The Hollow Crown: Richard II

Confirmed for Saturday 30 June on BBC Two at 9.00pm - 11.20pm

Saturday 30 June



The Hollow Crown brings together four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare's History Plays: Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 & 2 and Henry V.

Beginning in the year 1399, this continuous story of monarchy captures 16 years of dynastic and political power play, as Kings, their families and followers are threatened by rebellion and conflict.

'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.' Henry IV.

The story takes us from the Royal Court at Westminster to battlefields in England and France. Each of these rich films is woven with the finest of Shakespeare’s poetry and are filmed using the architecture and landscape of the period.

King Richard is called upon to settle a dispute between his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. Richard calls for a duel, but then halts it just before swords clash. Both men are banished from the realm.

Richard visits John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke’s father, who, in the throes of death, reprimands the King. After seizing Gaunt’s money and lands, Richard leaves for wars against the rebels in Ireland. Bolingbroke returns to claim back his inheritance. Supported by his allies, Northumberland and the Duke of York, Bolingbroke takes Richard prisoner and lays claim to the throne.

Cast: Richard II is played by Ben Whishaw, Bolingbroke by Rory Kinnear, Mowbray by James Purefoy, John of Gaunt by Patrick Stewart, Northumberland by David Morrissey and Duke of York by David Suchet.