The Hollow Crown (2012–2016)
8 user 1 critic

Henry VI Part 2 

Five years on the country is in the midst of civil war with Suffolk and Buckingham among the casualties at the battle of St Albans and the triumphant Plantagenet claiming the throne for the... See full summary »


Dominic Cooke


Ben Power




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Armstrong ... Grieving Father
Jamie Ballard Jamie Ballard ... Grieving Son
Archie Bradfield Archie Bradfield ... Young Ned
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Richard
Ben Daniels ... Buckingham
Alan David Alan David ... Bishop of Ely
Adrian Dunbar ... Plantagenet
James Fleet ... Hastings
Phoebe Fox ... Anne
Mariah Gale ... Lady Bona
Christopher Godwin Christopher Godwin ... Shepherd II
Tom Godwin Tom Godwin ... Shepherd I
Barney Harris ... Ned
Keeley Hawes ... Queen Elizabeth
Angus Imrie ... Edmund


Five years on the country is in the midst of civil war with Suffolk and Buckingham among the casualties at the battle of St Albans and the triumphant Plantagenet claiming the throne for the Yorkists. To avoid further bloodshed Henry agrees to make Plantagenrt his heir on his death, angering queen Margaret, who shocks her husband with a violent counter action. However the Yorkists triumph with Edward IV crowned king. Henry, descending into madness, is imprisoned in the Tower of London whilst Margaret and her son seek sanctuary in France. Yet Edward is not without his opponents, led by Margaret, whom he routs at the battle of Tewkesbury, aided by his brothers George, Duke of Clarence and Richard of Gloucester, a victory which will seal Henry's fate since Richard has ambitions of his own. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | History | War



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Did You Know?


Adrian Dunbar (Plantagenet) & Keeley Hawes (Queen Elizabeth) also worked together on Line of Duty (2012) as Ted Hastings & Lindsay respectively, as well as on Ashes to Ashes (2008) as Martin Summers & Alex Drake respectively. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening title doesn't appear until 14 minutes into the film. See more »

User Reviews

A far from bloodless war
16 August 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

All of William Shakespeare's history plays are at the least well worth reading and watching at least once, my personal favourite being the most famous one 'Richard III'. Which is why 'The Hollow Crown', both seasons but especially the first consisting of the Henriad tetralogy (with 'Henry V' being the one slight disappointment), is so highly recommended, its acclaimed reception being more than justified.

'Henry VI Part 1' was a very good start to the second season coined War of the Roses'. Found Part 2, which has the same strengths and not quite so good things, even better, found the performances even stronger, that it had more tension and it was a little more tasteful. Neither part of 'Henry VI' make the play a favourite of mine, but it is one of Shakespeare's darkest, longest and most difficult to perform and worth getting acquainted with regardless of whether it does much for you or not. It is again one of the least faithful adaptations of 'The Hollow Crown', with there being omissions/truncations in the text which can make the adaptation feel a touch rushed on occasions.

Visually, 'Henry VI Part 2' is very handsome, as can be expected with 'The Hollow Crown' series, with 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 anywhere which is so easy to do with such a big, bold approach to the material.

Shakespeare's text, even when not complete, is as poetic and thought-provoking as ever, while Dominic Cooke does wonderfully with not making the adaptation feel stagy or too much of a filmed play. Instead it's opened up without being too over-theatrical, it is often dark, bold stuff that doesn't jar that much with the material. The pull no punches direction of some scenes is hard to watch but also powerful and didn't find it that tasteless. There were times though to me where some of the uncompromising approach was taken too far.

The performances are even better here, and they were fantastic in the first part too. A big standout being Benedict Cumberbatch's goosebump-inducing Richard. Sophie Okonedo is very commanding without over-playing as Margaret, no mugging or looking bored in sight, her out-and-ahead-of-her-time portrayal is still interesting. Tom Sturridge is a charismatic and sincere Henry, while Ben Miles' Machiavellian Somerset stands out again. Adrian Dunbar plays Plantagenet with plenty of fire, and Keeley Hawes has seldom been more pert.

In conclusion, great and even better than the very good first part. If you don't like cuts and uncompromising approaches to material this won't be for you, but if you like something brilliantly made, compelling and with more than great performances this shouldn't be missed. 9/10

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Release Date:

18 December 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thirteen / WNET See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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