Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic titular monarch in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.
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Shakespeare's Richard II and Marlowe's Edward II were successful stage productions recorded in the studio for BBC Television in the early days of colour transmissions. At that time only the recently inaugurated BBC 2 channel was broadcasting in colour and the new TV sets were very expensive.
I was a university student at the time and watched these outstanding productions in the colour TV lounge in my hall of residence. I've remembered them vividly ever since, particularly the young Ian McKellen's highly charged and sensual performances in the title roles.
Those were less enlightened times and young Ian was still firmly 'in the closet' but to my youthful mind his gay sensibility was more than evident, especially in the role of Edward II.
These landmark productions are crying out for a DVD release.
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