Fans of ‘The Hollow Crown’ May See a Similar Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Roman Plays

Tom Hiddleston as King Henry V in "The Hollow Crown" (Photo: Nick Briggs)

Love The Hollow Crown? Well, you’re in luck, because it looks as though our run of sumptuous televised versions of Shakespeare’s histories may not be over just yet.

The original Hollow Crown series adapted four of the Bard’s history plays into a single chronological narrative (Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V).  The sequel series focused on the next four, though they were condensed in to three films (the three parts of Henry VI, along with Richard III). But, sadly, we’ve run out of Shakespeare’s English history plays to adapt, which is something of a blow for everyone, because the Hollow Crown installments have been all around wonderful, featuring some of the British actors working today – Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, and Benedict Cumberbatch, for a few example – and making some of Shakespeare’s lesser known works accessible to a whole new audience. Well, never fear – there’s still hope. While we may have finished with Shakespeare’s English history plays – remember, he still has more!

According to a report in the Radio Times earlier this month, the BBC is considering continuing their Shakespeare series by turning their attention to adapting the author’s Roman plays. However, these offerings are much less directly connected to one another, in the way that the Hollow Crown plays are. While Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar seem obvious picks and tie together to a certain extent, that’s much less true for dramas Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus. (Those two are also very violent, whereas the others are not. Or at least much, much less so.)

So, how would those all work together? It’s unclear.  

The Hollow Crown series has been pretty successful for the corporation, both in terms of ratings at home and global interest abroad, so the desire to continue the series in some way certainly makes sense. (And it’s absolutely something I’d watch, no matter how many of the Roman plays it ends up including.)

American fans still have sequel The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses to look forward to later this year. While the series just recently aired in the UK, it doesn’t have an American premiere date set as yet, though it’s slated to once again air as part of PBS’ Great Performances series.

Thoughts on continuing this Shakespeare trend? Would you watch a similar version of the Roman plays?

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Twitter at @LacyMB