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The Hollow Crown 

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A mini-series of adaptations of Shakespeare's history plays: Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V.
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Series cast summary:
Anton Lesser ...  Exeter 4 episodes, 2012-2016
Simon Russell Beale ...  Falstaff 3 episodes, 2012
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ...  Bardolph 3 episodes, 2012
John Mackay ...  Brakenbury 3 episodes, 2016
Tom Hiddleston ...  Prince Hal / ... 3 episodes, 2012
Sophie Okonedo ...  Margaret 3 episodes, 2016
James Laurenson ...  Westmoreland 3 episodes, 2012
Tom Sturridge ...  Henry VI 3 episodes, 2016
Julie Walters ...  Mistress Quickly 3 episodes, 2012
Alun Armstrong ...  Northumberland 2 episodes, 2012
Will Attenborough ...  Gloucester 2 episodes, 2012
Conrad Asquith Conrad Asquith ...  Bracy 2 episodes, 2012
Benedict Cumberbatch ...  Richard / ... 2 episodes, 2016
Ben Daniels ...  Buckingham 2 episodes, 2016
Alan David Alan David ...  Bishop of Ely 2 episodes, 2016
Adrian Dunbar ...  Plantagenet 2 episodes, 2016
Ian Conningham ...  Peto 2 episodes, 2012
James Fleet ...  Hastings 2 episodes, 2016
Phoebe Fox ...  Anne 2 episodes, 2016
David Dawson ...  Poins 2 episodes, 2012
Drew Dillon Drew Dillon ...  Drawer 2 episodes, 2012
Michelle Dockery ...  Kate Percy 2 episodes, 2012
Barney Harris ...  Ned 2 episodes, 2016
Henry Faber Henry Faber ...  Lancaster 2 episodes, 2012
Keeley Hawes ...  Queen Elizabeth 2 episodes, 2016
Stuart McQuarrie ...  Vernon 2 episodes, 2016
John Heffernan ...  Francis 2 episodes, 2012
Ben Miles ...  Somerset 2 episodes, 2016
Matthew Needham Matthew Needham ...  Basset 2 episodes, 2016
Jeremy Irons ...  Henry IV 2 episodes, 2012
Lucy Robinson Lucy Robinson ...  Young Cecily 2 episodes, 2016
Paul Ritter ...  Pistol 2 episodes, 2012
Stanley Townsend ...  Warwick 2 episodes, 2016
Maxine Peake ...  Doll Tearsheet 2 episodes, 2012
Jo Stone-Fewings ...  Stanley 2 episodes, 2016
Geoffrey Streatfeild Geoffrey Streatfeild ...  Edward IV 2 episodes, 2016
Dominic Rowan ...  Coleville 2 episodes, 2012
Jason Watkins ...  Suffolk 2 episodes, 2016
Matthew Tennyson ...  Clarence 2 episodes, 2012
Sam Troughton ...  George 2 episodes, 2016
Samuel Valentine Samuel Valentine ...  Grey 2 episodes, 2016
Al Weaver ...  Rivers 2 episodes, 2016
Jamie Ballard Jamie Ballard ...  Grieving Son / ... 2 episodes, 2016


New adaptations of Shakespeare's tetralogy of history plays comprising the "Henriad" for the BBC's 2012 Cultural Olympiad: King Richard II; King Henry IV, Part 1; King Henry IV, Part 2; King Henry V. The plays chronicle a continuous period in British history from the end of the fourteenth century to the aftermath of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Together, the plays comprise a story with recurring themes of power struggles, redemption, family conflict, and betrayal. Written by PKemp

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Drama | History


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Release Date:

20 September 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den ihåliga kronan See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Henry VI, a Plantagenet commissioned schools for the underprivileged, but Cromwell closed some of them down, over rumors of degeneracy. See more »


Featured in Henry VI: Part I, Deleted Scenes (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Far from hollow
6 September 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'The Hollow Crown' consisted of seven adaptations and two seasons. Season 1 (the Henriad tetralogy) featuring 'Richard II', both parts of 'Henry IV' and 'Henry V', and Season 2 (War of the Roses) 'Henry VI' parts 1 and 2 and 'Richard III'. Both seasons are well worth seeing, the former actually being a must-watch, and the series is fascinating for seeing filmed productions of Shakespeare's historical plays and on the most part very high quality ones too.

It really is a great way to get acquainted with the plays, to see how Shakespeare can be performed well and seeing the lesser known ones (ie. 'Henry VI'). In case anybody's interested too, the late 70s-early 80s BBC Television Shakespeare series, that also features all the historical plays, is worth a view. The visual quality and production values are lower but they are faithfully done, interesting, tasteful and on the most part well acted, though do prefer all 'The Hollow Crown's' versions of the plays over those in that series. Of the two seasons, Season 1 for me comes off better but there is a huge amount to admire about both seasons and all the productions.

Not everything in 'The Hollow Crown' to me worked. The St Crispins Day speech in 'Henry V' (my least favourite of the first season but still very good, 'Richard II' and both parts of 'Henry IV', especially Part 2, were outstanding though), one of Shakespeare's most powerful moments, was too anaemic and restrained when it should rouse. Some of the battles came over as under-populated and needed more intensity.

'Henry VI', both parts, is not going to appeal to all. Especially those that prefer their performances complete, as both parts are very truncated and it does at times affect the pacing and story (a bit rushed and jumpy in spots), and are not too fond of the uncompromising approach in Shakespeare. Actually liked that both parts pulled no punches and had a dark bold approach that mostly did not jar, with some powerfully brutal moments like Joan's exit but this approach was taken too far at times especially with Margaret. Just in case anybody is wondering, did like both parts on the most part very much especially Part 2 ('Richard III' though is for me by far the standout production of Season 2 and the best since 'Henry IV Part 2').

All seven productions are very well made. A lot of effort put into making the costumes and settings as evocative and detailed as possible, neither being too stark or too elaborate. The photography is often cinematic-like, expansive in places without being overblown and intimate in other places without being restricted. The music also achieves that balance, didn't find it over-scored.

Shakespeare's text, regardless of whether it's complete or truncated (the latter being the case with 'Henry VI'), has a lot of impact, most of the speeches sear with the one big exception being the St Crispins Day speech. Any comedy being genuinely funny with great comic timing (like with Falstaff, and it is not overdone or annoying) and the dramatic/tragic moments are powerful and moving (like the wordless moment with Hal on his father's throne). The series is directed in a way that doesn't come over as over-theatrical or static, much of it is tasteful and it doesn't feel too much of a filmed play. There is some great character interaction, like between Falstaff and Hal, Henry and Richard in 'Richard II' and Henry's dressing down of Hal (some tense stuff that).

Cannot say anything wrong with the performances. Standouts being Ben Whishaw's complex Richard II, Patrick Stewart's sincere Gaunt, Rory Kinnear's understated Henry, Jeremy Irons' anguished Henry IV (in a recent years role that shows how great an actor he is), Simon Russell Beale who was born for Falstaff, Tom Hiddleston's charismatic Hal/Henry V (prefer him as Hal), Melanie Thierry's touching Katherine, Sophie Okonedo's ruthless Margaret (am aware not everybody liked her casting though), Hugh Bonneville's nuanced Gloucester and Benedict Cumberbatch's machiavellian Richard III.

In a nutshell, an extremely good series and often fabulous with a few disappointments. 8/10

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