Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2 (c1597): William Shakespeare

Henry IV: Part 1

In the wake of Henry V, I ventured back to the two instalments of The Hollow Crown which I should have watched before: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2. These were entirely new to me: I had never seen them before, either on the stage or on screen, and never read them either. I’ve always felt a little daunted by the history plays in general, and I steered particularly clear of anything with multiple parts (Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 remain to be tackled on a future occasion). As the two plays form two halves of the same story and have the same cast, I wanted to deal with them together – and yet to consider each separately.

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The Borgias (2011)

The Borgias


There was apparently a very bad TV series about the Borgias in the 1980s, but fortunately I’m too young to remember that. Nevertheless, when I heard that the production company Showtime were following up The Tudors with The Borgias, I felt a frisson of excitement mixed with slight dread. The Tudors began with such promise, but I rapidly lost faith in a series which didn’t have the courage to show its protagonist ageing and thickening out.  Its focus was not on the history, but on the series of unfeasibly Sloaney-looking girls who caught the eye of Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s implausible king.

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