Representations of Shakespeare's Humanity and Iconicity
Incidental Appropriations in Four British Television Broadcasts
Keywords:Television, Dr. Who, Incidental Appropriation
Since his lifetime, Shakespeare has been constructed as both an icon and a human, above and beyond most individuals, yet simultaneously one of us. Representations of Shakespeare on television are able to thrive on these seemingly contradictory attributes. Yet Shakespeare is not only credited with humanity and iconicity; he is also figured as bestowing these qualities on others. This article draws the evidence for continuing portrayals of Shakespeare's combined humanity and iconicity in the twenty-first century from four television programs: "The Shakespeare Code" episode of Dr. Who, "The Supersizers Go Elizabethan,""The Quality of Mercy" episode of Lewis, and the series Jamie's Dream School. More broadly, this article extends the work on television appropriations of Shakespeare by authors such as Peter Holland and Douglas Lanier and argues for the adoption of the new term "incidental appropriation" with which to discuss Shakespeare on television beyond adaptations of his plays or documentaries about his life.