The Hollow Crown (2012– )
12 user 3 critic

Richard II 

The incompetent Richard II is deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and undergoes a crisis of identity once he is no longer king.


Rupert Goold


Rupert Goold (screenplay), Ben Power (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David Bradley ... Gardener
Richard Bremmer ... Abbot of Westminster
Daniel Boyd ... Groom
Peter De Jersey ... Lord Ross
Lindsay Duncan ... Duchess of York
Tom Goodman-Hill ... Sir Stephen Scroop
Harry Hadden-Paton ... Sir Henry Green
Tom Hughes ... Duke of Aumerle
Ferdinand Kingsley ... Sir John Bushy
Rory Kinnear ... Bolingbroke
Isabella Laughland ... The Queen's Serving Lady
Finbar Lynch ... Lord Marshall
Rhodri Miles ... Welsh Captain
David Morrissey ... Earl of Northumberland
Lucian Msamati ... Bishop of Carlisle


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 welcomes 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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

20 September 2013 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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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 »


King Richard: Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs. Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. Let's choose executors and talk of wills. And yet not so. For what can we bequeath , save our deposed bodies to the ground? Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's. And nothing can we call our own but death. And that small model of the barren earth wich serves as paste and cover to our bones. For god's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the ...
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Followed by The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Richard II-Human weakness
29 April 2016 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Richard II is one of the plays that tends not to be made too often hence the unfamiliarity although some of the lines are familiar.

This adaptation by Rupert Goold for the BBC's Hollow Crown series is not staged bound as it has been opened out with location scenes and even some grisly scenes of be headings.

The opening is the key although in order to get a gist of the story I did take a look at Wikipedia before I watched this in case the Shakespearean text confused me.

Richard II hears accusations of treason from Henry, Duke of Purford against Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. Richard II orders them to make peace which they refuse to do. A joust is arranged but Richard II stops them at the last moment and then exiles both men from England.

Henry for ten years and Thomas Mowbray for life. Irrationally Henry's sentence is reduced to four years maybe because not to upset John of Gaunt, Henry's uncle who is also the King's relative.

The way the king has dealt with the matter in a scenario where he has been under suspicion himself from John of Gaunt at least for the way he wrested the crown himself shows up his deficiencies.

Richard waited until the last moment to stop the joust. His differing terms of banishment for both men looks odd especially as he reduced Henry's term even further. He appears high handed, conceited, weak and indecisive.

Ben Whishaw's King Richard II is younger here and rather fey but he also is petulant, vain and duplicitous but also fond of sad soliloquies such as telling sad tales of kings. It is like he realises he too may be violently deposed one day.

Rory Kinner's Henry is strong, loyal and straightforward but his treatment at the beginning by Richard II sets him on a course to take the crown of him.

The setting here includes castles, churches and the coast with costumes that seem to have a North African influence.

The film has enjoyable action and verve as Goold knew he had to make it less stage bound as possible although it does look like a lesser budget television movie than a feature film.

Of course the text is not easy to follow, the words are over 500 years old so you looking to get the gist of the story followed by the action, mood as well as the language delivered by the actors in a style that looks it comes across as natural to them. It helps that there are veterans such as Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, David Bradley and Lindsay Duncan mixing it with the younger actors.

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