The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses - Henry VI Part I

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The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses - Henry VI Part I

Series 2

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Review

With the best will in the world, nobody would cite the three parts of Henry VI as the best Will in the world. So credit to BBC2 for seeing through the Shakespeare sequence it began in 2012 with that superb run of Richard II through to Henry V. This is tougher material, and it has been reshaped with some masterly cut and paste (to the extent that the first words we hear are lifted from Troilus and Cressida).

King Henry himself is a naive teenager, out of his depth. He tries to smooth over rivalries among his nobles, but it is their bloody manoeuvres that dominate the action. “Civil dissension is a viperous worm/That gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth,” complains the young king, but the worm keeps gnawing.

His squabbling nobles are played by a fabulous cast: Hugh Bonneville as elder statesman Gloucester; Adrian Dunbar as growling hothead Plantagenet; and best of all, Ben Miles as smouldering malcontent Somerset, who more or less steals the show.

Summary

New series. The critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare's historical plays returns, with three more star-studded films covering the events of Henry VI Parts One, Two and Three, and Richard III, all of which deal with events surrounding the bloody civil conflict known as the War of the Roses. In the midst of the Hundred Years War, as English forces seek to conquer France, the charismatic King Henry V dies, leaving his infant son to take the crown. Seventeen years later, the realm is under the protection of the Duke of Gloucester and the teenage Henry VI. However, bitter defeat in France cause unrest in Henry's court, as the young monarch seeks to mitigate his losses by marrying the formidable Margaret of Anjou, whose introduction as the new queen only exacerbates already escalating quarrels. Amid the turmoil, the ambitious noble Plantagenet learns of his own strong claim to the English crown, sowing the seeds of conflict between the houses of York and Lancaster. Drama, starring Tom Sturridge, Sophie Okonedo, Hugh Bonneville, Adrian Dunbar and Michael Gambon.

Cast & Crew

Gloucester Hugh Bonneville
Plantagenet Adrian Dunbar
Mortimer Michael Gambon
Talbot Philip Glenister
Eleanor Sally Hawkins
Exeter Anton Lesser
Somerset Ben Miles
Margaret Sophie Okonedo
Henry VI Tom Sturridge
Warwick Stanley Townsend
Suffolk Jason Watkins
Bishop of Winchester Samuel West
Sir William Lucy Tom Beard
John Talbot Max Bennett
Dauphin Charles Tom Byam Shaw
Murderer Sean Cernow
Joan's mother Pandora Colin
Joan of Arc Laura Frances-Morgan
Brakenbury John Mackay
Vernon Stuart McQuarrie
Basset Matthew Needham
Young Cecily Lucy Robinson
Duke of Anjou David Troughton
Adapted By Ben Power
Adapted By Dominic Cooke
Director Dominic Cooke
Producer Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Writer William Shakespeare
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Drama