The Hollow Crown: Season 1, Episode 1

Richard II (30 Jun. 2012)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, History
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 841 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

Fey,vain and foolish,young Richard initiates his downfall by banishing Henry Bolingbroke and the Earl of Mowbray as a resolution to their feud and then confiscating the lands of his uncle,... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
The Gardener
Daniel Boyd ...
Lord Ross
Harry Hadden-Paton ...
Isabella Laughland ...
The Queen's Serving Lady
Finbar Lynch ...
Lord Marshall
Rhodri Miles ...
Welsh Captain


Fey,vain and foolish,young Richard initiates his downfall by banishing Henry Bolingbroke and the Earl of Mowbray as a resolution to their feud and then confiscating the lands of his uncle,Bolingbroke's father John of Gaunt,on John's death,to pay for a war in Ireland which he loses. This angers many courtiers including the Duke of York,who welcome Bolingbroke back to England,where he executes Richard's flatterers. The king himself is soon taken prisoner and murdered in his cell. Bolingbroke,now proclaiming himself Henry IV,vows a pilgrimage to atone for his part in the regicide. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | History





Release Date:

30 June 2012 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Pembroke castle, the castle with the large tower in the film, was inherited by Richard the second following the death, in a jousting accident, of its owner John Hastings in 1389. Pembroke castle was the birthplace of the real King Henry 7th in 1457. See more »


Characters repeatedly mispronounce "Hereford" as "Hair-ford". The character is called "HERFORD" in the text. That is how Shakespeare wrote it and intended it to be said - the production is respecting that. Pronouncing it "Hereford" doesn't fit the poetic metre. Spellings and pronunciations were simply far more variable then. See more »


narrator: [as the episode begins, man's voice speaking... ] Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs, Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. Let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings. How some have been deposed; some slain in war; Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed; Some poisoned by their wives; some sleeping killed All murdered.
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Followed by The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Part 1 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Richard II: A bit overdrawn in the delivery, which stilts the flow
8 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I recorded all of the recent BBC presentations of these four plays and, as is the way, they sat on the harddrive while "easier" fare was watched in preference. I decided to start the films though because I had heard nothing but good things and, while I had seen some of them on stage or in other films, I don't think I had ever seen Richard II before. The plot here sees the fall of a rather aloof and effeminate Richard almost at his own hands, as his ill treatment of two men comes back on him in the form of a rebellion – a rebellion that his fey ways are unable to command sufficient loyalty to prevent. It leads to the crowning of a new King and leads into the next film Henry IV part 1.

As a story the film is pretty easy to follow, which for me is always a massive plus – that even those such as myself who struggle with Shakespeare's language when written, are aided in understanding and appreciation by the delivery. That was the case here and although I did not fully appreciate the significance of all scenes, I was more than able to follow the story. In terms of the language I was also able to keep up but there seemed to be something missing here from what I am used to finding from Shakespeare – the language. I'm not sure if this is part of the play or more down to this version of it, but for me the language did not quite have the energy and beauty that I have come to expect. Again I'm not sure if this is the play or the performance but everything did feel subdued and rather restrained – like it was trying so hard to tell a proper story that it seemed unwilling to do so with grand flourishes that contrast against the rather gritty and graceless fall of Richard II. As a result my ear didn't take to it as much as I expected and it didn't grip me in the way his language often does.

The cast's delivery is part of this but they do as directed and are good whether it is for the best or not. So, for example, I thought Whishaw was a good Richard because he was weak, conceited, disconnected and fey; problem was that he does these things so well that he is hard to be interested in as a person because he is little more than these characteristics. Kinnear is too sturdy to capture anger and passion and the supporting players may all do well but nobody adds fire to the play (although it is good to see Suchet, Purefoy, Morrissey and others).

So, again I stress that this play was new to me and as a result i may be picking on the film for doing what all version have done, but for me this was a bit too long and lacking in the sharp edge and quick colour that I expect from Shakespeare. The performances seem folded in a little bit, playing very much to the seriousness of the piece and this does make it feel a bit heavy and leaden at times. It was an engaging story though and the production values were high, but I did wish it had more passion and energy in there.

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