Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources


All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

Available versions

1960: Michael Hayes

1978: David Giles

1982: William Woodman

2001: John Farrell

2012: Rupert Goold

2013: Gregory Doran


2013: Shakespeare Uncovered (Season 1, Ep. 3)

Richard II
1960: Michael Hayes

This early BBC miniseries called An Age of Kings was recently rescued from undeserved obscurity by a DVD release, and it’s a treasure. It represents a decision to put the whole sequence of Shakespeare’s two tetralogies together into a continuous whole and then break them up again into shorter segments. In the process, some of the theatrical structure of the originals is compromised; it is, nevertheless, very competently played. There are some of the best actors of their generation in these episodes, and they are, despite 1960s black-and-white television production standards, eminently worth watching. The first two episodes (“The Hollow Crown” and “The Deposing of a King”) cover the material of Richard II. A youthful Sean Connery plays the firebrand Hotspur in the later Henry IV pieces of the series. The whole series is highly recommended, in much the same way as I have recommended The Hollow Crown: the continuity of the episodes gives them a coherence in narrative and historical sense that cannot normally be garnered by looking at the plays piecemeal.

This performance of Richard II is worth seeing on its own terms, as well. Like the version in The Hollow Crown, it is substantially trimmed, and if you can only watch one, the best, to my way of thinking, will still be the BBC Shakespeare version of 1978 or the RSC version of 2013. But this is a very watchable presentation of the play. The video is of course black and white, and the script is cut to a bare two hours, but the performances that are here are quite good. Richard himself is not (I think) as interesting as those offered by Derek Jacobi, David Tennant, or Ben Whishaw, nor is Edgar Wreford’s John of Gaunt arguably as nuanced as those of John Gielgud or Patrick Stewart, but the comparison is in both cases still interesting.

Abbot of Westminster: Michael Graham Cox

Bishop of Carlisle: Frank Windsor

Duchess of York: Mary Law

Duke of Aumerle: John Greenwood

Duke of Norfolk: Noel Johnson

Duke of York: Geoffrey Bayldon

Earl of Northumberland: George A. Cooper

Earl of Salisbury: Leon Shepperdson

Gardener: Gordon Gostelow

Groom: Julian Glover

Harry Percy: Sean Connery

Henry Bolingbroke: Tom Fleming

John of Gaunt: Edgar Wreford

Keeper: Michael Graham Cox

King Richard the Second: David William

Lady: Maggie Barton

Lord Berkeley: John Ringham

Lord Marshal: Julian Glover

Lord Ross: Alan Rowe

Lord Willoughby: Gordon Gostelow

Queen: Juliet Cooke

Servant: Anthony Valentine

Servant: Terence Lodge

Servant: Brian Smith

Sir Henry Green: Jerome Willis

Sir John Bushy: David Andrews

Sir Pierce of Exton: Robert Lang

Sir Stephen Scroop: Patrick Garland

Sir William Bagot: Terence Lodge