BBC Two is working on three filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s History plays that include Richard III and Henry VI in two parts. In April, Benedict Cumberbatch joined Richard III and today BBC Two confirms that Judi Dench will play Cecily, Duchess of York, alongside his titular king. Sophie Okonedo has also been cast as Queen Margaret across all three films. As for Henry V, Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville has been cast as Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and Sally Hawkins will play his wife Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester in Part 1. Keeley Hawes plays Queen Elizabeth in Part 2, and Richard III. Tom Sturridge will be Henry VI in both installments. The films are part of the BBC’s greatest commitment to the arts in a generation.
The three filmed adaptations are co-produced by Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Productions with Downton Abbey maker Carnival Films/NBCU and Thirteen. The collaboration follows on from the success of The Hollow Crown. Executive producers are Mendes, Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown for Neal Street; David Horn for Thirteen; and Gareth Neame for Carnival/NBCU. Dominic Cooke will direct all three films from Ben Power’s adaptations.