There is a (new) ten-episode series, called Will, depicting the "lost years" of Shakespeare and taking many liberties. Most of the adult characters are real: Robert Southwell , Francis Walsingham, Richard Topcliffe. Evidently it is possible to watch the episodes online.

There is one I have not been able to identify, an older man whom Marlowe regards with considerable affection, played by Julian Sands, and named Barrett Emerson; if real, his name, to history, might be Lord Something; he seemed wealthy, but quite ill. I have requested some books on Marlowe's friends (Christopher Marlowe: poet & spy and Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: journeys through the Elizabethan underground).

Added: Marlowe always says "My King" in speaking to this man, rather than using the name. In turn, Emerson always calls Marlowe "Wasp," rather than the "Kit" we would have expected. I don't know of anything about Marlowe that calls "wasp" to mind.

The question is, does anyone know who Barrett Emerson might have been, or know for sure that he is fictional?

  • I've gone through the books. There does not seem to be room for such a real person in Marlowe's life. As far as the TV series, the name Barrett Emerson is not spoken aloud until the tenth episode. Put it together, it would seem they wanted a fictional character to illuminate one aspect of Marlowe's personality. – Will Jagy Aug 5 '17 at 1:21
  • The website IMDB has caught up; in this episode they call the Sands character Marlowe's Lover imdb.com/title/tt6038944/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_4 while the page for Julian Sands ( see year 2017) also calls the character Barrett Emerson imdb.com/name/nm0001696 – Will Jagy Aug 13 '17 at 22:08

I thought he was vaguely patterned on Lord Strange, who was a mentor and ran the company which first produced Marlowe's work (and Henry VIs). Lord Strange was also in royal lineage via more distant relative, and was a slight threat to Elizabeth, ergo "my king". Strange was also poisoned, but died year after Marlowe, but I wonder if this was the basis for the fictional character of Anderson.

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  • Thank you. I had not thought of anything sensible for the "my king." I did think that the character ought to be patterned on someone older than Marlowe by a decade or two. Strange is mentioned, at greater length, in the third book I borrowed, Shakespeare, by the same historian Michael Wood who gives brief talks in the first episode intro. – Will Jagy Aug 8 '17 at 23:59
  • manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/… The university gives no email address for him, and he seems to still live in London. – Will Jagy Aug 9 '17 at 0:08
  • Could you explain why you suspect this character is patterned after Strange? – user111 Aug 9 '17 at 8:39

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