Richard III: Overview (01:36)
Actor Antony Sher explores William Shakespeare’s play in this episode. The medieval king’s body created a sensation when it was rediscovered in 2012. People felt they knew the monarch, but their image was based on Shakespeare’s character.
Laurence Olivier's Shadow (04:36)
Sher recalls being offered the role of Richard III 35 years earlier. He watches Olivier’s 1955 film version and other versions as he describes the character, his deformity, and the evil plan laid out in his opening speech.
Richard III's Kingship (03:02)
Sher and Shakespeare Institute’s Michael Dobson discuss Shakespeare’s portrayal of the king in multiple plays. They list the rivals that Richard must eliminate to seize the crown.
Richard III's Plot (08:18)
Richard’s scheme involves wooing Lady Anne Neville; he slaughtered members of her family. Stephen Greenblatt, Bill Alexander, and Penny Downie provide insight into the character’s psychology.
Richard III Costume (03:14)
Sher visits the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. He finds the hunchback costume he wore when he played Richard III.
Richard III's First Victim (03:00)
Richard’s mind turns to murder following his seduction of Lady Anne. His first target is his brother, Clarence, who is sent to the Tower of London.
Targeting Princes (06:30)
King Edward dies shortly after Richard blames him for Clarence’s death. Richard finds an ally in the Duke of Buckingham. Andrew Dickson and Alexander comment on Richard’s Machiavellian scheming and why anyone would help the evil character.
Eliminating Lord Hastings (02:27)
Richard has Hastings executed on trumped-up charges of treason. Greenblatt comments on Shakespeare’s ability to connect with his audience’s “inner bully and fascist.”
Richard III Feigns Piety (02:34)
Richard has the Duke of Buckingham spread a rumor that the princes are illegitimate. He then poses as a pious man who must be convinced to accept the crown.
Historical Accuracy (02:15)
Richard III enjoys backstabbing his enemies and reinventing himself from scene to scene. Dobson states that this portrayal is not an accurate representation of the real king.
Mad King (02:56)
Richard III orders the princes executed, but Buckingham hesitates; the king turns on his former ally. Sher and Gwen Adshead discuss the character’s paranoid and psychopathic tendencies.
Richard III's Isolation (10:08)
The Duchess of York curses her son, and Richard finds himself increasingly alone and paranoid. He decides to dispatch with Lady Anne and marry the late king’s daughter. Ghosts visit him on the eve of battle and he has a nervous breakdown.
Richard III's Defeat (05:59)
Richard III meets his end at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The real king’s body lay undiscovered for centuries, 12 miles from the battlefield, before being identified and reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.
Credits: Richard III with Antony Sher (01:02)
Credits: Richard III with Antony Sher
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