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The First Part of King Henry VI (1983)
"The First Part of Henry the Sixth" (original title)

TV Movie  |   |  2 January 1983 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 78 users  
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Title: The First Part of King Henry VI (TV Movie 1983)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Peter Aldwyn ...
John Alford ...
Master Gunner's Boy
Sean Bartley ...
...
Basset / French Sergeant
Peter Benson ...
Brian Binns ...
Gerald Blackmore ...
...
Stephen Brigden ...
Anthony Brown ...
...
...
Paul Chapman ...
Earl of Suffolk
Michael Cogan ...
...
Third Messinger to the King / Countess' Porter
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2 January 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part One  »

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Followed by Richard III (1983) See more »

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Superb exposition in a basic setting
7 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The BBC TV Shakespeare hadn't a lot to spend on settings, and none could be more basic than this, with rickety doors representing the gates of Orleans and other cities. There's also a lot of doubling, which means that, e.g., Tenniel Evans as the French general reappears within seconds as the brave Duke of Bedford. Yet the complex plot is unravelled with wonderful clarity, thanks to fine speaking which does full justice to the young Shakespeare's verse, shrewd casting and Jane Howells' spirited direction. Trevor Peacock's staunch Talbot, Frank Middlemass's baleful Wichester/ Cardinal Beaufort and David Burke's sturdy Gloucester, Lord Protector, stand out. Joseph O'Conor, veteran Derek Farr and Bernard Hill are excellent, and if Brenda Blethyn as Joan La Pucelle is too much the pantomime principal boy, she goes movingly to her terrible end. Peter Benson seems rather old for the supposedly youthful King Henry, but speaks beautifully. I can hardly wait for Part 2 (like this, now available on DVD).


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