BBC Shakespeare Season of Drama

As part of BBC Two’s Shakespeare Season four dramas are to be produced including Richard II and Henry V.

Featuring some of the greatest Shakespearean actors and directors of our time, all four films have been commissioned by BBC Two for their Shakespeare programming in 2012.

The season forms part of the BBC’s contribution to the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad. Stories to be turned into dramas are Richard II, Henry IV parts one and two and Henry V.

The Kings will be played by Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston.

Ben Whishaw (pictured, above, right) said, “Playing Richard II has been a hugely rewarding experience. Working on this beautiful play with Rupert Goold and an amazing cast has been one of the most magical and memorable experiences of my career.” While Jeremy Irons adds, “I am most grateful to have this opportunity of returning to Shakespeare, to film under the experienced eye of Richard Eyre, alongside such exciting actors.”

Set in the medieval period, these adaptations of four of Shakespeare’s most acclaimed history plays will produce some of the most ambitious television of recent years.

Tom Hiddleston concludes, “I am incredibly proud and privileged to be playing Prince Hal and Henry V in these new adaptations. He was one of England’s great kings and one of Shakespeare’s great men, and it is an extraordinary honour to have been asked to play him. I will be steeped in mud, blood, and warrior poetry for the next four months, led by two of the greatest directors working today, alongside a group of actors I have admired and respected all my life. I can’t wait.”

It isn’t the first time Shakespeare has been turned into British Television drama. In the 1970s a number of adaptations were recorded, including an ITV version of Hamlet made by ATV and starring of all people Richard Chamberlain (right).

The BBC 2012 productions are in association with Neal Street Productions, NBC Universal International and WNET.