Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville and Keeley Hawes join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC2’s The Hollow Crown

Sophie Okonedo, Sally Hawkins and Tom Sturridge have also signed up for the second run of Shakespeare adaptations

A host of famous faces will be joining Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in the second run of Shakespeare adaptations The Hollow Crown.


We already knew that Cumberbatch was poised to play Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, a three-parter which will consist of Henry VI parts 1 and 2 and Richard III, but the BBC has now confirmed that he’ll be acting alongside stars such as Judi Dench, Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins. 

In Richard III, Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo and Keeley Hawes will star as Cecily, Duchess of York, Queen Margaret and Queen Elizabeth respectively. 

Cumberbatch is sure to be pleased that Dench has signed on, after he asked her if she’d join the drama during a live Q&A at Hay Festival. 

Henry VI parts 1 and 2 will see Hugh Bonneville play Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester and Sally Hawkins take on the role of his wife Eleanor, while Tom Sturridge will play an unknown role. 

“To have the chance to work with some of Britain’s most talented actors is a dream come true. We couldn’t be more delighted to have them on board,” said executive producer Pippa Harris. 

BBC drama commissioning controller Ben Stephenson added: “Building on the critical success of The Hollow Crown, this extraordinary cast and production team will raise the bar of British drama once more and build on BBC Two’s reputation for distinctive drama.” 

The first Hollow Crown series, which aired in 2012, told the stories of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. The Bafta award-winning series starred Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston. 


The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses will be also be executive produced by Bond director Sam Mendes.