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King Charles III

  • Documentary

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.

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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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.

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Credits

Cast

rolename
King Charles IIITim Pigott-Smith
Kate MiddletonCharlotte Riley
WilliamOliver Chris
HarryRichard Goulding
Prime MinisterAdam James
JessTamara Lawrance
CamillaMargot Leicester
James ReissTim McMullan
Mrs StevensPriyanga Burford
DianaKatie Brayben
PaulNyasha Hatendi
Archbishop of CanterburyJohn Shrapnel
SpencerParth Thakerar
SpeakerIan Redford
CoottseyMax Bennett
BobTom Mothersdale
Sir MatthewRupert Vansittart

Crew

rolename
DirectorRupert Goold
Executive producerRupert Goold
Executive producerMike Bartlett
Executive producerRoanna Benn
Executive producerGreg Brenman
ProducerSimon Maloney
WriterMike Bartlett

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