Just finished the BBC Shakespeare's "Macbeth". It's a very clear, lucid reading of the play, and commendably so. But director Jack Gold's decision to forego any sense of "magic" in the various hallucinations the characters experience was unfortunate. The budgets on this series are clearly pretty low, but it wouldn't cost much at all to have an apparition of Banquo sitting at the table, would it? The sense of the supernatural needed to be a lot stronger; it kept the central issues of prophesy and destiny a bit off balance.
Jane Lapotaire was an excellent, sexy Lady Macbeth. Nicol Williamson started off well as Macbeth, although as the play went on he succumbed to melodrama and outright overacting. His wheezy intake of breath became quite distracting too. And his "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" was disappointing. The rest of the cast was solid, if unremarkable.
No doubt Macbeth must be a very difficult role for an actor to pull off, especially on camera. But in "Shakespeare Uncovered" I recently saw clips of the Patrick Stewart and Antony Sher versions, both of which looked intriguing. I've heard Ian McKellen's is excellent too. I'd like to check them all out.