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An Age of Kings: ‘uneasy lies the head’

Two previous posts began our journey through this epic BBC production recently released on DVD. Eight plays, fifteen episodes — of which today we’re concerned with numbers five and six: Henry IV Part Two. The king (Tom Fleming) is dying and then dead. Long live the king (Robert Hardy). All that, plus making merry in a tavern, army recruiting in an orchard and the rejection of Falstaff (Frank Pettingell) in a London street. Continue reading

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An Age of Kings: ‘die all, die merrily’

While Richard II is among my favourite Shakespeare plays, the pleasures and interest of the two dramas that follow it in the Histories too often pass me by. Nor, although it contains much of interest, does the first of these, Henry IV Part One, in the BBC’s epic An Age of Kings do much to chip away at my prejudice. The cycle was produced in 1960, and this is the second in a series of weekly posts as I watch the eight plays. Continue reading

An Age of Kings: ‘this English blood’

Now here’s a treat. For me at least. I fear almost all of you will have to live this one vicariously — and for up to another seven posts too. I’ve started to watch the recent US DVD release of the BBC’s series An Age of Kings, which frustratingly is currently only available as a Region 1 import from Amazon.com. Sub-titled A Cycle of the History Plays of William Shakespeare and first screened in 1960, this is unquestionably a television landmark. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace