The ZDF Enterprises documentary "The Shakespeare Enigma" is the first high-gloss program of its kind to examine a highly controversial topic: Who was William Shakespeare, and did he write the works we associate with his name?
Among the most interesting candidates advanced by scholars as the "real" dramatist is Christopher Marlowe, a successful author and secret agent of Queen Elizabeth I. Shakespeare's first plays weren't performed until after Marlowe's early death in 1593 at the age of 29 in a sordid pub brawl in Deptford, by the River Thames, East of London. Until now this has seemed to rule out Marlowe as a candidate for the writer of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear. But in this new documentary, biography and history specialists Atlantis-Film explore a fascinating and revolutionary thesis: Christopher Marlowe faked his own death to avoid arrest and possible execution by Elizabeth I's ministers. This freed him to devote his life to literature, using actor-manager William Shakespeare as his straw man drawing on his own life's experiences for at least some of his subject matter!
High-budget re-enactments and shooting on original locations sketch an image of the golden age of Elizabethan theater. And scholars from various fields weigh in on the question of Shakespeare's secret.