Sep 12

The Hollow Crown: War of the Roses – cast gather for first read-through

On the evening of Wednesday 10th September BBC two tweeted a set of photographs from the first read-through for the cast of The Hollow Crown series 2 .

Richard III's seat!

Richard III’s seat

Qeen Elizabeth's seat

Queen Elizabeth’s seat

Seat of Cecily, Duchess of York

Seat of Cecily, Duchess of York


Intentional or otherwise these photographs unleashed an unexpected game of ‘guess who?’ when fans eager to know the cast zoomed in on the pages! Ben Daniels tweeted later that night to confirm he was playing Buckingham and Sam Troughton’s spotlight page has him listed as George, Duke of Clarence.

With filming rumoured to be beginning next week (see previous post entry) for Henry VI it is only a matter of time hopefully before we have a full cast announcement and the fans can stop guessing/squinting at the above photos!

If you want to see how well the guessing game went check out our tumblr post here:

Sep 10

The Day Of The Dauphin: An Interview with Edward Akrout

We were given the opportunity to interview Edward Akrout for Shakespeare Magazine this month. Below is the “Director’s Cut” of the interview with more questions and answers. We hope you enjoy learning more about the dashing Dauphin of The Hollow Crown: Henry V as we did!

Akrout Article Page 1

If you’ve seen The Hollow Crown: Henry V then you’ll doubtless remember actor Edward Akrout’s portrayal of Louis the Dauphin. Stage versions rarely allow us to see inside the heart of Henry V’s villain, but The Hollow Crown was different. As Louis, Edward conveyed all the scorn and contempt expected of the role, but also embodied the heavy weight of impending battle and the heartbreak of defeat and personal loss. It was a performance that saw the French-born actor winning over Shakespeare fans in England and beyond – one that even made us feel sympathy for the Dauphin’s fate at the Battle of Agincourt.

Born in Paris to a British-Franco mother and a Tunisian father, Edward can truly claim to be a man of the world. He lived in several different countries while growing up, studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and trained in acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He graduated in 2008 and four years later, in the Cultural Olympiad year of 2012, he joined the cast of The Hollow Crown.

When did you decide to pursue acting as a career?

When I was a child my uncle, who was an artist, made me discover how to grow up without never stopping to play. He made me discover painting and acting.

How was your experience training at LAMDA?

It was wonderful because I was completely new to London and LAMDA became like my family. I have made wonderful friends there and we are still very much in touch. It was such an immersive introduction to British culture history and literature that it made me British by adoption. The training itself transforms you, your body, and your mind; you learn a technique that becomes so deeply ingrained in you that you carry it then for the rest of your life.

Did you tackle any Shakespeare plays while training?

Yes. I was very lucky to play Richard III directed by Aaron Mullen one of my dream parts. It was a real rush. It made me an addict.

What was the first exposure you had to Shakespeare’s work? Did you enjoy his work right away or grow to enjoy it over time?

I think my first exposure was Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V at first like any boy I watched it to see the fight scenes, I wanted to become a knight then. But then I felt more goose bumps listening to his pre-battle speech than by the battle itself. It was like nothing I ever experienced before, I was thrilled and moved by language.

What was the first production of Shakespeare you were in?

It was Richard III at LAMDA. It’s the closest feeling there is to being a musician. You learn the part and then you play it. The language itself tells you what to do.

Did you have any mentors (such as teachers, directors, fellow peers) that helped you appreciate and learn about Shakespeare’s language and stories?

Yes, my grandmother. She is a born actress but never pursued a career. She can read Shakespeare in perfect English, Molière in perfect French and Goethe in perfect German. She taught me the joy one can find and share with words.

How did you first hear about The Hollow Crown? Were you asked to audition? Tell us about the process of joining the production.

I remember they were a few rounds of auditions and I eventually met Thea Sharrock. I was so happy when I got the news. On the first day we had a reading with the whole cast. I was trying to hide as much as I could but I was just in awe of all the actors sitting at that table. John Hurt, Richard Griffiths , Anton Lesser, Paterson Joseph, Tom Hiddleston, Lambert Wilson. I was a big fan of all them and couldn’t actually believe I was sitting at the same table with them.

How was it working with director Thea Sharrock and actor Tom Hiddleston?

Thea was wonderful very helpful and very passionate about her work. Richard Griffiths was so sweet, he use to call her mum on set. They were very close and have worked many times together. Tom is a great actor but also a wonderful company leader. He really fueled the entire set with his energy and inspired everyone to give their best. He was very much like Henry V himself .

How did you feel about some of the Dauphin’s great lines being cut from the final version of Henry V?

It’s always a hard decision to make but you can’t keep everything. Thea has a real love for the play the language and all the characters I knew straight away that if she cut something it was always for the benefit of the story.

They say history is written by the victors of a war. As a Frenchman, how do you feel about how the French are portrayed by Shakespeare in Henry V?

Originally those parts are very satirical. They are almost supposed to be funny. Thea wanted to show the atrocity of war and made all the French parts real, that is also why some lines had to go.

Do you have any humorous anecdotes or stories from the set of The Hollow Crown?

Driving to set at the back of a Land Rover on a bumpy road with both Stanley Weber and I crashing into each-other in our full armour. It doesn’t get any funnier than that.

You had some fantastic costumes for Henry V. Do you have any favorites? How much does the costume influence how you play a character or a scene?

My favourite was the full armor with the sword of course. I always dreamt to have one as a kid. No acting is required then, you don’t need to gild the lily.

What upcoming projects do you have that audiences can look forward to?

I have two films coming out next Year: Sword of Vengeance where I get act with my cousin of Orleans again (Stanley Weber) and also The Devil’s Harvest. Deadly Virtues is coming out this august during the Fright Fest in Leicester Square.I also joined the cast of Mr. Selfridge recently, which will air in January.

You can read the full issue of Shakespeare magazine here:


Sep 08

Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette: Shakespeare TV series book the beauty spot for filming

It is thought that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch could be coming to the Ashridge Estate next week to star in one of two up-and-coming productions being filmed there.

By David O’Neill

Ashridge Park: Prince's Riding

Ashridge Park: Prince’s Riding


The BBC will also be in Ashridge next week to shoot scenes for the second BBC Two Hollow Crown film series of Shakespeare’s history plays.

The first series – aired in the UK in 2012 – featured big-name actors such as Jeremy Irons. BBC Two has announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will play King Richard III in the second series – due to be broadcast in 2016.

Scenes for the historical drama will be shot on Prince’s Riding – the long strip of grass between Ashridge House and the Bridgewater Monument – on Wednesday and Thursday next week.



Sep 08

The Hollow Crown: War of the Roses – here we go!

Today Keeley Hawes (Queen Elizabeth in Richard III) tweeted the following photo, we are VERY excited to have this glimpse into the early days of the second series of The Hollow Crown!

@Misskeeleyhawes - 8th September 2014

@Misskeeleyhawes – 8th September 2014

Sep 03

GQ Awards 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch interview

Benedict Cumberbatch confirms BBC’s The Hollow Crown: War of the Roses filming will start with the Henry VI plays (all three condensed into two episodes) followed by Richard III at the GQ Awards last night, starts at 1:17 into video.

Interview by OED

At the GQ Awards Benedict scooped the award for Actor Of The Year:


Aug 29

Benedict Cumberbatch interview with Conan O’Brien

Benedict Cumberbatch on Conan

Benedict Cumberbatch on Conan


I would wear wigs and women’s clothes. My first role was Titania queen of the fairies. That was literally was what started me off at school. Then I played Rosalind [in Shakespeare’s As You Like It]. I played rugby, so I was butch as well as in the evening putting on female clothes.



Aug 27

The Kings of The Hollow Crown: Then and Now

The three featured kings of The Hollow Crown were portrayed by Ben Whishaw (Richard II), Jeremy Irons (Henry IV) and Tom Hiddleston (Henry V). Like many of the cast, the actors’ CVs have a strong background in Shakespeare. In this snapshot, we have a few of their “before” and “after” photos:

Before and After THC

Ben Whishaw as Ariel in the 2010 film The Tempest

Jeremy Irons as King Richard II in a 1986 production of Richard II

Tom Hiddleston as Posthumus/Cloten in a 2007 production of Cymbeline

Aug 22

Introducing the cast of The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses!

War of the Roses


  • Judi Dench – Cecily, Duchess of York
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – Richard III
  • Tom Sturridge – Henry VI
  • Sophie Okonedo – Queen Margaret
  • Keeley Hawes – Queen Elizabeth
  • Hugh Bonneville – Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
  • Sally Hawkins – Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester

Aug 22

BBC Two announces further casting for The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses

BBC Two has today announced further casting for Neal Street Productions and Carnival Films’ The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses.

Judi Dench will play Cecily, Duchess of York, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s Richard III. Sophie Okonedo has been cast as Queen Margaret across all three films. Hugh Bonneville will play Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and Sally Hawkins his wife Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester in Henry VI part 1. Keeley Hawes plays Queen Elizabeth in Henry VI part 2 and Richard III and Tom Sturridge has been cast as Henry VI in parts 1 and 2.

Pippa Harris, executive producer for Neal Street Productions, says: “To have the chance to work with some of Britain’s most talented actors is a dream come true. We couldn’t be more delighted to have them on board.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Building on the critical success of The Hollow Crown, this extraordinary cast and production team will raise the bar of British drama once more and build on BBC Two’s reputation for distinctive drama.”

The three filmed adaptations – Henry VI (in 2 parts) and Richard III – are co-produced by Neal Street Productions with Carnival Films / NBCUniversal and Thirteen following the success of BAFTA Award-winning The Hollow Crown.

Executive producers are Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown for Neal Street Productions, David Horn for Thirteen and Gareth Neame for Carnival/NBCUniversal. It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama.

Dominic Cooke will direct all three films, Ben Power has adapted the plays for the screen and Rupert Ryle-Hodges will produce.



Aug 13

The Hollow Crown: Series 1 – The Awards Mantelpiece

The Hollow Crown has not been widely celebrated for it’s nominations and wins in the press, even Simon Russell Beale’s BAFTA win was rarely mentioned the next day. Here we hope to show you how cast and crew, behind and in front of the camera, were recognised for their fantastic work in this series. Though the nominations and wins are impressive we cannot help but think it deserved much more recognition than received, no doubt you’ll say we’re biased – but it’s true!


Society Cinematographers





- British Society of Cinematographers

NOMINATON: Best Cinematography in a Television Drama 2012 – Ben Smithard, Henry IV










- MASA Music and Sound Awards, February 2013

WIN: Best Sound Design Award for The Hollow Crown, headed by Adrian Rhodes.










- South bank SKY Arts Awards 2013

WIN: Times breakthrough award: presented by Tim Minchin to Tom Hiddleston. (Not technically for The Hollow Crown alone but we’ll take it!)

Transcript Link

NOMINATION: TV drama – The Hollow Crown (Whole Series)











- Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2013

WIN: Best Single Drama for The Hollow Crown: Richard II

NOMINATON: Best Actor – Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown: Richard II, The Hour)







- The Royal Television Society Programme Awards

WIN: Best Single Drama – The Hollow Crown: Richard II



- BAFTA: Television Craft in 2013

WIN: Original Television Music – Henry IV (The Hollow Crown) – Stephen Warbeck

WIN: Sound-Fiction – Richard II (The Hollow Crown)  – Tim Fraser, Adrian Rhodes, Keith Marriner

BAFTA Craft: Costume Design Nomination - Richard II (The Hollow Crown) for Odile Dicks-Mireaux

BAFTA Craft: Costume Design Nomination – Richard II (The Hollow Crown) for Odile Dicks-Mireaux

NOMINATION: Costume Design Nomination – Richard II (The Hollow Crown)  – Odile Dicks-Mireaux


- The Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2013

WIN: Leading Actor – Ben Whishaw, Richard II (The Hollow Crown)

Ben Whishaw (Richard II) wins Best Actor at BAFTA 2013

Ben Whishaw (Richard II) wins Best Actor at BAFTA 2013

WIN: Supporting Actor – Simon Russell Beale, Henry IV part 2 (The Hollow Crown)

NOMINATION: Single Drama – Richard II (The Hollow Crown)










- 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, January 2014

NOMINATION: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries  – Jeremy Irons, Henry IV (The Hollow Crown)


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