Performance (1992– )
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King Lear 

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »


Richard Eyre


Richard Eyre (adaptation), William Shakespeare (play)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Rhys ... Edgar
Finbar Lynch ... Edmund
Timothy West ... Gloucester
David Burke ... Kent
Barbara Flynn ... Goneril
Amanda Redman ... Regan
Victoria Hamilton ... Cordelia
David Lyon David Lyon ... Albany
Michael Simkins ... Cornwall
Ian Holm ... Lear
Martin Chamberlain Martin Chamberlain ... Lear's Knight
Adrian Irvine Adrian Irvine ... France
Nicholas R. Bailey ... Burgundy
William Osborne William Osborne ... Oswald
Michael Bryant ... Fool


King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly flatter the old man in return for favor, he banishes her and turns for support to his remaining daughters. But Goneril and Regan have no love for him and instead plot to take all his power from him. In a parallel, Lear's loyal courtier Gloucester favors his illegitimate son Edmund after being told lies about his faithful son Edgar. Madness and tragedy befall both ill-starred fathers. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

11 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of The Tragedy of King Lear Part 1 (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't bother.
28 July 2008 | by west_cavalloSee all my reviews

Having had to watch this production several times for Year 12 English (like a few others commenting here), I have been over its every detail, and can still find very little redeeming qualities. Eyre clearly delves into the ideas revolving around family and betrayal, but disregards what many would call the most important themes of the play (including the role of the divine and the monarchy). This serves to turn what should be a striking and thought-provoking play into a daytime drama.

This isn't helped by the acting. Much of the cast overacts and no one seems to understand the concept of being quietly angry - the excessive shouting will unfailingly give you a headache (which completely ruins the part in the last scene where Rhys as Edgar starts screaming in emotional agony, an otherwise moving moment). Ironically, in the storm scene (which is meant to be moving and a turning point for the characters) not one word can be understood over the weather.

The boring sets are no doubt there for some form of visual symbolism, but all they really do is detract from the film. They give the sense of watching something that is trying too hard not to be a play but at the same time trying just as hard not to be a movie, which leaves the set design looking sloppy and haphazard.

The two brothers do well enough, but the sisters are entirely mis-directed in a confusing display of violently changing emotion, so that a real sense of character can't be established. Timothy West and David Burke are excellent, Ian Holm has his moments amongst the shouting, and Michael Bryant is a good Fool if you can get over the initial shock of him being about the same age as Lear (although perhaps this is a shallow criticism). But on the whole, you would be much better seeking out a different version to watch (try the Russian one).

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