Genre: Shakesperian drama
Release Date: Available now
Format: 3DVDs

Bard publisher Oxford University Press recently concluded that according to its diligent research, no less than 17 plays attributed to William Shakespeare were co-authored, with supposed rival Christopher Marlowe now officially credited as co-writer of the three Henry VI plays. That’s fascinating, but makes no difference to the plays themselves, nor to this second set of new films handsomely adapted for BBC television.

Where the preceding series (adapted from the four plays making up the ‘Henriade’) had a number of directors, the three films in this sequel are helmed by a single director, a man of the stage who has not previously directed for screen – ex-Royal Court Artistic Director Dominic Cooke.  Fortunately that lack of experience is impossible to detect, for this is a magnificent and cinematically savvy adaptation of the four plays that follow chronologically from the historical events of Henry V.

The three Henry VIplays are collapsed into two films, topped by the showstopper finale of Richard IIIfeaturing Benedict Cumberbatch in an absolutely gripping performance as the physically deformed and murderously ambitious king.

This is not stunt casting of a popular TV and movie star; the actor...