Sir Patrick Stewart is an English actor whose work has included roles on stage and film in a career spanning six decades. He has been nominated for Olivier, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Saturn Awards throughout his career. Beginning his career with a long run with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stewart received the 1979 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Antony and Cleopatra in the West End. Stewart's first major screen roles were in BBC-broadcast television productions during the mid-late 1970s, including Hedda, the I, Claudius miniseries. From the 1980s onward, Stewart began working in American television and film, with prominent leading roles such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films, as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series of superhero films, the lead of the Starz TV series Blunt Talk, voice roles such as CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock in American Dad! and the narrator in Ted.
Having remained with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in 2008 Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet in the West End and won a second Olivier Award. In 1993, TV Guide named Stewart the Best Dramatic Television Actor of the 1980s, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 16 December 1996. In 2010, Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama. Patrick Stewart was born on 13 July 1940 in Mirfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Gladys, a weaver and textile worker, Alfred Stewart, a regimental sergeant major in the British Army, he has two older brothers and Trevor. His parents did not give him a middle name, but he used the middle name "Hewes" professionally for a while in the 1980s. Stewart grew up in a poor household with domestic violence from his father, an experience which influenced his political and ideological beliefs, he spent much of his childhood in Jarrow. Stewart's father served with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was regimental sergeant major of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Second World War, having worked as a general labourer and as a postman.
As a result of his wartime experience during the Dunkirk evacuation, his father suffered from what was known as combat fatigue. In a 2008 interview, Stewart said, "My father was a potent individual, a powerful man, who got what he wanted, it was said. It was many years before I realised how my father inserted himself into my work. I've grown a moustache for Macbeth. My father didn't have one, but when I looked in the mirror just before I went on stage I saw my father's face staring straight back at me."Stewart attended Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School. He attributes his acting career to his English teacher, Cecil Dormand, who "put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand said,'Now get up on your feet and perform." In 1951, aged 11, having failed the eleven-plus examination, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School, where he continued to study drama. Around the same time he met the actor Brian Blessed at a Mytholmroyd drama course, the two have been friends since. At the age of 15, Stewart increased his participation in local theatre.
He gained a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer at the Mirfield & District Reporter, but after a year his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, he left the job. His brother tells the story that Stewart had been attending rehearsals during work time and inventing the stories he reported. Stewart trained as a boxer. Stewart reported. Both Stewart and his friend Blessed received grants to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Following a period with Manchester's Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, remaining with them until 1982, he was an associate artist of the company in 1968. He appeared with actors such as Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a fire officer. In 1969, he had a brief TV cameo role as Horatio, opposite Ian Richardson's Hamlet, in a performance of the gravedigger scene as part of episode six of Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation television series, he made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook's legendary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s.
Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without becoming a household name. He appeared as Vladimir Lenin in Fall of Eagles, he took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. He took the lead, playing psychiatric consultant Dr Edward Roebuck in BBC's Maybury in 1981. Stewart continued to play minor roles in films, such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman's Excalibur, the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch's film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce. Stewart preferred classical theatre to other genres, asking Doctor Who actress Lalla Ward why she would work in science fiction or on television. In 1987, he nonetheless agreed to work in Hollywood on a revival of an old science-fiction television show, after Robert H. Justman saw him while attending a literary reading at UCLA. Stewart knew nothing about the original show, Star Trek, or its iconic status in Amer
Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor who appeared in over 150 feature films. He is best known for his 16-film collaboration with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in such works as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, he portrayed Miyamoto Musashi in Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy and one earlier Inagaki film, Lord Toranaga in the NBC TV miniseries Shōgun, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in 3 different films. Toshiro Mifune was born on 1 April 1920 in Qingdao, China, to Japanese parents, his parents were Methodist missionaries working there. Mifune grew up with his parents and two younger siblings in Dalian, China, from 4 to 19 years of age, in Manchuria. In his youth, Mifune worked in the photography shop of his father Tokuzo, a commercial photographer and importer who had emigrated from northern Japan. After spending the first 19 years of his life in China, as a Japanese citizen, he was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army Aviation division, where he served in the Aerial Photography unit during World War II.
In 1947, one of Mifune's friends who worked for the Photography Department of Toho Productions suggested Mifune try out for the Photography Department. He was accepted for a position as an assistant cameraman. At this time, a large number of Toho actors, after a prolonged strike, had left to form their own company, Shin Toho. Toho organized a "new faces" contest to find new talent. Mifune's friends submitted an photo, without his knowledge, he was accepted, along with 48 others, allowed to take a screen test for Kajirō Yamamoto. Instructed to mime anger, he drew from his wartime experiences. Yamamoto took a liking to Mifune; this led in Shin Baka Jidai. Mifune first encountered director Akira Kurosawa when Toho Studios, the largest film production company in Japan, was conducting a massive talent search, during which hundreds of aspiring actors auditioned before a team of judges. Kurosawa was going to skip the event, but showed up when Hideko Takamine told him of one actor who seemed promising. Kurosawa wrote that he entered the audition to see "a young man reeling around the room in a violent frenzy... it was as frightening as watching a wounded beast trying to break loose.
I was transfixed." When Mifune, finished his scene, he sat down and gave the judges an ominous stare. He lost the competition but Kurosawa was impressed. "I am a person impressed by actors," he said. "But in the case of Mifune I was overwhelmed." Among Mifune's fellow performers, one of the 32 women chosen during the new faces contest was Sachiko Yoshimine. Eight years Mifune's junior, she came from a respected Tokyo family, they fell in love and Mifune soon proposed marriage. Director Senkichi Taniguchi, with the help of Akira Kurosawa, convinced the Yoshimine family to allow the marriage; the wedding took place in February 1950 at the Aoyama Gakuin Methodist Church. Yoshimine was a Buddhist but since Mifune was a Christian, they were married in church as per Christian tradition. In November of the same year, their first son, Shirō was born. In 1955, they had Takeshi. Mifune's daughter Mika was born to his mistress, actress Mika Kitagawa, in 1982, his imposing bearing, acting range, facility with foreign languages and lengthy partnership with acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa made him the most famous Japanese actor of his time, the best known to Western audiences.
He portrayed samurai or rōnin who were coarse and gruff, inverting the popular stereotype of the genteel, clean-cut samurai. In such films as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, he played characters who were comically lacking in manners, but replete with practical wisdom and experience, understated nobility, and, in the case of Yojimbo, unmatched fighting prowess. Sanjuro in particular contrasts this earthy warrior spirit with the useless, sheltered propriety of the court samurai. Kurosawa valued Mifune for his effortless portrayal of unvarnished emotion, once commenting that he could convey in only three feet of film an emotion for which the average Japanese actor would require ten feet, he was known for the effort he put into his performances. To prepare for Seven Samurai and Rashomon, Mifune studied footage of lions in the wild. Mifune has been credited as originating the "roving warrior" archetype, which he perfected during his collaboration with Kurosawa, his martial arts instructor was Yoshio Sugino of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.
Sugino created the fight choreography for films such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, Kurosawa instructed his actors to emulate his movements and bearing. Clint Eastwood was among the first of many actors to adopt this wandering ronin with no name persona for foreign films, which he used to great effect in his Western roles in Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone where he played the Man with No Name, a character similar to Mifune's seemingly-nameless ronin in Yojimbo. Mifune may be credited with originating the Yakuza archetype, with his performance as a mobster in Kurosawa's Drunken Angel, the first Yakuza film. Most of the sixteen Kurosawa–Mifune films are considered cinema classics; these include Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress and Low, Throne of Blood and Sanjuro. (See fil
Christopher Eccleston is an English actor. The recipient of an Emmy Award and two BAFTA Award nominations, Eccleston is best known for his work on television and in film – in particular for his collaborations with directors Danny Boyle and Michael Winterbottom and writers Peter Flannery, Jimmy McGovern and Russell T. Davies. Eccleston trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London and made his professional acting debut onstage in a Bristol Old Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Eccleston garnered attention for his film roles as Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It and David Stevens in Shallow Grave and for his television performances in Cracker and Hillsborough, his BAFTA-nominated performance as Nicky Hutchinson in the BBC miniseries Our Friends in the North established Eccleston as a household name in the UK. Eccleston garnered widespread attention and acclaim for portraying the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the 2005 revival of the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who, becoming the first actor to play the role since 1996.
He departed the role after a single series, winning a National Television Award and receiving Broadcasting Press Guild Award and BAFTA Cymru Award nominations for his performance. Eccleston has since appeared in the television series Heroes, The Shadow Line, Lucan, The Leftovers, Safe House and The A Word and films including G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Thor: The Dark World and Legend, he won an International Emmy Award for his performance in an episode of the anthology series Accused. Onstage, Eccleston has played the title roles in productions of Hamlet and Macbeth as well as starring in productions of Miss Julie, A Doll's House and Antigone. Since 2017, Eccleston has narrated the documentary series Ambulance. Christopher Eccleston was born into a working-class family in Langworthy, Lancashire, the youngest of three sons born to Elsie and Ronnie Eccleston, his brothers and Keith, are twins who are eight years older than him. The family lived in a small terraced house on Blodwell Street before moving to Little Hulton when Eccleston was seven months old.
Eccleston attended Joseph Eastham High School. At the age of 19, he was inspired to enter the acting profession by such television dramas as Boys from the Blackstuff. Eccleston completed a two-year Performance Foundation Course at Salford Tech before going on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama; as an actor, he was influenced in his early years by Ken Loach's Kes and Albert Finney's performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but he soon found himself performing the classics, including the works of Shakespeare and Molière. At the age of 25, Eccleston made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Underemployed as an actor for some years after graduating from school, Eccleston took a variety of odd jobs at a supermarket, on building sites, as an artist's model. Eccleston first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in the film Let Him Have It, an episode of Inspector Morse "Second Time Around". In 1992, he played the role of Sean Maddox in the BBC drama miniseries Friday on my Mind.
A regular role in the television series Cracker brought him recognition in the UK. At around the same time, Eccleston appeared in the episode "One, Buckle My Shoe" of the Poirot series adapted from mysteries by Agatha Christie, he appeared in the low-budget Danny Boyle film Shallow Grave, in which he co-starred with actor Ewan McGregor. The same year, he won the part of Nicky Hutchinson in the epic BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North, whose broadcast on BBC Two in 1996 helped make him a household name in the UK. Eccleston starred in an ensemble cast that included actors Mark Strong and Gina McKee, as well as Daniel Craig. In 1996, he took the part of Trevor Hicks—a man who lost both of his daughters in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster—in the television drama film Hillsborough, penned by Jimmy McGovern. In real life, he was the best man to Trevor Hicks at his wedding in March 2009, his film career has since taken off with a variety of roles, including Jude, Elizabeth, eXistenZ, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Others, 24 Hour Party People and 28 Days Later.
He played a major role as the protagonist of the 2002 Revengers Tragedy, adapted from Thomas Middleton's play of the same name. He starred in The Invisible Circus, he starred in the car-heist film Gone in 60 Seconds, but did not take his driving test until January 2004. He said on BBC's Top Gear, he has appeared in a variety of television roles in British dramas. These have included Hearts and Minds for Channel 4, Clocking Off and Flesh and Blood for the BBC and Hillsborough, a modern version of Othello, playing'Ben Jago',, he has made guest appearances in episodes of the comedy drama Linda Green and macabre sketch show The Leagu
Holinshed's Chronicles known as Holinshed's Chronicles of England and Ireland, is a collaborative work published in several volumes and two editions, the first edition in 1577, the second in 1587. It was a comprehensive description of British history published in three volumes; the Chronicles have traditionally been a source of interest to many because of their extensive links to Shakespeare's history plays, as well as King Lear and Cymbeline. Recent studies of the Chronicles have focused on a inter-disciplinary approach; the Chronicles would have been a primary source for many other literary writers of the Renaissance such as Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, George Daniel. In 1548, Reginald Wolfe, a London printer, conceived the idea of creating a "Universal Cosmography of the whole world, therewith certain particular histories of every known nation", he wanted the work to be printed in English and he wanted maps and illustrations in the book as well. Wolfe acquired many of John Leland's works, with these he constructed chronologies and drew maps that were up-to-date.
When Wolfe realised he could not complete this project on his own, he hired Raphael Holinshed and William Harrison to assist him. Wolfe died with the work still uncompleted in 1573, the project—changed to a work about the British Isles—was run by a consortium of three members of the London stationers, they retained Holinshed, who employed Richard Stanyhurst, Edmund Campion and John Hooker. In 1577, the work was published in two volumes after some censorship by the Privy Council of some of Stanyhurst's contribution on Ireland; the Chronicles narrative is characterised by a set of rhetorical figures and thematic paradigms that establish the national, royal and heroic ideals that define a state, its monarch, its leaders, the political role of the common people. Shakespeare is believed to have used the revised second edition of the Chronicles as the source for most of his history plays, the plot of Macbeth, for portions of King Lear and Cymbeline. Several other playwrights, such as Christopher Marlowe, used the Chronicles as a source.
Shakespeare used Holinshed's work in modified form. An instance is the Three Witches, whom Holinshed describes as "creatures of the elderwood... nymphs or fairies". Nymphs and fairies are viewed as beautiful and youthful, but Shakespeare's three witches in Macbeth are ugly and bizarre, it is believed. However, the Chronicles lacked any descriptions of Macbeth's character, so Shakespeare improvised on several points; the characters Banquo and Fleance were taken from Holinshed’s works, but they are now considered to be inventions of the 16th century. The primary difference in the Chronicles is through characterisation; the character of Macbeth is depicted as a good ruler, a king, fair and just for 17 years. The plot displays King Duncan as a weak king, it is possible that the reading of Shakespeare's King Duncan was inspired by the tale of King Duffe contained within the Chronicle. This story follows a similar narrative, King Duffe and his murderer Donwald mirror the narrative of King Duncan and Macbeth.
The bad omens following the murder of Duffe are mirrored in Shakespeare's narrative. The Chronicles tale of Macbeth differs from Shakespeare's version in numerous ways; the play features a scene in which Banquo and Macbeth encounter three women and each spoke of a prophecy that would contribute to the characterisation of these women as ‘other worldly’. The first woman said ‘All hayle Makbeth Thane of Glammis’. Two of the women said ‘All hayle Macbeth, Thane of Cawder’; the third said ‘All hayle Makbeth that hereafter shall be king of Scotland’. Just as soon as they had appeared, the three women ‘vanished out of theyr sight’. In the Chronicles version, Macbeth is a much more sympathetic character. King Duncan is depicted as a weak ruler and had violated the Scottish laws of succession by failing to consult with the "Thanes," or Lords, before naming his son, a mere child named Malcolm, to rule after him. Macbeth and many other Thanes were enraged by this action. Spurred on by the words of the three women he encountered, he is encouraged to attempt to usurp the kingdom by force.
He is spurred on by his wife, ambitious and desired the title of queen for herself. In Holinshed's Chronicles, Banquo is shown as a scheming character: he is an accomplice in Macbeth’s murder of Duncan. In comparison to Shakespeare's version, which has Duncan murdered in his sleep, Duncan is slain in battle and his death is not detailed. In the Chronicles, Macbeth ruled Scotland not but for 17 years, he was a capable and wise monarch who implemented commendable laws. Fearing that Banquo will seize the kingdom, Macbeth invites him to a supper where he intends to kill Banquo and his son, he succeeds in killing Banquo but his son,Macduffe, flees to Wales. Macbeth, convinced by the witches of his invincibility, commits outrageous acts against his subjects becoming a cruel and paranoid ruler; the tale ends when Macbeth is slain by Macduff who brings his head to the son of the original King, Duncan. It is believed that Shakespeare would have used the revised second edition of the Chro
Sir Ian Murray McKellen is an English actor. He is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, two Critics' Choice Awards, he has received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nominations. McKellen's career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction; the BBC states that his "performances have guaranteed him a place in the canon of English stage and film actors". A recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK, McKellen is regarded as a British cultural icon, he started his professional career in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre as a member of their regarded repertory company. In 1965, McKellen made his first West End appearance. In 1969, he was invited to join the Prospect Theatre Company to play the lead parts in Shakespeare's Richard II and Marlowe's Edward II, he established himself as one of the country's foremost classical actors.
In the 1970s, McKellen became a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. He achieved worldwide fame for his film roles, including the titular King in Richard III, James Whale in Gods and Monsters, Magneto in the X-Men films, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. McKellen was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 Birthday Honours, was knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the 2008 New Year Honours, he has been gay since 1988, continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements worldwide. He was awarded Freedom of the City of London in October 2014. McKellen was born on 25 May 1939 in Burnley, the son of Margery Lois and Denis Murray McKellen, a civil engineer, he was their second child, with a sister, five years his senior. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, his family moved to Wigan.
They lived there until Ian was twelve years old, before relocating to Bolton in 1951, after his father had been promoted. The experience of living through the war as a young child had a lasting impact on him, he said that "only after peace resumed... did I realise that war wasn't normal." When an interviewer remarked that he seemed quite calm in the aftermath of 11 September attacks, McKellen said: "Well, you forget—I slept under a steel plate until I was four years old.". McKellen's father was a civil engineer and lay preacher, was of Protestant Irish and Scottish descent. Both of McKellen's grandfathers were preachers, his great-great-grandfather, James McKellen, was a "strict, evangelical Protestant minister" in Ballymena, County Antrim, his home environment was Christian, but non-orthodox. "My upbringing was of low nonconformist Christians who felt that you led the Christian life in part by behaving in a Christian manner to everybody you met." When he was 12, his mother died of breast cancer.
After his coming out as gay to his stepmother, Gladys McKellen, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, he said, "Not only was she not fazed, but as a member of a society which declared its indifference to people's sexuality years back, I think she was just glad for my sake that I wasn't lying anymore." His great-great-grandfather Robert J. Lowes was an activist and campaigner in the successful campaign for a Saturday half-holiday in Manchester, the forerunner to the modern five-day work week, thus making Lowes a "grandfather of the modern weekend". McKellen attended Bolton School, of which he is still a supporter, attending to talk to pupils. McKellen's acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre. An early fascination with the theatre was encouraged by his parents, who took him on a family outing to Peter Pan at the Opera House in Manchester when he was three; when he was nine, his main Christmas present was a fold-away wood and bakelite Victorian theatre from Pollocks Toy Theatres, with cardboard scenery and wires to push on the cut-outs of Cinderella and of Laurence Olivier's Hamlet.
His sister took him to his first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, by the amateurs of Wigan's Little Theatre, shortly followed by their Macbeth and Wigan High School for Girls' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with music by Mendelssohn, with the role of Bottom played by Jean McKellen, who continued to act and produce amateur theatre until her death. In 1958, McKellen, at the age of 18, won a scholarship to St Catharine's College, where he read English literature, he has since been made an Honorary Fellow of the College. While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society, where he appeared in 23 plays over the course of 3 years. At that young age he was giving performances that have since become legendary such as his Justice Shallow in Henry IV alongside Trevor Nunn and Derek Jacobi and Doctor Faustus. During this period McKellen had been directed by Peter Hall, John Barton and Dadie Rylands, all of whom would have a huge impact on McKellen's future career. McKellen made his first professional appearance in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre, as Roper in A Man for All Seasons, although an audio recording of the Marlowe Society's Cymbeline had gone on commercial sale as part of the Argo Shakespeare series.
After four years in regional repertory theatres he made his first West End appearance, in A Scent of Flowers, regarded as a "notable success". In 1965 he was a member of Laurence Ol
The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Historians depict it as the golden age in English history; the symbol of Britannia was first used in 1572, thereafter, to mark the Elizabethan age as a renaissance that inspired national pride through classical ideals, international expansion, naval triumph over Spain. The historian John Guy argues that "England was economically healthier, more expansive, more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time in a thousand years; this "golden age" represented the apogee of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of poetry and literature. The era is most famous for theatre, as William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke free of England's past style of theatre, it was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most after the Spanish Armada was repulsed. It was the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.
The Elizabethan age contrasts with the previous and following reigns. It was a brief period of internal peace between the English Reformation and the religious battles between Protestants and Catholics and the political battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the remainder of the seventeenth century; the Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was well-off compared to the other nations of Europe; the Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of Spanish domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that were settled in 1598 by a policy of tolerating Protestantism with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent by Spain's tercios, the centuries-long conflict between France and England was suspended for most of Elizabeth's reign.
The one great rival was Spain, with whom England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter, Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives; this drained both the English Exchequer and economy, so restored under Elizabeth's prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth's death. England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, effective government a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII, as well as Elizabeth's harsh punishments for any dissenters.
Economically, the country began to benefit from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade and persistent theft of Spanish treasure. The Victorian era and the early 20th century idealised the Elizabethan era; the Encyclopædia Britannica maintains that "he long reign of Elizabeth I, 1558–1603, was England's Golden Age...'Merry England', in love with life, expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture and in adventurous seafaring". This idealising tendency was shared by an Anglophilic America. In popular culture, the image of those adventurous Elizabethan seafarers was embodied in the films of Errol Flynn. In response and reaction to this hyperbole, modern historians and biographers have tended to take a more dispassionate view of the Tudor period. Elizabethan England was not successful in a military sense during the period, but it avoided major defeats and built up a powerful navy. On balance, it can be said that Elizabeth provided the country with a long period of general if not total peace and increased prosperity due in large part to stealing from Spanish treasure ships, raiding settlements with low defenses, selling African slaves.
Having inherited a bankrupt state from previous reigns, her frugal policies restored fiscal responsibility. Her fiscal restraint cleared the regime of debt by 1574, ten years the Crown enjoyed a surplus of £300,000. Economically, Sir Thomas Gresham's founding of the Royal Exchange, the first stock exchange in England and one of the earliest in Europe, proved to be a development of the first importance, for the economic development of England and soon for the world as a whole. With taxes lower than other European countries of the period, the economy expanded; this general peace and prosperity allowed the attractive developments that "Golden Age" advocates have stressed. The Elizabethan Age was an age of plots and conspiracies political in nature, involving the highest levels of Elizabethan society. High officials in Madrid and Rome sought to kill Elizabeth, a Protestant, replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic; that would be a prelude to the religious recovery of England for Catholicism.
In 1570, the Ridolfi plot was thwarted. In 1584, the Throckmorton Plot was discovered, after Francis Throckmorton confessed his involvement in a plot to overthrow the Queen and restore the Catholic Church in England
Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh is a Northern Irish actor, director and screenwriter. Branagh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, in 2015 succeeded Richard Attenborough as its president, he has both directed and starred in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays, including Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It. Branagh has starred in numerous other films and television series including Fortunes of War, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Wild Wild West, as the voice of Miguel in The Road to El Dorado, as SS leader Reinhard Heydrich in Conspiracy, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Warm Springs, as Major General Henning von Tresckow in Valkyrie, The Boat That Rocked, Wallander, My Week with Marilyn as Sir Laurence Olivier, as Royal Navy Commander Bolton in the action-thriller Dunkirk, he has directed such films as Dead Again, in which he starred, Swan Song, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in which he starred, The Magic Flute, the blockbuster superhero film Thor, the action thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in which he co-stars, the live-action film Cinderella, the mystery drama adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, in which he starred as Hercule Poirot.
He narrated the series Cold War, the BBC documentary miniseries Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts and Walking with Monsters. Branagh has been nominated for five Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, has won three BAFTAs, an Emmy Award, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours and was knighted on 9 November 2012. He was made a Freeman of his native city of Belfast in January 2018. Branagh, the middle of three children, was born in Belfast, the son of working class Protestant parents Frances and William Branagh, a plumber and joiner who ran a company that specialised in fitting partitions and suspended ceilings, he was educated at Grove Primary School. At the age of nine, he moved with his family to Reading, England, to escape the Troubles, he was educated at Whiteknights Primary School and Meadway School, a local comprehensive in Tilehurst, where he appeared in school productions such as Toad of Toad Hall and Oh, What a Lovely War!. At school, he acquired Received Pronunciation to avoid bullying.
On his identity today he has said, "I feel Irish. I don't think you can take Belfast out of the boy", he attributes his "love of words" to his Irish heritage, he attended the amateur Reading Cine & Video Society as a member and was a keen member of Progress Theatre for whom he is now the patron. After disappointing A'levels results in English and Sociology, Branagh nonetheless went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 1980 the Principal of RADA, Hugh Cruttwell, asked Branagh to perform a soliloquy from Hamlet for Queen Elizabeth II, during one of her visits to the academy. Branagh achieved some early measure of success in his native Northern Ireland for his role as Billy, the title character in the BBC's Play for Today trilogy known as the Billy Plays, written by Graham Reid and set in Belfast, he received acclaim in the UK for his stage performances, first winning the 1982 SWET Award for Best Newcomer, for his role as Judd in Julian Mitchell's Another Country, after leaving RADA.
Branagh was part of the'new wave' of actors to emerge from the Academy. Others included Jonathan Pryce, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Anton Lesser, Bruce Payne and Fiona Shaw. In 1984 he appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Henry V, directed by Adrian Noble; the production played to sold out audiences at the Barbican in the City of London. It was this production that he adapted for the film version of the play in 1989, he and David Parfitt founded the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987, following success with several productions on the London'Fringe', including Branagh's full-scale production of Romeo and Juliet at the Lyric Studio, co-starring with Samantha Bond. The first major Renaissance production was Branagh's Christmas 1987 staging of Twelfth Night at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, starring Richard Briers as Malvolio and Frances Barber as Viola, with an original score by actor and composer Patrick Doyle, who two years was to compose the music for Branagh's film adaptation of Henry V.
This Twelfth Night was adapted for television. Branagh became a major presence in the media and on the British stage when Renaissance collaborated with Birmingham Rep for a 1988 touring season of three Shakespeare plays under the umbrella title of Renaissance Shakespeare on the Road, which played a repertory season at the Phoenix Theatre in London, it featured directorial debuts for Judi Dench with Much Ado About Nothing, Geraldine McEwan with As You Like It, Derek Jacobi directing Branagh in the title role in Hamlet, with Sophie Thompson as Ophelia. Critic Milton Shulman of the London Evening Standard wrote: "On the positive side Branagh has the vitality of Olivier, the passion of Gielgud, the assurance of Guinness, to mention but three famous actors who