When is BBC2’s King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins on TV?

Everything you need to know about the BBC's King Lear adaptation which also features Emma Thompson, Emily Watson and Florence Pugh

Anthony Hopkins plays King Lear

From the first scene of director Richard Eyre’s modern-dress version of King Lear, where Lear (played by Anthony Hopkins) rashly divides Britain between his daughters, the scene is set for a tense, harrowing and shockingly believable adaptation.

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Here’s everything you need to know about BBC2’s King Lear.

What time is King Lear on TV?

King Lear is on BBC2 at 9.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 2018.

What’s it about?

The Shakespeare adaptation begins with Hopkins’ King Lear holding court in the Tower of London, when he decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, with the size of each portion dependant on how well the women express their devotion to him. As he invites them each to plead their case, what ensues sets the backdrop to a violent and chilling tale that has enthralled audiences for centuries.

The moment is teased in the latest trailer for the BBC2 drama, which apparently sees Lear admiring a statue that bears a resemblance to himself, before taking a pen and drawing lines across a map of England. He then entreats his favourite daughter, Cordelia (played by Florence Pugh) to “speak” her affection for him – and satisfy his vanity.


See the new teaser trailer for King Lear, starring Anthony Hopkins


Emma Thompson and Apple Tree Yard’s Emily Watson are impressively heartless as sisters Goneril and Regan, while Jim Broadbent nails the play’s other “foolish, fond old man”, Gloucester.

The tale speaks to intergenerational unfairness, and Hopkins is as impressive at Lear’s most arrogant as he is in his wretched decline.

Who is in the cast?

See below for a list of the major players:

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Lear – Anthony Hopkins
Goneril – Emma Thompson
Regan – Emily Watson
Earl of Gloucester – Jim Broadbent
Cordelia – Florence Pugh
Earl of Kent – Jim Carter
Edger – Andrew Scott
Edmund – John Macmillan
Duke of Cornwall – Tobias Menzies
Duke of Albany – Anthony Calf
Fool – Karl Johnson
Oswald – Christopher Eccleston