The Hollow Crown is a lavish new series of filmed adaptations of four of Shakespeare’s most gripping history plays: Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V from Great Performances.
The series is completed with the premiere of Henry V on Friday, October 11 at 9 p.m. on West Virginia PBS.
The first three parts of this series are available free, at our on-demand video player. (Watch now.)
The films — chronicling a bloody tale of family, politics and power — tell the rise and fall of three kings and how their destiny shaped English history. Richard II (Ben Whishaw) is a vain, self-indulgent man who rules with little regard for his people’s welfare. He is ultimately overthrown by his cousin Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear), who ascends the throne as Henry IV (Jeremy Irons). Henry IV’s reign is marred by his own guilt over Richard’s death, civil war, and the gnawing fear that his son Hal (Tom Hiddleston) is a total wastrel unworthy of the throne. When Hal comes to the throne as Henry V, he is left to bury the ghosts of his father’s past while fighting both the French forces as well as his own inner demons.
The Hollow Crown features some of the most pre-eminent Shakespearean actors of our time. The kings are played by Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston respectively, supported by a phenomenal cast including Rory Kinnear, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, and David Morrissey in Richard II, Simon Russell Beale, Michelle Dockery, Julie Walters and Maxine Peake in Henry IV and John Hurt, Anton Lesser and Paterson Joseph in Henry V. The plays were filmed on location in England between summer 2011 and spring 2012 and are all set in their authentic medieval period.
An Educator's guide, maps and more available at Great Performances.