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Directed for television by Michael Hayes and Robin Midgley, it originally aired in 1965 as a three parter, just as the plays had been staged (the three parts were called Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III).
Due to the popularity of the 1965 broadcast, the series was again screen in 1966, but the three plays were divided up into ten episodes of fifty minutes each.
Almost immediately upon pitching the idea to his colleagues, however, Messina began to encounter problems.
He had anticipated that everyone in the BBC would be excited about the concept, but this did not prove so.
Exclusively made-for-television Shakespearean productions had commenced on 5 February 1937 with the live broadcast of Act 3, Scene 2 from As You Like It, directed by Robert Atkins, and starring Margaretta Scott as Rosalind and Ion Swinley as Orlando.a Sunday Night Theatre live performance of Lionel Harris' musical production of The Comedy of Errors, starring David Pool as Antipholus of Ephesus and Paul Hansard as Antipholus of Syracuse (); There were also four multi-part made-for-TV Shakespearean adaptations shown during the 1950s and 1960s; three specifically conceived as TV productions, one a TV adaptation of a stage production.The first was The Life and Death of Sir John Falstaff (1959).The vast majority of these transmissions were broadcast live, and they came to an end with the onset of war in 1939. After the war, Shakespearean adaptations were screened much less frequently, and tended to be more 'significant' specifically made-for-TV productions.In 1947, for example, O'Ferrall directed a two-part adaptation of Hamlet, starring John Byron as Hamlet, Sebastian Shaw as Claudius and Margaret Rawlings as Gertrude (5 & 15 December).