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The Hollow Crown

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S1-E4 The Hollow Crown - Henry V

S1-E4 The Hollow Crown - Henry V

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Review

Television directors have a tough time with Shakespeare. In the theatre, the audience has the immediacy of the spectacle, so they make leaps of faith. “Can this cockpit hold 
the vasty fields of France?”, wonders the opening Chorus of Henry V (played here by John Hurt). And the answer is, it can if the audience believes it can.

On screen, though, we expect to see the battlefields, the massed armies, the charging knights. Fine if you have a Hollywood budget and a few thousand extras. But BBC2 is caught between stage and big screen, not a “wooden O” but a glass oblong, and when King Henry “visits all his host” on the eve of Agincourt, we’re painfully aware that he barely seems to have enough men to form a football squad let alone an army.

The impressive thing about this production is that it rises above those problems and concentrates on one thing TV can do brilliantly – conjure up a mood. So by the time Hal (Tom Hiddleston) gets to the St Crispin’s Day speech (“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...”) we’re lost in the power of the play’s language. It’s one of many moving moments in a beautifully mounted production.

Summary

Tom Hiddleston stars in this adaptation of Shakespeare's play about the 15th-century king. Following his youthful trials, Henry V has grown to become a respected monarch, but faces the greatest test of his reign when he is challenged by the French Dauphin. Attempts at diplomacy fail, prompting Henry to lay siege to the Normandy town of Harfleur - before engaging in a bloody battle at Agincourt that will define his reign. With John Hurt, Paterson Joseph, Anton Lesser, Lambert Wilson and Richard Griffiths.

Cast & Crew

Henry V Tom Hiddleston
Mistress Quickly Julie Walters
The Chorus John Hurt
Alice Geraldine Chaplin
Thomas Erpingham Paul Freeman
Bardolph Tom Georgeson
Duke of Burgundy Richard Griffiths
Duke of York Paterson Joseph
Westmoreland James Laurenson
Exeter Anton Lesser
Pistol Paul Ritter
Archbishop of Canterbury Malcolm Sinclair
Captain Fluellen Owen Teale
Princess Katherine Melanie Thierry
Charles, King of France Lambert Wilson
Louis, the Dauphin Edward Akrout
Corporal Nym Tom Brooke
Montjoy Jeremie Covillaut
The Constable of France Maxime Lefrancois
Duke of Orleans Stanley Weber
Williams Gwilym Lee
Earl of Salisbury Richard Clothier
Bishop of Ely Nigel Cooke
John Bates John Dagleish
Falstaff's boy George Sargeant
Adapted By Thea Sharrock
Adapted By Ben Power
Director Thea Sharrock
Producer Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Writer William Shakespeare
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