The Hollow Crown

In 2012, as part of the cultural element of the London Olympic Games, the BBC contributed four productions of the Plantagenet plays, Richard II, Henry IV i and ii and Henry V. The series featured a panoply of top British acting talent, consistently excellent cinematography and despite being shot almost entirely on location, managed to maintained a theatrical flavour by confining itself theatrical resources and personnel, rarely reaching for support from CGI to amplify a mise en scene. Simon Russell Beale took a surprising, original and for some, off-putting line with Falstaff, presenting a desperate, cynical, old and fearful man. The whole cycle stressed the unprincipled struggle for existence and power art the expense of the good-natured ribaldry. However, the productions never fail to interest, provoke and ravish the eyes.