King Charles III

King Charles III
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Review

The late Tim Pigott-Smith’s powerful performance in this adaptation of Mike Bartlett’s verse play turned out to be his swansong, and a fitting one. He plays – without impersonating – a thoughtful King Charles facing a constitutional crisis in the aftermath of the Queen’s death.

In a bold device, the language is heightened and pseudo-Shakespearean, with dialogue in de-dum-de-dum iambic pentameter. And surprisingly, even on the small screen, it works.

The plot imagines how, under pressure from a bullying prime minister, Charles demurs at signing into law a bill to limit press freedom. Despite all he has been through (Diana’s ghost haunts the palace – literally), his conscience won’t let him: “The pen dries in my hand, I cannot write,” he tells the furious PM.

From there a beautifully controlled tragedy unfolds, with Charlotte Riley as a nicely scheming Kate and Oliver Chris convincing as William. The moment of parliamentary melodrama at the heart of the play is a belter of a scene and Pigott-Smith carries it superbly. We shall miss him.

Summary

Part-political drama, part-thriller offering a timely examination of contemporary Britain, adapted by Mike Bartlett from his Tony-nominated stage play. When the new King Charles refuses to sign a particular bill into law, a constitutional crisis is detonated, dividing the Royal family and threatening the very future of the monarchy. Starring Tim Pigott-Smith and Charlotte Riley.

Cast & Crew

King Charles III Tim Pigott-Smith
Kate Middleton Charlotte Riley
William Oliver Chris
Harry Richard Goulding
Prime Minister Adam James
Jess Tamara Lawrance
Camilla Margot Leicester
James Reiss Tim McMullan
Mrs Stevens Priyanga Burford
Diana Katie Brayben
Paul Nyasha Hatendi
Archbishop of Canterbury John Shrapnel
Spencer Parth Thakerar
Speaker Ian Redford
Coottsey Max Bennett
Bob Tom Mothersdale
Sir Matthew Rupert Vansittart
Director Rupert Goold
Executive Producer Rupert Goold
Executive Producer Mike Bartlett
Executive Producer Roanna Benn
Executive Producer Greg Brenman
Producer Simon Maloney
Writer Mike Bartlett
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