|I wrote this for the TVBarn website when this originally aired on PBS in January of 2002 (all links still work as of May 2002):
"Masterpiece Theater" presents a modern version of "Othello" on most PBS stations tonight. It covers some of the same issues as last week's "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" in a way that is different, but just as compelling.
John Othello becomes police commissioner of London after police kill an innocent black man. Ben Jago, his mentor, is overlooked for the promotion and seeks revenge.
Eamonn Walker who plays Kareem Said on "Oz" gives a powerful performance as Othello. Jago (Christopher Eccleston) is charming and evil as he addresses the audience directly.
Because it is presented as a police story and in conversational language by screenwriter Andrew Davies, it might reach people who haven't read Shakespeare since high school.
The website has a section showing how one scene was adapted from the play and other features. The film is a co-production between WGBH, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and ITV which aired it in England in December of 2001.