Joely Richardson discusses Shakespeare's female characters by studying Viola from Twelfth Night and Rosalind from As You Like It. She interviews historians as well as some of the actresses who have played the characters, such as Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren.
Ethan Hawke takes a look at Macbeth through its stage and film adaptations, as well as the history of the real Macbeth, and discusses how he might prepare if he were to play the titular character someday. He interviews historians, Shakespearean scholars, and actors and directors involved with other adaptations.
Derek Jacobi investigates Richard II through its stage and film adaptations and discusses how the play's political themes nearly sparked a revolution in Elizabethan England and still have corollaries in modern politics. He interviews men who have played the titular character as well as historians and other people involved in previous productions. He also discusses his view that William Shakespeare was not actually the author of his own plays, but rather was taking the credit for the Earl of Oxford's works.
Director Trevor Nunn discusses The Tempest, Shakespeare's last play, by analyzing previous film and stage versions (including his own) and interviewing cast members from various adaptations.
Jeremy Irons takes a look at the 'Henry' plays, and views previous adaptations of the plays as well as the 2012 versions (in which he plays King Henry IV) made for the "Cultural Olympiad." He also analyzes Shakespeare's source material and the continued relevancy of the plays in relation to modern politics and war.
David Tennant, whose own RSC performance was a huge hit, meets other actors who have played the legendary role - from David Warner in the 1960s to the recent Jude Law. He also tries, assisted by Simon Russell Beale and Ben Whishaw, to unravel the meaning of the play and the reason why it is considered by many people to be Shakespeare's greatest work.