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Henry VI

Synopsis
First of a three-part televised adaptation of Shakespeare’s minor tetralogy (three parts of Henry VI and Richard III) encompassing the period from the loss of the British Empire in France to the founding of the Tudor dynasty. Originally a Royal Shakespeare Company production directed by Peter Hall and John Barton, the four plays were condensed into three screenplays: Henry VI, Edward I and Richard III. This part ends with Margaret lamenting Suffolk’s death (2 Henry VI, IV iv).
Series
Wars of the Roses, The
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Television
Transmission details
8 Apr 1965 at 20:00 (Channel: BBC1)
Duration
165 mins

Credits

Director
John Barton; Michael Hayes; Peter Hall; Robin Midgley
Producer
Michael Barry
Writer
William Shakespeare
Screenplay
John Barton
Music
Guy Woolfenden
Costume
John Bury
Art Direction
John Bury
Cast
David WarnerKing Henry VI
Peggy AshcroftQueen Margaret
Paul HardwickHumphrey, Duke of Gloucester
William SquireDuke of Suffolk (William de la Pole)
Anthony BodenMessenger to York (Messenger)
Brewster MasonEarl of Warwick
Charles KaySir John Hume
Charles KayCharles, Dauphin of France
Charles ThomasEdmund Mortimer
Clive MortonLord Talbot
Colette O’NeilEleanor, Duchess of Gloucester
David HargreavesCitizen of London (3)
David RowlandsEnglish Soldier (Soldier)
David RowlandsTownsman
David WallerWilliams
Donald BurtonDuke of Exeter
Donald Layne-SmithReignier, Duke of Anjou
Gareth MorganRoger Bolingbroke
Gareth MorganBastard of Orléans
Gavin MorrisonMurderer (2)
Hugh SullivanDuke of Burgundy
James LaurensonMessenger to the Council (Messenger)
John HalesLegate
John NormingtonSimon Simpcox
John NormingtonDuke of Bedford
Johnston Forbes-RobertsonLawyer
Johnston Forbes-RobertsonFrench soldier (Soldier)
Madoline ThomasMargery Jourdain
Murray BrownFrench messenger (Messenger)
Nicholas SelbyCardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester
Peter GaleJohn, Talbot’s son
Peter GeddisDuke of Alençon
Philip BrackDuke of Somerset
Rhys McConnochieVernon
Rhys McConnochieMessenger to Gloucester (Messenger)
Roger Jones (2)Citizen of London (2)
Sheila GrantSimpcox’s wife
Stanley LeborCitizen of London (1)
Stephen HancockBasset
Ted ValentineLieutenant of the Tower (Lieutenant)
William DysartMurderer (1)

Additional Details

Theatre
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Theatre company
Royal Shakespeare Company
Production type
Television and Radio Drama
Historical period
Medieval
Plays
Henry VI part 1; Henry VI part 2
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Related items
Wars of the Roses Discussion

Notes

Notes
A written transcript of the series is held at the Birmingham Central Library as part of their Shakespeare Collection.
General
As reviewers noted, the production went beyond a mere recording of a stage play. Twelve cameras were used to record the performance of a cast of nearly seventy actors on a stage that had been extended to 40 feet to accommodate battle and crowd scenes. The intention was to give a sense of the impact of the stage production televisually. as The Times reviewer enthuses, the BBC directors managed a smooth transference, "changing their visual idiom yet not losing their integrity of meaning: a remarkable achievement".
History
Filming was done following the 1964 run of the plays at Stratford-upon-Avon, and took place in the theatre over eight weeks. The cycle was repeated in January and February 1966 when it was re-edited into eleven episodes of 50 minutes and given new titles such as The FEARFUL KING.

A five-minute programme introducing the plays was broadcast on BBC1 4 April 1965 22.05:22.10.

The trilogy was released on DVD in 2016 - see separate entry.
Figures
Reaction Index 72 (BBC Audience Research). The Reaction Index is a measurement of the quality
and success of the programme with the audience who had watched it. It is based on a range of 0 to 100.)
Textual information
The text was adapted for screenplay by John Barton.
Reviews
"A Shakespearian Experience on TV", The Times, 21.4.1965, p. 13.
Alice V. Griffin, "Shakespeare Through the Camera’s Eye: IV", Shakespeare Quarterly 17 (1966): p. 385.

Production Company

Name

BBC

Notes
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

Record Stats

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