NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses is a lavish three-part follow-up to the BAFTA winning The Hollow Crown, which aired in 2013 on THIRTEEN's Great Performances.
The first series of The Hollow Crown covered the so-called Henriad comprising Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and II and Henry V. Now, The Wars of the Roses – which comes to Great Performances on three consecutive Sundays beginning December 11 at 9 p.m. – picks up the story with epic film versions of Henry VI (in two parts) and Richard III.
The new series aired to great acclaim on the BBC this May. Veteran theater critic Michael Billington noted in his review that "Shakespeare outdoes 'Game of Thrones,'" adding "[Director Dominic] Cooke directs with such sweep and …there are so many tremendous performances." In his review of the first episode in the Telegraph, Tim Auld observed, "What Cooke captures is the scope, the daring and the savage headlong rush of the poet's imagination..."
The series, a Neal Street co-production with Carnival/NBCUniversal and THIRTEEN for BBC Two, was filmed in locations around the UK. Award-winning director Dominic Cooke (former Artistic Director of The Royal Court theatre) makes his TV directorial debut with the three films.
The series features some of the UK's finest acting talent including Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III, Tom Sturridge as Henry VI, Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, Hugh Bonneville as Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Judi Dench as Cecily, Duchess of York, Sally Hawkins as Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, and Keeley Hawes as Queen Elizabeth.
Also featured in the all-star cast are Michael Gambon as Mortimer, Philip Glenister as Talbot, Andrew Scott as King Louis, Jason Watkins as Suffolk, Samuel West as the Bishop of Winchester, Stanley Townsend as Warwick, Adrian Dunbar as Plantagenet, Geoffrey Streatfeild as Edward IV, Ben Daniels as Buckingham, Ben Miles as Somerset, Sam Troughton as George, Duke of Clarence, Stuart McQuarrie as Vernon, Anton Lesser as Exeter, Kyle Soller as Clifford, Phoebe Fox as Anne, James Fleet as Hastings and Lucy Robinson as Young Cecily.
The Executive Producers are Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Nicolas Brown, Gareth Neame, and David Horn. The Producer is Rupert Ryle-Hodges. The Hollow Crown was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, former Controller BBC Drama commissioning.
Sam Mendes, executive producer for Neal Street Productions, said: "Seven years after we very first suggested the idea to the BBC, yet again we have assembled an amazing cast under the direction of the hugely talented Dominic Cooke. I'm very excited indeed to see them all bring the rest of this astonishing story to life."
Ben Power (Associate Director of The National Theatre), who previously wrote the screenplays for Richard II and Henry V, has adapted the cycle for the screen.
Henry VI Part 1 (December 11, 9 p.m.)
The King is dead and England is in crisis. War rages with the French and divisions within the English court threaten the crown. Young Henry VI causes outrage by marrying Margaret of Anjou, forcing an unwanted truce; the scene is set for Civil War.
Henry VI Part 2 (December 18, 9 p.m.)
Bitter rivalries erupt into the Wars of the Roses. The feeble King Henry is overshadowed by Queen Margaret and her faction of Lancastrian Lords, his reign further undermined by disaffected nobles supporting the House of York. Battle and bloodshed ensues and the Yorkists triumph. Edward IV takes the thrown, but his youngest brother Richard has his eyes firmly on the crown.
Richard III (December 25, 9 p.m.)
Richard, the most notorious of Shakespeare's kings, manipulates and betrays his way through the court on a bloodthirsty and ruthless path to the throne. But after Richard's defeat at the battle of Bosworth Field, the Houses of Lancaster and York—the red rose and the white—are united, bringing to an end the Wars of the Roses and long tumultuous period of civil strife.
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of The Roses is available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on both Blu-ray™ and DVD, and includes deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Bill O'Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for Great Performances is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Rosalind P. Walter, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Lenore Hecht Foundation, The Abra Prentice Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, and PBS.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
WNET is America's flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET's groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
About Neal Street Productions
Neal Street Productions was formed in 2003 by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, and Nicolas Brown joined in 2013 to work across the film and TV portfolio. The company has been successful in film, theatre and television with hit movies including Revolutionary Road, Jarhead and Starter for 10. Their diverse television slate includes the award-winning Stuart A Life Backwards, with Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch, and the hugely successful Call the Midwife. All five series to date have gained over 10m viewers, and is the UK's most watched TV drama series. Penny Dreadful written by John Logan, starring Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Rory Kinnear aired it's final series on Showtime in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK in Spring 2016. Neal Street also produced the critically acclaimed, award winning first series of The Hollow Crown - a series of Shakespeare films for the BBC/PBS - starring Ben Whishaw, Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons. On the theatre side, they have produced The Bridge Project, Shrek the Musical and the West End musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes. Neal Street Productions is an All3Media company, All3Media is owned jointly between Discovery Communications and Liberty Global.
About Carnival Films
Carnival Films is a division of NBCUniversal International and is the UK's largest drama specialist. The company is responsible for the global television phenomenon Downton Abbey and numerous primetime series such as The Last Kingdom for BBC and co-produced with Netflix and Sky 1's highest rating original drama series Stan Lee's Lucky Man. Other shows produced over Carnival's history include Poirot, Hotel Babylon, Whitechapel and Dracula as well as many award-winning mini-series such as Traffik, Any Human Heart and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.
Carnival's current slate includes second seasons of The Last Kingdom and Stan Lee's Lucky Man. A new series, Jamestown, is currently in production for Sky. Carnival has received a host of national and international awards including Primetime Emmys, Golden Globes and BAFTAs and was recognized as the UK's best production company at the 2011 Bulldog Awards and 2012 Broadcast Awards.
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