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The First Part of King Henry VI (1983)

The First Part of Henry the Sixth (original title)
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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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Release Date:

2 January 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

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

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Trivia

Inspired by the notion that the political intrigues behind the Wars of the Roses often seemed like playground squabbles, Jane Howell and production designer Oliver Bayldon staged the four plays in a single set resembling a children's adventure playground. However, little attempt was made at realism. For example, Bayldon did not disguise the parquet flooring ("it stops the set from literally representing [...] it reminds us we are in a modern television studio"[158]), and in all four productions, the title of the play is displayed within the set itself (on banners in The First Part and The Second Part (where it is visible throughout the entire first scene), on a shroud in The Third Part, and written on a chalkboard by Richard himself in The Tragedy of Richard III). Many critics felt these set design choices lent the production an air of Brechtian verfremdungseffekt. See more »

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Followed by The Second Part of King Henry VI (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
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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