Great Performances: The Hollow Crown

Great Performances: The Hollow Crown

Fri, 09/20/2013 - 9:00pm

Picutred:L to R: Paterson Joseph as Duke of York, Richard Clothier as Salisbury, Tom Hiddleston as Henry V, James Laurenson as Westmoreland

Credit: Courtesy of Nick Briggs © Neal Street Productions

Experience four of Shakespeare’s history plays assembled into a single chronological narrative.

Large-scale movie versions of some of Shakepeare's most gripping plays--Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V-- comprise the epic miniseries from Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris. Great Performances: The Hollow Crown airing Fridays, from September 20 to October 11, 2013 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV, is a lavish four-part series featuring that talents of Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, and many more of the greatest Shakespearean actors of our time. 

The films — chronicling a bloody tale of family, politics and power — tell the rise and fall of three kings and how their destiny shaped English history. Richard II (Ben Whishaw) is a vain, self-indulgent man who rules with little regard for his people’s welfare. He is ultimately overthrown by his cousin Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear), who ascends the throne as Henry IV (Jeremy Irons). Henry IV’s reign is marred by his own guilt over Richard’s death, civil war, and the gnawing fear that his son Hal (Tom Hiddleston) is a total wastrel unworthy of the throne. When Hal comes to the throne as Henry V, he is left to bury the ghosts of his father’s past while fighting both the French forces as well as his own inner demons. 

The first film in the series, The Hollow Crown: Richard II, airs September 20 at 9 p.m. and follows Ben Whishaw's King Richard in his tumultuous last years of life.

The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Part I airs the following Friday, September 27 at 9 p.m. In this film, Prince Hal (Tom Hiddleston) acts out against his father, Henry IV (Jeremy Irons).

In The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Part II, airing October 4 at 9 p.m. viewers follow Prince Hal's reconciliation and ascension to the throne.

The concluding play, The Hollow Crown:Henry V, which airs October 11 at 9 p.m. tracks England's preparations for war as Henry rallies his forces for battle at Agincourt.