The Weekend's TV: Macbeth, Sun, BBC4
Take Me Out, Sat, ITV1

A thrilling tale full of sound and fury

Duncan was given the first word in Rupert Goold's television version of his own acclaimed production of Macbeth, not – as is more conventional – the witches.

We got martial music, archive footage of Katyusha rockets and T-34 tanks, a close up of a clutching hand and then "What bloody man is that?" as the king advanced down the corridor of a chaotic front-line clearing station towards the stretchered figure of the Sergeant, that helpfully garrulous casualty who brings us up to date with Macbeth's valour. And, if you grumbled at this point about Goold's peremptory excision of the supernatural in favour of applied historical concept, you probably weren't grumbling for long. As the lights in the corridor eerily dimmed one by one and the king and his retainers vanished, the medical sisters attending the wounded man revealed themselves as weird sisters too, one of them dispatching him with a lethal injection and another plunging a hand beneath his bandages to pull out his heart.

It was fair warning of what was to come – a violent, inventive, occasionally brutally invasive account of the play that had been comprehensively re-imagined for the screen. Goold and his cast won awards for the theatrical original, which travelled from Chichester to both the West End and Broadway. I don't think it's inconceivable that they might win an award for this version too, and if there was a Bafta category for Shakespeare Adaptation you could probably call the result now. There isn't such an award, of course, television Shakespeare not exactly being thick on the ground these days. But Goold's bloody Macbeth, vulgar in all the right ways (and a few of the wrong ones, it has to be said), showed exactly how to take advantage of a rare commission.

He had a terrific set in Welbeck Hall, a mothballed army training camp in a former country house, which supplied subterranean ballrooms, institutional kitchens and the kind of Lubyanka corridor that precisely suited his setting – a state collapsing in time of war into a Stalinist terror. But he used it thrillingly too, opening out his action with long perspectives while keeping a sense of the claustrophobic enclosure of the play. Barely a handful of scenes were played outdoors, and even Banquo's murder was enclosed, a secret-service execution carried out in rocking railway carriage by two trench-coated secret policemen. At the same time Goold used the camera to get in tight on his actors – so that soliloquies could be whispered in a furtive conspiracy of the self with the self – and on props that filled out his account of the play. When Lady Macbeth opens her dresser drawer we see – for just a second or two – a child's shoe that hints at an unhealed grief. And a tracking shot along a kitchen counter before the banquet offered a premonitory vista of dismemberment and violence, the cruelty before the feast.

The rapid cuts from scene to scene that television allows did occasionally cause problems too. At one moment Lady Macbeth (played with a pressure-cooker intensity by Kate Fleetwood) was invoking the night to "pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell/ That my keen knife see not the wound it makes". At the next she was revealed wiping down the kitchen tiles with a pair of black Marigolds on, a detail that suggested things had been a little tight in the Macbeth household. It wasn't the only miscalculation in the production. The decision to interrupt the banquet with a sudden unexplained game of musical chairs muddied the ghastly comedy of that scene, as etiquette struggles to contain eruptions of madness. But neither incongruity could really dull the force of Goold's version, or the strength of Patrick Stewart's performance as a man who wrenches his snagged conscience free, and then finds he has nothing to arrest his fall. As he contemplated the crime he was about to commit he stammered briefly before the words "deep damnation", as if he'd had a glimpse over the edge and his stomach had rolled with vertigo. When the end came Goold allowed himself another invention, squeezing a knife fight in between the two last words Macbeth speaks in the play. "And damned be him that first cries, 'Hold'," he shouted at Macduff, flailing and slashing at him before bringing him to his knees. And only then, with his opponent at his mercy, did he complete the line with the word "Enough", uttered in a tone of resignation and something like relief.

It was a word I used myself about five minutes into Take Me Out, a Saturday night dating show that takes a face-off you would expect to find in a Bangkok brothel – one male looking at 30 tartily dressed women – and reverses the power relationships. Essentially, they get to decide whether they fancy him, indicating whether they're still available or not with a light on the front of the lecterns they stand behind. Some of the lights go off the instant the prospective date appears, others flicker out after a series of short films reveal further details about him, with retirees and hopefuls being interrogated about their choices by Paddy McGuinness. Enough? Just in case you're still tempted to risk it, I might add that McGuinness introduces each round with lines such as "No likee, no lightee!" and "Let the Pinky see the Perky!", and that male contestants who succeed in extinguishing every light are escorted off-stage to a mass chorus of "All By Myself". More than enough, surely?

Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower