I have a Google alert set up for “Edward II,” and though I get some things of interest that way, I also get a lot of worthless alerts, mostly to shopping sites. So when I saw my alert today, I thought at first it was another shopping alert. Then I looked closer and gave a great big whoop, for I see that the BBC has reissued the 1970 telecast of “Edward II” on DVD! Finally!
This telecast starred Ian McKellen as Edward II, and is an excellent adaptation of the Marlowe play. My university library of choice has an old VHS copy, which couldn’t be taken off premises, so I had to watch it sitting in a carrel, wondering if some undergraduate would come up behind me during the poker scene and say, “Ewwww!” Needless to say, I’m delighted about finally being able to buy a copy of my own. I’m also delighted that the play, which is seldom produced in the US outside of major cities, will get a wider audience. (The Derek Jarman film, while interesting and well-acted, loses Marlowe’s play in its emphasis on twentieth-century sexual politics.) It’s the Marlowe play that got me interested in Edward II and got me to writing my own novel, so I owe this playwright a big thanks!