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Anonymous is out in cinemas this week, revealing the truth about William Shakespeare’s identity. If by truth you mean “silly rumours that have no basis in reality unless you spend all day blowing things up in Photoshop".

But while its theories are so ridiculous that no-one could ever take its conspiracies seriously, some people are. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, bless them, are so riled by Roland Emmerich’s bit of nonsense that they’ve started a campaign to remove Shakespeare from all road signs in Warwick. And they all seemed like such rational people when I was studying English in Birmingham.

"This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked," the Trust's head of research, Paul Edmondson, told the Guardian.

As a Shakespeare nut, I'm just pleased to see any film (no matter how daft) getting people talking about old Bill. But just for those who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare and will supposedly believe any old guff, allow us to lay some true historical non-facts on your face.  


Here are five people who could have been Shakespeare:

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Rhys Ifans, Anonymous - review, London Film Festival
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Rafe Spall, Vanessa Redgrave

That Shakespeare didn't write the plays he's credited with is not a new idea. The fact that disaster movie veteran Emmerich has made a film about it is quite honestly bizarre. The film posits that Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford (Ifans), is the true author of Shakespeare's work; as a nobleman, it would, of course, be unseemly for Oxford to be publishing his work. And so he badger's Benjamin Johnson into performing his plays as part of a cunning plan to sway the populous and get ailing Queen Elizabeth (Redgrave) to name the Earl of Essex heir and wrest the crown away from Scottish King James.

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Anonymous - press conference, London Film Festival

Anonymous: a film is so ridiculous that it would be hard to take anything around it seriously.

Despite this, the Stratford crowd have gone crazy in advance of Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare-couldn't-actually-write drama, covering up the statue of old Bill and crossing out the Bard's name on pubs.

But unbeknownst to them, at the 55th BFI London Film Festival, there were far more shocking secrets being unearthed in screen 8 of the Vue West End.

Here are six scandalous rumours revealed at the Anonymous press conference:

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It’s only a few weeks until the London Film Festival returns for its 55th year. Of course, everyone’s raving about the must-see films, from George Clooney in The Ides of March to Steve McQueen’s second film, Shame.

But if you’re only in the capital for a weekend or an afternoon, forget about Clooney’s two-pronged attack, Rachel Weisz's double-decker, or the Michael Fassbender naked sandwich.

Here are 12 other double-bills you should see at the LFF:

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