Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, is presented as the real author of Shakespeare’s works. Edward's life is followed through flashbacks from a young child, through to the end of his life.
He is portrayed as a child prodigy who writes and performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a young Queen Elizabeth I (Joely Richardson) with whom he has an affair (and a child).
Forty years later he continues to write but his plays are being performed as the work of a frontman – Shakespeare. Then events surrounding Essex’s rebellion force him to see Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) again.
Björn Rehbein was the key makeup artist; Heike Merker was the key hair stylist.
Matthew Smith (Matthew Smith Prosthetics Ltd) was the prosthetic makeup designer (Vanessa Redgrave).