Falstaff] Weep not, sweet queen.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Actually, my theory is not that radical, because we know from Henslowe's diaries that you see here, that when he bought plays for the Rose Theatre, he more often paid teams of writers, rather than individuals.
[on camera] What is radical about what I'm saying is that I'm seeing Shakespeare - the country bumpkin, uneducated and then busy theater professional - as a junior partner to this hidden Christopher Marlowe, who's living in Italy and writing these masterpieces. It sort of works for me. That is, if Christopher Marlowe is not dead in 1593.
[www.pbs.org: More on Marlowe as a playwright]
In May of that year, we find Marlowe with his young patron, Tom Walsingham, at Walsingham's house in Kent. It probably looked like this. Here, Kit should have been safe enough. But Marlowe had another side to his life. He was a member of a secretive group of free thinkers who may have been called the School of Night. It was a group that the church and the Archbishop were determined to crush.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: There was a great wave of terrorism and persecution against the free thinkers, as Francis Yates has established. And a year before Christopher Marlowe was arrested, Giordano Bruno had been arrested. And he was the man who believed and preached that the universe was infinite. Well, my goodness, you couldn't have that. So they had him in prison and eventually burnt him at the stake 400 years ago, 1600.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Giordano Bruno stands in the rain in Rome 400 years after they burnt him at the stake for his ideas. I go to Scadbury, to where Tom Walsingham's grand house once stood. Here was Marlowe in late May, 1593, when a man on a horse came with a warrant from the terrible Star Chamber.
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: It was a Sunday - it was the 20th of May - and they couldn't take him to the court of Star Chamber, which was closed on Sunday, so they took him to the palace.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Marlowe is let out on bail while an investigator builds the case against him. This is Richard Baines, a man who hates Marlowe. I sidetrack to Italy to find Charles Nicholl, who, 400 years after Richard Baines, doesn't like Marlowe, either.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Marlowe, there's something always held back, something a little shifty, something a bit opportunist, something a bit dangerous about him. I'm drawn to him. I admire him. But whether I like him is another matter.
MICHAEL RUBBO: But Charles has written a best-seller on Marlowe's death, The Reckoning, and he kindly shares his copy of the Baines Report with me.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Essentially, this document is confirming government suspicions rather than creating them.
MICHAEL RUBBO: These are the heresies that Marlowe is supposed to have uttered in public, inciting people against religion.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Because this is Baines' report here.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yeah. This is Richard Baines' report.
MICHAEL RUBBO: In his own handwriting?
CHARLES NICHOLL: In his own handwriting. And there we have in black and white again, "that the first beginning of religion was only to keep men in awe."
MICHAEL RUBBO: Right.
CHARLES NICHOLL: A wonderful synopsis of some of Marlowe's plays, one might think- "that Christ was a bastard and his mother dishonest," "that all Protestants are hypocritical asses."
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] The Baines Report sounds like a joke, doesn't it. But for such opinions, they could make you wish for death in merry England.
["Hamlet," Act III Scene I]
ACTOR: [as Hamlet] To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream-
MICHAEL RUBBO: To dream, yes. To dream no doubt of the things that they can do to him in England of Elizabeth.
[clip from "Elizabeth"]
ACTOR: Tell me, what is God to you?
JOHN BAKER: This is really an inquisition, is what this is. If the English inquisition gets him, it's curtains.
MICHAEL RUBBO: What can they do to him?
JOHN BAKER: They can do the most heinous things, as they are now saying. Elizabethans believe if you had grotesque opinions, you should have a grotesque body. So they would rack and torture you. They would use the irons on you. They would break your bones. They would do excruciatingly horrible things. If they decided to hang you, they hung you for a few seconds - you weren't dead - and they disemboweled you alive. They took your belly out and they cut you-
MICHAEL RUBBO: Time is running out for Christopher. Richard Baines has finished his report. Marlowe gets together with three men in a meeting which must be related to his plight. It's the 30th of May, 1593.
[on camera] Let's get to that amazing day in Deptford, May 30th, 1593- late spring, early summer, I suppose. How do you- what do you think happened in that place?
CHARLES NICHOLL: Well, we know what happened up to a point.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yes, we do.
CHARLES NICHOLL: We know that four men met there at 10:00 o'clock in the morning and that these four men were Christopher Marlowe, Ingram Frizer or Freezer, Nicholas Skeres and Robert Pooley, or Poley. And we know that these four men were in quiet mood, to translate the inquest, and that they conversed privately, that they took lunch together, again privately.
MICHAEL RUBBO: They walked in the garden.
CHARLES NICHOLL: That they walked in the garden, that sweet May summer garden, the smells of the blossoms and the flowers perhaps overcoming the stench of the river and the sewage from the Deptford waterfront. And then, at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening, they returned to the same room that they had spent most of the day in and had supper and were alone together in that room. And that's where what we know suddenly runs out. There were four people eating supper in that room, and there were three people who walked out of it alive, a couple of hours later.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Give me a rundown on the guys who were with him.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Scoundrels. A trio of swindlers.
1st ACTOR: Good morning. I'm Robert Poley.
MICHAEL RUBBO: In fact, Poley is a government agent.
[on camera] And?
1st ACTOR: Agent.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Ingram Frizer is the servant of Marlowe's patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham.
2nd ACTOR: I am a gentleman.
MICHAEL RUBBO: And Nicholas Skeres works with Frizer.
3rd ACTOR: Well-
CHARLES NICHOLL: The mystery is why Marlowe was meeting up with them. The mystery is what exactly they all had in common that day that kept them talking for eight hours.
MICHAEL RUBBO: What sort of place was it, this house where they met? We have no idea, but we do know that it was near the Thames. Perhaps that was convenient for some aspects of the plan, if there was a plan.
JOHN HUNT: Absolutely. I mean, the meeting could have been anywhere, unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory that it was conveniently close to the river to ship away a Marlowe who was actually alive and well and it was somebody else's body that was thrown into the plague pit.
PETER FAREY: John Penry was executed the night before, 6:00 o'clock that evening, about four miles away from Deptford, so that the coroner of Marlowe's inquest was also responsible for getting- deciding what happened to a body that was four miles away the evening before.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Four actors helped me visualize how it was supposed to have happened. Marlowe is on a bed. The other three have their backs to him. Suddenly, Marlowe is angry and without warning, he seizes Frizer's dagger and cuts him on the head. Frizer disarms Marlowe and in self-defense, stabs him above the eye. Everything we know about that day comes from the report of William Danby, the Queen's coroner.
4th ACTOR: [reading] -that is, The Reckoning. "And the said Ingram then and there sitting in the room aforesaid with his back towards the bed where the said Christopher Marlowe was then lying."
MICHAEL RUBBO: We run the stabbing again, looking for what seems false in Danby's report. Here are just a few of the puzzles.
JOHN HUNT: Why didn't he use his own dagger? Why two cuts on the top of his head?
MICHAEL RUBBO: [on camera] Because that sort of blade is not meant for-
JOHN BAKER: No, it's a- it's a stabbing dagger. It's not a Bowie knife. So this leads you to suppose that they might have been self-inflicted by Frizer after the event.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] And then the most improbable thing of all.
JOHN BAKER: But why does he kill Marlowe? He's got two other men there that could be holding his arms down. They could disarm this guy. They could take care of him. But instead, they kill him, right? And then it's- you know, I mean, how would you go back to Francis Walsingham- I mean, sorry, Thomas Walsingham- and say, "Gee, Thomas, Sir Thomas, Lord Thomas, I've just killed your best friend. I've killed a great poet and in some kind of drunken fight in- in this house you sent us to protect him." Frizer would be in all kinds of trouble, and we know for a fact that Frizer wasn't.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Surely, what it- what it presupposes is that the three men there in the room were all in on the plot to save him.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Of course they were. They were all three employees of-
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: But they weren't. They were with rival factions. So-
MICHAEL RUBBO: That's what Nicholl says, but that's- that's very disputed. I mean, Frizer was the gentleman servant of Walsingham, and he was the main player. I mean, it's inconceivable to me that Frizer would have stabbed Marlowe without the consent of Walsingham. I mean, there were three against one. It wasn't as if they couldn't have subdued him.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Well, you know, I'm finding it hard to talk about this except in a sort of defensive or negative way-
MICHAEL RUBBO: No, no.
CHARLES NICHOLL: -because I don't accept the premises, really, you know. I don't accept the probabilities or the possibilities. I mean, the possibilities are there, but you know, you can argue all sorts of historical ideas from the possibilities.
MICHAEL RUBBO: No, I-
CHARLES NICHOLL: There is no evidence whatsoever that Marlowe wasn't murdered and there's a lot of- killed, and there's a lot of evidence that he was killed.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Yes.
CHARLES NICHOLL: Let's put it that way.
-wasn't murdered- killed-
MICHAEL RUBBO: With this slip of the tongue, saying murder, Charles seems to agree that the coroner's report was a cover up. But of what? A murder or an escape?
[on camera] Let's say he thought he was going to be saved, but in fact, powers had decided that it's just in the long run easier, unfortunately, sadly-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: Yes, well that is the alternative. I've put it in my book. But a lot of people accuse Walsingham, actually, of having engineered this.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] If it was a murder, it sure was a clumsy way to do it. I mean, do you need three accomplices? Do you need an eight-hour meeting with lunch and dinner, when a quick, sneaky knife could do the job, if that's what the powers decide?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: What is one of the most extraordinary things is that in 1593, there was nothing said at the court. We've got lots of records of court gossip. There was no mention of the death of Marlowe. It's as though you know, it was tacitly agreed, "We don't talk about that."
MICHAEL RUBBO: The best argument of Marlowe escaping is that he always did. I mean, whenever he was in trouble - and that was often - powerful people always came to the rescue, people at the highest level of the court. There's evidence that Elizabeth herself was involved, helping to save the "muse's darling," as they called him. She could not openly intervene. Archbishop Whitgift was far too determined and powerful for that. But she could pardon Ingram Frizer so that the matter never, never came to trial.
JOHN BAKER: [reading] "We have pardoned the same Ingram Frizer the breach of our peace which pertains to us ... and grant to him our firm peace." "We grant to him our firm peace" - here's the operative phrase - "Provided nevertheless that the right remain in our Court" - it means chancellery - "if anyone should wish to complain of him concerning the death above mentioned," then it must come through our court.
She's keeping jurisdiction over this case. This is a lid, the highest lid that can be put on this case, signed by the Queen herself.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] Well now, if he had died, would she still take a personal interest?
JOHN BAKER: No, I don't think so.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Why not?
JOHN BAKER: Well, it'd just be a dead body. You wouldn't care.
MICHAEL RUBBO: There's nothing at stake.
JOHN BAKER: Yeah, nothing at stake at all. Yeah. This is good proof that he wasn't dead.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Do you think he got on a ship that very night? He ends up eventually in Italy, presumably, because -
JOHN BAKER: Yes, he does because that's where the plays are written. And they're imbued with this wonderful sense of life, this Italian sense of life.
MICHAEL RUBBO: If I did find evidence in Italy that he was alive, which would be-
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: You won't.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I won't? Well, you can't be sure about that.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: I'm sure about that. I'm sure about that.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] But something may have already been found in Italy by Calvin Hoffman just before he died.
JOHN HUNT: The evidence is in the form of notes which Mr. Hoffman, aged 75, received this year from the will of a journalist friend. These say that a 16th century Paduan, Petro Basconi, left papers stating that an English writer named Marlowe lived with him as a recluse until dying in 1627, 11 years after Shakespeare's death. The notes add that the writer had had to leave England. The papers were passed down the Basconi family and were said to have been shown during the 19th century to a British ambassador to Italy, who is said to have commented that he was afraid to tamper with a matter so dear to the English heart.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I have not been able, unfortunately, to find the Basconi papers, but I have found a letter from Calvin written in 1983. This names others who saw the papers suggesting that Marlowe lived on. One was Washington Irving, the American writer. These archives in Mantua, northern Italy, must be searched next. Doctor Ferrari, the archivist there, shows me letters of the Gonzagas. They were a noble family who gave haven to intellectuals on the run, like Marlowe.
Doctor Ferrari tells me that no one, but no one, has ever come to her, in all her years, looking for an English poet in exile.
Dr. FERRARI: [subtitles] No, I think not. I have worked here for 22 years.
MARK RYLANCE: There's definitely going to be more stuff turning up. I man, look at the letters you're finding in Italy. No one's gone and researched those letters? That's amazing.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Isn't it?
MARK RYLANCE: Amazing, yeah.
MICHAEL RUBBO: That's got to be done.
MICHAEL RUBBO: [voice-over] It's true that things do turn up. This 400-year-old painting, for instance, which might be Shakespeare, turned up in Canada, of all places. It was under a bed in Montreal, wrapped in brown paper. And Marlowe's own portrait it was found in 1953 in this quadrangle at Cambridge, broken boards in a pile of rubble. If it had not been raining that day, we would never have known the face of Marlowe. So in Italy and everywhere else, let's keep on looking till William Shakespeare clears his name.
MARK RYLANCE: Whoever it is, I- I am not- it would take a lot to convince me now that it was the Stratford man by himself. Someone has to prove to me how he got the learning and experience that went with the possible genius and experience. That is just impossible. And so whoever it is, it wasn't him on his own.
SUE HUNT: You want the answer, Mike. John wants the answer. Isn't it? You do. It's a detective story.
JOHN HUNT: It's a detective story.
SUE HUNT: You want to know how it bloody works. It's the little boy that takes the toy- who takes the toy apart.
JOHN HUNT: But you've got to get to the truth of it.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: I've very much enjoyed going back on all this stuff, you know. I- I do think there is a really good novel in here.
MICHAEL RUBBO: Isn't there?
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: I mean, but that was how it began, wasn't it, with a detective story. And so maybe I should write a novel about it.
MICHAEL RUBBO: I think you should.
Prof. JONATHAN BATE: Sell the film rights and-
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: What have I said at the end? What have I said at the end?
MICHAEL RUBBO: What have you said?
DOLLY WALKER WRAIGHT: It may be feared that Stratford-upon-Avon is threatened. Such fears are groundless. Stratford-upon-Avon is a delightful dream, celebrating the dainty plays. To disturb it would be a sacrilege, no matter if it is based on a myth. Our culture thrives on myths. It is entirely appropriate that the man we have revered for these 400 years since he burst on the scene with "Venus and Adonis" should have been, in essence, a myth.
[Dolly Walker Wraight, 1920-2002]
Much Ado About Something
Written, directed, narrated, filmed & recorded by
Jane St Vincent Welch
Original Music by
Additional Production Management
Roberta Garini, Lousia Merlin
Lorelle Harker, Catherine Richardson
Archival Footage Clearances
Special thanks to interviewees
Prof. Jonathan Bate
Peter and Frieda Barker
Rev. Graham Corneck
Dr Wolfgang Deninger
Dr Daniela Ferrari
Prof. Andy Gurr
Jan R Piggott
Prof. Stanley Wells
Dolly Walker Wraight
and thanks to
Prof. Francesco Giacobelli
Prof. Michael Hattaway
Carole Sue Lipman
Phillip G. Martin
and the Marlowe Society
Shakespeare - Scott Ainslie
Hamlet - Dean Atkinson
Marlowe in Italy - Gionato Agisti
Young Marlowe ³ James Dunn
Gravedigger - Tony Barry
Skeres- Richard Burnip
Horatio - Nicholas Cassim
Marlowe in England - Callum Coates
Poley - Andy Hawthorn
Frizer - Daniel Hopkins
Mephistophilis- Richard Jacob
Touchstone - A. T. Schiller
Faustus - Moray Treadwell
Comedia del arte troupe in Italy
Alena Azzini, Cristina Berettera, Mario Brignani, Giovanna Marchioli, Christina Del Mastro, Antonio Minelli, Bepi Monai, Fabio Raimondi, Sonia Rosset, Nachia Rizzo
Scenes from HAMLET
Music Performed by
The Song Company
Pro Musica Sydney
Conducted by Christopher Gordon
Recorded at Studio 301 Sydney
Mixed and Edited at Utopia Audio
Sound Post Production
Digital City Studios
Post Production Facility
Frame, Set & Match
First Australian Completion Bond Company Pty Ltd
Film Insurance Underwriting Agency
Locations, Stills and Research
Adam Hart Publishers Limited
Archivo di Stato
Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Chiselhurst Church, Kent
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Dickens House Museum, London
Freud Museum, London
The George Inn
Holy Trinity Church
Igtham Mote, National Trust
King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys
The King's School, Canterbury
National Portrait Gallery, London
Mander Mitcherson Theatre Collection
Palazzo Te, Giulio Romano
Orpington and District Archaeological Society
The National Trust
St. Leonards Church, Kent
St. Nicholas Church, Depford
St. Stephens Cemetery
Scenes from AS YOU LIKE IT
Scenes from HENRY IV Part One
Scenes from TAMING OF THE SHREW
Calvin Hoffman interview on the Russell Harty Show
Courtesy of BBC Worldwide
Calvin Hoffman archival footage
The King's School, Canterbury
Scenes from ELIZABETH
Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing Inc
Scenes from ROMEO AND JULIET
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Scenes from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing Inc. and Miramax Films
Mystery Writer Theme composed by Veren Grigorov, Peter Pagac
Performed by Veren Grigorov
"Lay it Down" from Lay it Down: Images of the Sacred
by Linda Allen, performed by John Baker
"Kool Kool Cat called Marlowe"
by Nigel Jackson, performed by Nigel Jackson
Commissioning Editor for the BBC
Executive Producer, Documentaries, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
(c)2001 Australian Film Finance Corporation Limited and
The Helpful Eye Pty. Ltd.
Executive Producer for FRONTLINE
A Helpful Eye and Chili Films Production in Association with WGBH/FRONTLINE and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
(c) 2003 The Helpful Eye Pty. Ltd. and WGBH Educational Foundation ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ANNOUNCER: Explore this subject further on our Web site, where you'll find director Michael Rubbo's own story, how he made the film and why, perspectives on Christopher Marlowe's mysterious death and his place in literary history, a forum on the question, "Does it matter who wrote Shakespeare?" a guide to the Web's best resources on Shakespeare, Marlowe and the authorship debate, and find out on the Web site if this program will be shown again on your PBS station at PBS on line, pbs.org.
Next time on FRONTLINE: Since 1995, this company has been cited for more than 100 environmental violations-
1st MAN: This is the source of the spill.
ANNOUNCER: -and more than 400 safety violations.
WOMAN: They didn't care about my daddy. They killed him.
2nd MAN: If a guy got killed [unintelligible] "But now get him out of the way. We've got to make production."
ANNOUNCER: Why hasn't this company been stopped? FRONTLINE and The New York Times" investigate A Dangerous Business.
To obtain a VHS copy of Much Ado About Something call PBS Home Video at 1-800-PLAY-PBS. [$29.98 & s/h]
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