Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Hollow Crown - Henry VI

So, 4 years after the BBC's first 'Hollow Crown' series, comprising Richard II, Henry IV Pts 1 and 2, and Henry V, they have finally completed, and are showing, the second series, which will, over three 2 hour films, cover Henry VI parts 1-3, and Richard III.

I've been looking forward to this, as the first set were so good, and of course there are lots of good actors involved (Judi Dench, for example, Sophie Okonedo, and of course Benedict Cumberbatch as the dastardly Richard III, but Ben and Judi haven't shown up yet...) 

 Tom Sturridge  and Sophie Okonedo
 (c) Robert Viglasky/BBC/Carnival Film & Television Ltd
I have seen the plays before - the Globe Theatre did all 3 parts of Henry VI in 2013, and I saw them on tour (ad blogged about it here), and they are not, in my view, Shakespeare's best work, but so far I am enjoying what  Dominic Cooke is doing with them. The three plays are compressed into 2, 2 hour episodes, so a good deal is cut,and there are some changes -  but what is left works well.

In this first episode, we have already had the rise and fall of Joan of Arc (Laura Frances-Morgan), the nobilty of England picking roses to declare which side of the coming they will be on, and Richard of York (not that one. his father) putting himself forward as the rightful King (which of course, arguably he was, what with that Bolingbroke having usurped the crown rather than waiting for his older cousin to do so. . .)

Sophie Okonedo is superb as Queen Margaret, I'm looking forward to seeing more of her, and Tom Sturridge, is wonderfully ineffectual as King Henry VI.

There's also some particular local interest for me - some of the filming took place in Wells, and spotting parts of Wells Cathedral, standing in for Henry's palace, adds to the fun!

I can't wait for the next  episode! This is why I love the BBC!

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