The Hollow Crown (2012–2016)
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Henry IV, Part 2 

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | Episode aired 4 October 2013
Northumberland swears revenge for his son's death and gathers his allies to fight the ailing king. Meanwhile, the Lord Chief Justice having rebuked Falstaff for being a bad influence on Hal... See full summary »


Richard Eyre


Richard Eyre (screenplay), William Shakespeare (play)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alun Armstrong ... Northumberland
Will Attenborough ... Gloucester
Conrad Asquith ... Bracy
David Bamber ... Shallow
Simon Russell Beale ... Falstaff
Pip Carter ... Gower
Ian Conningham ... Peto
Tom Cornish Tom Cornish ... Feeble
Niamh Cusack ... Lady Northumberland
David Dawson ... Poins
Drew Dillon Drew Dillon ... Drawer
Michelle Dockery ... Kate Percy
Justin Edwards ... Fang
Henry Faber Henry Faber ... Lancaster
Richard Frame Richard Frame ... Snare


Northumberland swears revenge for his son's death and gathers his allies to fight the ailing king. Meanwhile, the Lord Chief Justice having rebuked Falstaff for being a bad influence on Hal, charges him to recruit an army on Henry's behalf. After brawling with the truculent Pistol, Falstaff prepares to leave his lover, Doll Tearsheet, criticizing Hal to her, unaware that the prince is eaves-dropping. Falstaff assembles a motley crew from Justice Shallow but Henry's cousin Westmoreland arrests the rebel leaders after duping them into a truce. Hal, assuming his father is dead, dons the crown and is berated by the dying king but they reconcile as Henry's last gesture is to crown his son. Hal accedes to the throne as Henry V but, now aware he must put frivolity aside, banishes Falstaff as his first act as ruler. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | History | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


In Henry IV, Part 2, there is bad blood between Prince Hal and the Lord Chief Justice and references to the Justice having imprisoned the Prince for striking the Justice for trying to prosecute one of Hal's friends. The incident that is referred to is not included in Shakespeare's plays, but was probably familiar to his audience because they had been able to see it recently in a play called "The Famous Victories of Henry V". For a modern audience however, the references can be confusing. In his 2014 production of the Henry IV plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gregory Doran made the somewhat controversial choice of taking lines from "Famous Victories" and placing them in Henry IV, Part 1. In these lines, the Lord Chief Justice comes to the tavern along with the sheriff after the Gadshill robbery and attempts to arrest Bardolph, at which point Hal strikes him. See more »


Version of The Merry Wives of Windsor (1910) See more »

User Reviews

Plenty going on and most of it made pretty clear through the delivery
15 September 2012 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I recently watched Henry IV part 1 in this series and was left a little cold by it as I didn't feel that it delivered a great deal to be in terms of meaning and edge and that, while the production values were high and the story was engaging, I felt that the language wasn't as gripping as Shakespeare can be and also that subtext and meaning was not brought out as it should have been. Although not a total success part 2 really does deliver quite a lot and the themes within the material came over more clearly to me. The play sees Prince Hal maturing into the king we know from Henry V while at the same time his father struggles with the manner in which his reign came to be and the fallout from it. Meanwhile Falstaff becomes more of a tragic figure whose only hope is that his lies and supposed connections will somehow pay off.

These character-focused things continue against the backdrop of fallout from the challenge to Henry IV from Wales and it makes for a busy and interesting story which is delivered well in under two hours. Although it spends a lot of time with characters and places that I thought of as "side issues" in part 1, here they are given more meaning – developing character but also shedding light on other plots by virtue of their relation to them. I enjoyed seeing Hal change as a character through the film and mature into something much more regal and suitable for the throne – harsh in some ways but ultimately appearing to act for the greater good. Likewise Falstaff was much more to me than he had been before. From the very start he is more sombre and less of a clown – feeling his age, less confident in his wit and also suffering from ill health. He contrasts very well with the change in Hal and, although tragic, the end of the film makes his fate clear and clearly deserved in the bigger picture.

Originally struggling to forget his role in The Avengers, I liked Hiddleston a lot here, he had a confidence and understanding of his character that perhaps he was not allowed in the tone of the first film. Likewise Irons does better as there is more meat to get his teeth into; of course Beale benefits the same as Falstaff. The supporting cast features quite a few famous faces giving solid supporting performances (Glen, Palmer, Walters etc) and it feels strong in quality without feeling starry for the sake of it.

Having not been overly impressed by the previous two films in the Hollow Crown series, Henry IV part 2 really worked for me; it keeps the same serious tone throughout but it brings more out of the words and characters than I got out of the previous films. The material is more engaging in my opinion, but the version seems to do more with it as well. I am now looking forward to the final part of this series – partly because it will be the first time I have seen Henry V in the context of the previous three plays and not just as a standalone piece.

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Release Date:

4 October 2013 (USA) See more »

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16:9 HD
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