Produced and directed by Ronald Eyre, and starring Roger Livesey as Falstaff, the series took all of the Falstaff scenes from the Henriad and adapted them into seven thirty-minute episodes. Produced by Peter Dews and directed by Michael Hayes, the show comprised fifteen episodes between sixty and eighty minutes each, which adapted all eight of Shakespeare's sequential history plays (Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III).
The third was The Spread of the Eagle (1963), directed and produced by Dews.
He had anticipated that everyone in the BBC would be excited about the concept, but this did not prove so.
Other 1937 productions included two different screenings of scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream; one directed by Dallas Bower, starring Patricia Hilliard as Titania and Hay Petrie as Nick Bottom (18 February), the other an extract from Stephen Thomas' Regent's Park production, starring Alexander Knox as Oberon and Thea Holme as Titania, aired as part of the celebrations for Shakespeare's birthday (23 April).
In 1938, the first full-length broadcast of a Shakespearean play took place; Dallas Bower's modern dress production of Julius Caesar at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, starring D. Clark-Smith as Mark Antony and Ernest Milton as Caesar (24 July).
Initially the adaptations received generally negative reviews, although the reception improved somewhat as the series went on, and directors were allowed more freedom, leading to interpretations becoming more daring.
Several episodes are now held in high esteem, particularly some of the traditionally lesser known and less frequently staged plays.