Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and the cast of The Hollow Crown gather for first read-through

Ben Daniels is announced as the Duke of Buckingham, joining Keeley Hawes, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Tom Sturridge and Sophie Okonedo in the BBC's Shakespeare plays


What happens when you gather Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench and Keeley Hawes all in one room? (What we’d give to learn the answer to that question first hand…) 


Well, it turns out the lucky folks at BBC2 enjoyed that very reality earlier this week when the cast of The Hollow Crown sat down for their first read-through ahead of the return of Shakespeare’s history plays. 

Starring Cumberbatch as Richard III, the three-part series will also feature Hugh Bonneville (as Humphrey of Lancaster), Sophie Okonedo (Queen Margaret), Sally Hawkins (Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester) and Tom Strurridge (Henry VI).

Dame Judi will appear as the Duchess of York while Hawes is to portray Elizabeth Woodville – with Ben Daniels also confirming that he has joined the cast to play the Duke of Buckingham. 

And while there are no photos of the cast reading their lines, we do have some snaps of the tables occupied by Cumberbatch & co as they took part. Note the roses in glasses to mark the warring Houses of York and Lancaster… 

The first cycle of The Hollow Crown plays aired on BBC2 in summer 2012 and starred Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Simon Russell Beale. The series won two Bafta Awards, for Whishaw and Russell Beale in the leading actor and supporting actor categories. 


The three new films will be shot in the UK this September, helmed by Dominic Cooke, former artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre.