Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Those who know the Bard may recognize this short passage as the beginning of the opening soliloquy spoken by the title character in the play Richard III. Of course, at the start of the play when he recites his malicious intentions he is not yet the king, and is merely Richard of Gloucester. That is until *SPOILER ALERT* he lays into motion the plot to kill his eldest brother the king, frame his 2nd brother for regicide, dispose of the princes, and claim the crown for himself:
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
One of Shakespeare’s most beloved and most reviled villains is set to grace our televisions thanks to the BBC, starring none other than one of this writer’s favorite British actors (surprise, surprise), Benedict Cumberbatch.
That’s right. Back in 2012 the BBC produced the Henriad tetralogy of Shakespeare’s historical plays which included Richard II, Henry IV part I, Henry IV part II, and Henry V, starring Ben Wishaw, Jeremy Irons, and Tom Hiddleston as each of the three titled kings, respectively. It coincided with the celebration of the United Kingdom’s history and culture surrounding the excitement of the Summer Olympics in London. In this humble blogger’s opinion, is was a masterful production.
With the success of the first tetralogy, and the clear audience desire for more, the same production team has put into motion the other of Shakespeare’s historical tetralogies surrounding the events in The War of the Roses, a ripe dramatic time in the British monarchy. This time we will be seeing the plays of Henry VI part I, Henry VI part II, Henry VI part III and Richard III. The cast is already worth drooling over with names like Hugh Bonneville, Tom Sturridge, Sophie Okonedo, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberbatch and the great Judi Dench all taking roles in this production.
Sadly the estimated air date isn’t until 2016 although apparently filming has already begun as is evidenced by this promotional photo of Cumberbatch as the malformed, dark-hearted king:
Ah, a dark king on his dark horse. Let us compare thee to a summer’s day:
God Save the Queen,