Royal Shakespeare Company’s history play cycle The Wars of the Roses to be shown for first time in 50 years

By Nick Clark for the Independent, 1 January 2016

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s great history play cycle, The Wars of the Roses, is to be shown in its original glory for the first time in 50 years.

The RSC described the cycle of Shakespeare plays Henry VIEdward IV and Richard III, broadcast on BBC1 in 1965, as being “one of the most significant and compelling productions of theatre on television”.

Its stars included Peggy Ashcroft, Ian Holm and Janet Suzman, who told The Independent the restored films were “like recapturing history from the bottom of the sea”.

Shot in Stratford, they were first shown as originally staged in three full-length productions, but were later re-edited. “Nobody had worked out how you cut up three full-length plays into 11 parts, which ended up at different lengths, and they found it difficult to sell,” John Wyver, director of screen productions for the RSC said. “That cut has been seen once at the National Film Theatre a decade ago. The three original versions have now been restored, and this is their first outing since 1965. It’s very exciting.”

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