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Bill (2015)

Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
What really happened during Shakespeare's 'Lost Years'? Hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare leaves his home to follow his dream.

Director:

Richard Bracewell

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mathew Baynton ... William 'Bill' Shakespeare / Lord Burghley / English Messenger / Customs Official
Simon Farnaby ... Earl of Croydon / Juan Domingo / Sausage / Dmitri Alexandrovitch / Fur Seller
Martha Howe-Douglas ... Anne Hathaway / Molly / Spanish Courtier / Body Collector
Jim Howick ... Christopher Marlowe / Gabriel Montoya / Cynical Jester / Palace Doorman / Mysterious Man / Even Grubbier Thief / Party Planner
Laurence Rickard ... Sir Francis Walsingham / Lope Lopez / Stand-Up Jester / Chatty Guard / Slightly Late Courtier / Ian / Hanging Criminal / Chicken Drumstick
Ben Willbond ... King Phillip II of Spain / Earl of Southampton / Grubby Thief / Alexander Dimitrievitch / Head of Guards
David Crow David Crow ... Ramon: Cockney Player / Sergeant
Jamie Demetriou ... Sergio: Cockney Player
Richard Atwill Richard Atwill ... Seve: Cockney Player
John Henry Falle John Henry Falle ... Miguel: Cockney Player
Andrew Young Andrew Young ... Spanish Guard 1
Elliot Young Elliot Young ... Spanish Guard 2
Damian Lewis ... Sir Richard Hawkins
Michael Collin Michael Collin ... Despatch Rider
Susy Kane ... Lady-in-waiting
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Storyline

A down on his luck William "Bill" Shakespeare decides to pursue his latest dream: to be an aspiring writer. His adventure soon becomes dangerous when he is caught between a act of murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Family | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC Films [UK]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Билл See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$896,929
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film to be made by the Horrible Histories team See more »

Goofs

When Bill and Christopher Marlowe are advertising vegetables, Bill is dressed as a tomato, which is a fruit. See more »

Quotes

Earl of Croydon: Why did you let me get drunk?
Ian: I wasn't there!
Earl of Croydon: Exactly!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Projector: Miss You Already/Bill (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Duelin' Banjos
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Written by Arthur Smith
Arranged by Bernard Hughes
Performed by James Akers, Lucy Shaw and John Vickers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Horrible Histories Hit The Big Screen
20 September 2015 | by littlewritingmachineSee all my reviews

Anyone who has studied history, and that's just about everyone, will find something to enjoy in Bill, a big screen leap for the popular TV team that expands the scope of the show without letting go of the good humour and wit beloved by millions.

Taking a cue from Shakespeare in Love, but playing the idea of the Bard's formative years in a very different way, Bill features Mathew Bayton as the young playwright, seeking his fortune in London and falling under the wing of Christopher Marlowe (Jim Howick). The historical aspect is brought to the fore as King Phillip II (Ben Willbond) concocts a scheme to eliminate Queen Elizabeth I (Helen McCrory) by gunpowder, with Bill's first play giving him a pretext to carry out his plan. Bill's excitement about seeing his work brought to the stage is tempered by a dawning realisation that he's only a pawn in a bigger political game.

Bill might well work for worldwide audiences as a cheerful parody of Shakespeare in Love, but has its own sense of comic invention. It's refreshing to see a British film with such spirited performances, with Willbond sporting several moustaches at once and his co-writer Laurence Rickard superbly deadpan as the violently anti-Catholic Walsingham. Bill never dumbs down history, but reflects it through amusingly modern updates; the castle security go to Code Woad when the believe there's a high risk of attack, and Phillip's men are subject to a search by a decidedly modern customs officer. Damien Lewis has a brief but amusing cameo, and all the performers are on point; you can tell that they've got confidence in the material, and they wring every possible laugh from it. Sneaking into cinemas with barely a breath of publicity, Bill should find a wide and appreciative audience once it finds a home on the small screen; carefully plotted and with genuine wit behind the gags, it's the best British comedy of the year. That may not be saying much, given that big-screen comedy is seemingly a lost art, but Bill is just the thing to put a rare smile on the faces of adults and children alike.


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