William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has reached a sticking point for the plot of his latest play, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter.

Rival writer Christopher Marlowe has a few suggestions, but it’s only when Shakespeare meets the beautiful Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) that he becomes truly inspired…

Mixing wisecracks, a huge number of literary in-jokes (especially at Marlowe’s expense) and two splendid star turns, this ebullient romcom is part period spoof, part love story and all entertainment. It won seven Oscars, including one for Paltrow.

Ben Affleck affects a commanding English accent as a top stage actor and Judi Dench’s Elizabeth I adds a royal seal of approval to a keen supporting cast, which includes Colin Firth, Martin Clunes and Geoffrey Rush.

Even the old ‘show must go on’ cliché gets a witty new lease of life and the scenic ending is a gem.