3 Great Acting Performances of Richard III | History Hit

3 Great Acting Performances of Richard III

History Hit

03 Aug 2018

As the last English King to die in battle is finally given his resting place in Leicester Cathedral, we have delved through the archives to find 3 great portrayals of the history that has surrounded the monarch who died 530 years ago.

Whilst again Richard continues to grab the airtime through Channel 4 live coverage in the UK all week, it is clear that the facts and myths have combined to provide a platform for some of the very best actors in the world to interpret William Shakespeare’s story.

What caused the 30 year period of internecine violence in medieval England? Dan Snow narrates this animated short documentary on the events that led to 22 May 1455 - the First Battle of Saint Albans.
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1. Ian McKellen playing Richard III in 1995

Ian McKellen starred in this 1995 adaption of Richard Eyre’s National Theatre production. McKellen made unconventional uses of some key British landmarks by sometimes moving them through early CGI to new locations within the United Kingdom, including the moving of St Pancras train station for the seat of government.

The film is a well-shot rich production that cinematically draws parallels with the award-winning production of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

2. Laurence Olivier playing Richard III in 1955

Laurence Olivier took on a triple role in the 1955 production of Richard III by taking on the jobs of director, producer and Richard III. The cast includes many notable Shakespearean actors and shows Richard conspiring to take the throne from his brother Edward IV.

3. Peter Cook as Richard III in 1983

Responsible for some of the funniest UK TV, Peter Cook wasn’t known for his Shakespearean roles, but he excelled playing a comic take on the king in the hugely successful TV series, Blackadder.

Wars of the Roses historian Matt Lewis visits the Tower of London to talk through one of the building’s greatest mysteries: the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower. He talks through the possibility that the two young boys were not murdered on the infamous King Richard III's orders, but in fact survived their uncle's reign.
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