Episode 1 of 4 (aired June 30th) on BBC 2
Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes
The Hollow Crown brings together four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s History Plays – Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. Starting in the year 1399, this continuous story of monarchy follows events during sixteen years of dynastic and political power play. Kings, with their families and followers, are threatened by rebellion and conflict.
The story takes us from the Royal Court at Westminster to battlefields in England and France. These rich films are woven with the finest of Shakespeare’s poetry and are filmed in the architecture and landscape of the period.
King Richard is called upon to settle a dispute between his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. Richard calls for a duel but then halts it just before swords clash. Both men are banished from the realm. Richard visits John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke’s father, who, in the throes of death, reprimands the king. After seizing Gaunt’s money and land, Richard leaves for wars against the rebels in Ireland. Bolingbroke returns to claim back his inheritance. Supported by his allies, Northumberland and the Duke of York, Bolingbroke takes Richard prisoner and lays claim to the throne. (download – large 1.2 gig)
Henry IV – Part 1 (airs July 7th) BBC2
Episode 2 of 4
Duration: 1 hour, 55 minutes
The heir to the throne, Prince Hal, defies his father, King Henry, by spending his time at Mistress Quickly’s tavern in the company of the dissolute Falstaff and his companions. The King is threatened by a rebellion led by Hal’s rival, Hotspur, his father Northumberland and his uncle Worcester. In the face of this danger to the state, Prince Hal joins his father to defeat the rebels at the Battle of Shrewsbury and kill Hotspur in single combat.