Backing up the world-wide interest (the series has gone out in 50 countries) which they have generated, an exhibition of the animation techniques used in their production was opened this month by the Prince of Wales in the Shakespeare Centre at Stratford-upon-Avon.
The exxhibition, beautifully designed, with plenty of circulation space and careful thought for the eye levels of visitors of all ages, puts on show a wide range of sets, models and drawings.
The programmes were brought to life by directors and animators of Russia's "Christmas Films" using a variety of techniques, all of which are shown in the exhibition. Olga Titova's beautiful and subtly characterised stop-motion puppets for The Taming of the Shrew for example, are seen in a stage setting depicting the moment when Kate sees her wedding dress.
Also on display in appropriate settings are the equally beguiling characters made by Helena Livanova for The Winter's Tale and The Tempest.
On the walls are original storyboards - that for King Richard III is particularly interesting - and also the original "cells" for some of the drawn animations, of which Julius Caesar is a fine example. This superb display not only adds another dimension to enjoyment of the plays and the S4C animated versions, but it explains the processes of animation - something in which many schools are interested.
The Animated Shakespeare Exhibition.will be at the Shakespeare Centre until next spring. For booking details write to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW.