This weekend sees two very English celebrations - St George’s Day and the celebration of the life and work of William Shakespeare. In honour of these two events, we thought we’d bring you our top English and Shakespearean DVD picks! Make a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and make a date with the sofa!

 

Agatha Christie is a quintessential English icon and is the best-selling novelist of all time. Born in Torquay, she wrote 66 detective novels as well as short stories and a play. And Then There Were None is based on one of her much-loved novels which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Set in 1939, it follows ten strangers who find themselves drawn to a mysterious mansion off the Devon coast. They soon find themselves stranded, each accused of a crime for which they now must pay. Starring Aidan Turner, Charles Dance and Miranda Richardson, it’s a chilling mystery that you must check out.

 

 Detectorists is a hilarious comedy-drama that follows the lives and loves of two friends, Andy (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones), who share a passion for metal detecting. Set in the fictional Essex town of Danebury, the show is set in the sun-drenched countryside and is an affectionate and very British look at friendship and aspirations.

 

 England’s world-renowned playwright William Shakespeare died 400 years ago. Writing over 30 plays, his work is performed all over the world. To mark the anniversary, we suggest the following titles.

 

 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead follows two of Hamlet’s supporting characters who find themselves caught up in the events taking place at the Royal Palace of Elsinore. Starring Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Richard Dreyfuss, it’s based on Tom Stoppard’s play of the same name and was the playwright’s directorial debut. Full of witty performances, it’s an inspired take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays that went on to win the prestigious Golden Lion award for Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival in 1990.

 

 If you’ve ever wondered what a twenty-first century rework of Shakespeare’s plays would look like, you should check out Shakespeare Retold. The four films put a modern spin on four of the playwright’s key works. In ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Kate is an MP who is instructed to find a husband to make her more electable, while ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ focuses on four warring couples during a weekend in a holiday park.  The films contain an all-star cast including Imelda Staunton, Damian Lewis, Rufus Sewell and Johnny Vegas.

 

One of the latest, modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s work is Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth. Starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the film tells the story of a Scottish nobleman who is obsessed with becoming king. Spurred on by his ambitious wife, Macbeth kills the reigning monarch only to become a tyrannical ruler. Praised for its stunning cinematography and mesmerising performances by the two leads, it was nominated for the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

 

Starring Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw and Jeremy Irons, the BAFTA award-winning The Hollow Crown tells the story of three kings (Richard II, Henry IV & Henry V) and their battle for survival. Based on three of Shakespeare’s plays, it features superb performances and all the wit and poetry the plays are known for.

 

Will you be celebrating this weekend? Let us know your plans in the comments below.