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The Third Part of Henry the Sixth (1983)

Following his father's early death and the loss of possessions in France young Henry VI comes to the throne, under the protection of the duke of Gloucester. He is unaware that there are ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Earl of Northumberland / 2nd Keeper / Huntsman
... Henry VI
Gerald Blackmore ... Second Company
... Lewis, King of France / Sir John Montgomery
... Marquess of Montague / Father that killed his son
Paul Chapman ... Earl Rivers
... Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Rowena Cooper ... Lady Elizabeth Grey, later Queen
... Duke of Somerset
... Lord Hastings
Mathew David ... Edmund, Earl of Rutland
... Earl of Oxford
... Messenger to York / First Keeper / First Watchman
... Duke of Exeter / Mayor of York
... Queen Margaret
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Storyline

Following his father's early death and the loss of possessions in France young Henry VI comes to the throne, under the protection of the duke of Gloucester. He is unaware that there are other claimants to the throne, Plantagent of York and Somerset of Lancaster, whose factions will ultimately cause the Wars of the Roses. Ignorant of the schisms Henry tries to unite them in the Hundred Years War, capturing Joan of Arc, before he marries Margaret of Anjou to unite England and France, but there is no dowry, angering the court. Margaret finds the pious Henry a dull husband and embarks upon an affair with Somerset as well as crossing Gloucester's wife Eleanor. When Gloucester is arrested for alleged treason because of Eleanor, Henry is too feeble to prevent his death or the country slipping into civil war.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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16 January 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

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

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the long running BBC Television Shakespeare project which ran between 1978 and 1985. See more »

Quotes

Earl of Warwick: Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong, And therefore I'll uncrown him ere't be long.
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User Reviews

 
An ignoble end
1 December 2013 | by See all my reviews

Peter Benson as Henry VI has his reign as well as himself come to an ignoble end in the third part Shakespeare's Henry VI. The ironic thing is that left to his own devices he would have given up the kingdom in a London minute. Henry VI had he his heart's wish would have preferred being a monk and slaving over obscure manuscripts and books. The apple sprung so far from the tree of Henry V that many wondered what tree it fell from.

That was part of the problem for his valiant son Edward the Prince of Wales played by Nick Reding. Many suspected his parentage even then, that Queen Margaret might have born Edward courtesy of the Duke of Suffolk killed off in Part 2. Julia Foster really ratchets up Margaret's character who is now fighting for her son's birthright and keeping the Lancaster cause alive. If she hadn't been around about 4 battles would not have been fought.

Those battles make Henry VI Part 3 one of Shakespeare's bloodiest plays and for a photographed stage play they are presented remarkably well. The audience gets a first hand account about what war in the 15th century was all about.

As for the House Of York. Duke Richard played by Bernard Hill who raised the claim the York line had on the throne is killed early on and so is his youngest son. After that the oldest son Edward is singleminded in his pursuit of the crown. He's also singleminded in pursuit of the Woodvilles who provide him with his Queen. That upsets all kinds of arrangements that Mark Wing-Davey the Earl of Warwick who is the most powerful and wealthy lord in the kingdom has made. He turns sides and nearly costs the York faction what fought so hard for.

Ron Cook who was briefly introduced as the future Richard III in Part 2 also reveals his malevolent character in this plays. Again the BBC plays when broadcast in America were shown chronologically and with the same players. For more than anyone else in this series it allowed Cook free reign to develop his character which he took full advantage of.

In fact Cook and Foster are who you will best remember from this final play in the Shakespeare trilogy about the reign of Henry VI.


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