The Hollow Crown (TV series)

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The Hollow Crown
Hollow crown logo.jpg
Genre Historical drama
Based on Selected works of William Shakespeare's history plays
Directed by Rupert Goold
Richard Eyre
Thea Sharrock
Dominic Cooke
Starring Cycle I
Ben Whishaw
Jeremy Irons
Tom Hiddleston
Cycle II
Benedict Cumberbatch
Judi Dench
Sophie Okonedo
Michael Gambon
Angus Imrie
Music by Cycle I
Stephen Warbeck (2 episodes)
Adam Cork (1 episode)
Adrian Johnston (1 episode)
Cycle II
Dan Jones
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Sam Mendes
Producer(s) Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Running time Cycle I
Richard II (148 minutes)
Henry IV Part 1 (120 minutes)
Henry IV Part 2 (121 minutes)
Henry V (139 minutes)
Cycle II
Henry VI, Part 1 (111 minutes)
Henry VI, Part 2 (123 minutes)
Richard III (130 minutes)
Production company(s) Neal Street Productions
Original network BBC Two
Original release
  • 30 June 2012 (2012-06-30)
External links

The Hollow Crown is a series of British television film adaptations of William Shakespeare's history plays.

The first cycle is an adaptation of Shakespeare's second historical tetralogy, the Henriad: Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V,[1] starring Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston. Olivier Award winners Rupert Goold, Richard Eyre and Thea Sharrock directed the telefilms,[2] which were produced by Rupert Ryle-Hodges for BBC Two and executive produced by Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris under Neal Street Productions in association with NBCUniversal. The first series, which aired in the United Kingdom in 2012, received positive reviews from critics. Ben Whishaw and Simon Russell Beale won British Academy Television Awards for Leading actor and Supporting actor for their performances, and Jeremy Irons was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actor for his role as Henry IV. The first episode, Richard II, was nominated for the Best Single Drama at the BAFTAs.[3]

The BBC aired the concluding cycle in 2016 as The Hollow Crown – The Wars of the Roses, a reference to Wars of the Roses,[4] starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, Judi Dench and Michael Gambon.[5][6] The plays were produced in 2015 by the same team that made the first series of films but were directed by the former artistic director of Royal Court Theatre and Olivier Award winner, Dominic Cooke.[7] They are based on Shakespeare's first tetralogy: Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III.[8] The adaptation presents Henry VI in two parts, incorporating all three Henry VI plays.


List indicator(s)
  • This section shows characters which have appeared in more than one film.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
  • Italics indicates a non-speaking cameo
Role The Hollow Crown (2012) The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016)
Richard II Henry IV,
Part 1
Henry IV,
Part 2
Henry V Henry VI,
Part 1
Henry VI,
Part 2
Richard III
King Richard II Ben Whishaw
Henry Bolingbroke / King Henry IV Rory Kinnear Jeremy Irons
Queen Clémence Poésy
Edmund, Duke of York David Suchet
John of Gaunt Patrick Stewart
Earl of Northumberland David Morrissey Alun Armstrong
Duke of Aumerle / Duke of York Tom Hughes Patterson Joseph
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk James Purefoy
Joan, Duchess of York Lindsay Duncan
Prince Hal / King Henry V Tom Hiddleston
Sir John Falstaff Simon Russell Beale
Mistress Quickly Julie Walters
Henry 'Hotspur' Percy Joe Armstrong
Earl of Worcester David Hayman
Kate, Lady Percy Michelle Dockery
Justice Robert Shallow David Bamber
Lord Chief Justice Geoffrey Palmer
Prince John Henry Faber
Thomas, Duke of Exeter / Henry, Duke of Exeter Anton Lesser
Captain Fluellen Owen Teale
Montjoy Jérémie Covillault
King Charles VI of France Lambert Wilson
Catherine of Valois Mélanie Thierry
Duke of Orléans Stanley Weber
Alice Geraldine Chaplin
Louis, the Dauphin Edward Akrout
Chorus John Hurt
Queen Margaret Sophie Okonedo
Gloucester Hugh Bonneville
Duchess of Gloucester Sally Hawkins
King Henry VI Tom Sturridge
Richard of York / Plantagenet Adrian Dunbar
Vernon Stuart McQuarrie
Cecily, Duchess of York Lucy Robinson Judi Dench
Bishop of Winchester Samuel West
Warwick Stanley Townsend
Mortimer Michael Gambon
Somerset Ben Miles
Suffolk Jason Watkins
Talbot Philip Glenister
Duke of Anjou David Troughton
Joan of Arc Laura Frances-Morgan
Richard Plantagenet / King Richard III Benedict Cumberbatch
Queen Elizabeth Keeley Hawes
Edmund Plantagenet Angus Imrie
King Edward IV Geoffrey Streatfeild
Clarence Sam Troughton
Clifford Kyle Soller
Westmorland Richard Lynch
Buckingham Ben Daniels
Lady Anne / Queen Anne Phoebe Fox
Hastings James Fleet
King Louis Andrew Scott
Richmond / Henry VII Uncredited Luke Treadaway


From left to right: Ben Whishaw as Richard II, Jeremy Irons as Henry IV and Tom Hiddleston as Henry V
The second cycle of The Hollow Crown are based on Shakespeare's history plays about Henry VI (left) and Richard III (right).
Film Director Original air date
Richard II Rupert Goold 30 June 2012
Henry IV, Part 1 Richard Eyre 7 July 2012
Henry IV, Part 2 14 July 2012
Henry V Thea Sharrock 21 July 2012
Henry VI, Part 1 Dominic Cooke[9] 7 May 2016
Henry VI, Part 2 14 May 2016
Richard III 21 May 2016


The BBC scheduled the screening of Shakespeare's history plays as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, a celebration of British culture coinciding with the 2012 Summer Olympics.[10] Sam Mendes signed up as executive producer to adapt all four plays in September 2010.[11] He is joined as executive producer by Pippa Harris (both representing Neal Street Productions), Rupert Ryle-Hodges as producer, Gareth Neame (NBCUniversal), and Ben Stephenson (BBC).[12]

Parts of the series were filmed in Kent at Squerryes Court and Penshurst Place.[13]

The concluding cycle of plays were produced in 2015 by the same team that made the first series and were directed by Dominic Cooke. Richard III was played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Executive producer Pippa Harris stated, "The critical and audience reaction to The Hollow Crown series set the bar high for Shakespeare on screen, and Neal Street (Productions) is delighted to be making the concluding part of this great history cycle. By filming the ‘Henry VI’ plays as well as ‘Richard III,’ we will allow viewers to fully appreciate how such a monstrous tyrant could find his way to power, bringing even more weight and depth to this iconic character."[14]

Once again, the production returned to Kent for The Wars of The Roses, filming at Dover Castle, Leeds Castle and Penshurst Place.[15]


The first four plays aired on consecutive Saturday evenings on BBC Two between 30 June and 21 July 2012. The start time of Henry IV, Part 1 on 7 July was delayed by an hour because of coverage of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, and the play was shown a second time the following evening on BBC Four.[16] The plays were shown in the United States from 20 September to 11 October 2013 as part of the PBS Great Performances series.[17]

All four plays were shown again on consecutive evenings on BBC Four in April 2016 as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival commemorating the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death.

The second cycle of plays aired on consecutive Saturday evenings on BBC Two commencing Saturday 7 May 2016.[18][19]

Home media[edit]

The overseas and DVD rights for The Hollow Crown series are owned by NBC Universal.[20] A Region 2 DVD set of the four films was released on 1 October 2012.[21] A Region 1 DVD set was released on 17 September 2013.[22] A 2-disc DVD set of The Wars of the Roses was released on 20th June 2016.


The original music soundtrack from The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses composed by Dan Jones was released on the Wave Theory Records label in June 2016 and performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales[23][24]


Cycle I[edit]

Award Result Category Recipient
Music & Sound Awards 2013 Nominated Sound Design (TV Programme) The Hollow Crown
South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2013 Nominated Best TV Drama
Won Times Breakthrough Tom Hiddleston
Broadcasting Press Guild 2013 Won Best Single Drama The Hollow Crown
Nominated Best Actor Ben Whishaw
BAFTA Television Awards 2013 Won Leading Actor (Richard II)
Won Supporting Actor Simon Russell Beale (Henry IV Part 2)
Nominated Single Drama Richard II
RTS Programme Awards 2013 Won Single Drama
BAFTA Craft Awards 2013 Won Original Television Music Stephen Warbeck (Henry IV)
Won Sound (Fiction) Tim Fraser, Adrian Rhodes, Keith Marriner (Richard II)
Nominated Costume Design Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Richard II)
British Society of Cinematographers Nominated Best Cinematography in a Television Drama Ben Smithard
4th Critics' Choice Television Awards Nominated Best Miniseries The Hollow Crown

Cycle II[edit]

Award Result Category Recipient
BAFTA Television Awards 2017 Nominated Best Leading Actor Benedict Cumberbatch
Nominated Best Mini-Series The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses
BAFTA Television Craft Awards 2017 Nominated Best Costume Design Nigel Egerton (Richard III)


  1. ^ "The Hollow Crown: Series Info". Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  2. ^ Lawson, Mark (2012-06-29). "The Hollow Crown: as good as TV Shakespeare can get?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  3. ^ "TV Baftas 2013: all the winners". The Guardian. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "BBC Two announces further casting for The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses". BBC Media Centre. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  5. ^ BBC Two. "We're thrilled.." Twitter. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "BBC Two - The Hollow Crown". BBC. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  7. ^ BBC Two (6 April 2014). "Richard III.." Twitter. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Tony Hall announces greatest commitment to arts for a generation". BBC Media Centre. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Principal photography begins on The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses". BBC Media Centre. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "Liverpool actor David Morrissey to star in new BBC production of Richard II". Liverpool Echo. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  11. ^ "Sam Mendes for BBC Shakespeare season". BBC News. 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  12. ^ "Cast confirmed for BBC Two's cycle of Shakespeare films" (Press release). BBC Drama Publicity. 2011-11-24. Archived from the original on 2011-12-30. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  13. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Hollow Crown – Henry V Article". 
  14. ^ Barraclough, Leo (6 April 2014). "Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Richard III in Neal Street's Film for BBC". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses Article". 
  16. ^ "Henry IV – Part 1". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  17. ^ "The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare's History Plays – About the Series". PBS. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  18. ^ "Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Henry VI". UPI. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "The best star studded Shakespeare TV adaptations". UK Radio Times. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Brown, Maggie (2 July 2012). "Sam Mendes: BBC Worldwide rejected 'Hollow Crown' Shakespeare films". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "The Hollow Crown (4 Discs)". Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  22. ^ "The Hollow Crown: The Complete Series". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  23. ^ "The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (Film music soundtrack by Dan Jones)". Wave Theory Records. 
  24. ^ "The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (Dan Jones & BBC National Orchestra of Wales)". Amazon UK. 

External links[edit]