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Shakespeare Lives

It has been over 400 years since Shakespeare died, but his works still 'play on' today. Explore the life, times and legacy of the Bard of Avon...

About this programme

It has been over 450 years since the world's most famous and well-respected playwright was born and to mark the anniversary there’s an abundance of celebrations and commemorations of Shakespeare and his work.

Visit the BBC's Shakespeare Lives event page to see more.

Shakespeare Speaks

Explore the English language through the phrases, plays and personality of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Speaks is a brand new series of 20 animated shorts, each looking at a popular English phrase or expression, as coined by William Shakespeare yet still very much used today. The English language is brought to life, explained and practised by The Bard himself with the help of a cast of imagined characters including his actor friends and ditzy daughter. Modern day examples and celebrity quotes are showed alongside snippets from plays such as The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet as well as interesting information about Shakespeare's life and times.

Each episode explains the meaning and use of a well-known modern English expression that appeared in Shakespeare’s work, such as: "The world’s mine oyster", "A tower of strength", "In a pickle" and "All that glisters is not gold". For non-native speakers of English, the series is particularly suitable for learners of English at intermediate level (CEF B1) and above.

Visit the BBC Learning English pages for more.

Why study English language?

How can becoming an English language student change your life or your job? Find out how to take your interest further by studying with the Open University.

Many people assume studying English language can only further your career if you work in teaching, translation, or the publishing industry. Watch this video to hear how people in many different professions have benefitted from studying the English language.​

Take your interest further 

Like to explore more of the world of English? Go further with the Open University.

We offer a variety of free learning opportunities to try out a subject, brush up on your skills or find out if studying is for you – or you can start studying English at degree-level with modules and qualifications. 

Explore learning with free courses

Try out a free course on the history of the English languagemodern global English or English language teaching – or, if it's been a while since you studied, find out more about how you can succeed with learning.

Meet the expert

A black and white photograph of Dr Philip Seargeant
Philip SeargeantSenior Lecturer in Applied LinguisticsVIEW FULL PROFILE
A black and white photograph of Dr Philip Seargeant
Philip SeargeantSenior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

My research focuses on:

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