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King Richard III 

Embittered by his deformed appearance, Richard of Gloucester schemes, seduces and murders his way to the throne of England.


Natalya Orlova (as Natasha Orlova)


William Shakespeare (play), Leon Garfield (screenplay)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Antony Sher ... Richard III (voice)
Alec McCowen ... Narrator (voice)
Eleanor Bron ... Duchess of York (voice)
Tom Wilkinson ... Buckingham (voice)
James Grout ... Catesby / Ely (voice)
Sorcha Cusack ... Queen Elizabeth (voice)
Suzanne Burden Suzanne Burden ... Anne (voice)
Stephen Thorne ... Hastings / Cardinal (voice)
Michael Maloney ... Clarence / Norfolk (voice)
Spike Hood Spike Hood ... Prince Edward (voice)
Hywel Nelson Hywel Nelson ... Duke of York (voice)
Patrick Brennan Patrick Brennan ... Richmond / 2nd Murderer (voice)
Philip Bond Philip Bond ... Tyrrel (voice)
Brendan Charleson ... 1st Murderer / Messenger (voice)


Embittered by his deformed appearance, Richard of Gloucester schemes, seduces and murders his way to the throne of England.

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Release Date:

2 November 1994 (UK) See more »

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[first lines]
Narrator: King Edward was sick, and so was his kingdom. Family hated family, brother hated brother. And none hated more venomously than Richard, Duke of Gloucester - the world and his brother, the King.
Richard: Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York. But I that am deform'd, unfinish'd, have no delight to pass away the time, and therefore, since I cannot prove a lover, am determined to prove a villain...
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Version of Richard III (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Far from deformed quality
3 August 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As said many times, have always had a lifelong love of animation, old and new. Disney, Studio Ghibli, Hanna Barbera, Tom and Jerry, Hanna Barbera, Looney Tunes and also the works of Tex Avery and Fleischer. With a broader knowledge of animation styles, directors, studios and how it was all done actually love it even more now.

Have also loved William Shakespeare's work from an early age, remember very fondly reading various parts aloud in primary and secondary school English classes when studying the likes of 'Macbeth', 'Much Ado About Nothing' and 'Twelfth Night' and various film adaptations such as Kenneth Branagh's 'Much Ado About Nothing' and Roman Polanski's 'Macbeth'. So a large part of me was hugely intrigued by 'Shakespeare: The Animated Tales', with such a high appreciation of both animation and Shakespeare. There was also the worry of whether Shakespeare would work as short animated adaptations compressed and condensed, when some much longer adaptations have suffered.

It was wonderful that 'Shakespeare: The Animated Tales' not only lived up to expectations but exceeded them. All my worries of whether it would work quickly evaporated when it absolutely did work and brilliantly.

Even with the short length, the essence and spirit of 'King Richard III' (not one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but still shows his mastery of language, characterisation and storytelling) are brought out brilliantly. It doesn't suffer from the condensation, even when everything is not there, nothing is incoherent which is a big achievement.

Shakespeare's colourful and thought-provoking language is as colourful and thought-provoking as one would hope, so many recognisable moments with all their impact. All in a way to appeal and be understandable to a wide audience, being easy to understand for younger audiences (of which the series is a perfect introduction of Shakespeare to), with such complex text and story elements a lot of credit is due. Adults will relish how the text is delivered, the many quotable lines and how well the essence of is captured.

Younger audiences and adults alike will marvel and be entranced by the dark tone and the tense conflict. The more tense moments chill and the emotional moments move. There shouldn't be any confusion and there is nothing to scare youngsters, even the admittedly eerie character design for Richard, which adds a lot to his character regardless of how it fares on historical terms. The characters are true to personality and handled with great respect.

The visuals are very appealing to look at, colourful, meticulously detailed, nicely rendered and atmospheric and perfectly suited to the various characters and tone of the play, very dark and rich in atmosphere. The music is never inappropriate, the narration is never over-explanatory or annoying, neither is it dumbed down. Alec McCowen voices it sincerely.

Voice acting can't be faulted really, with Anthony Sher capturing Richard's embittered personality chillingly without being pantomimic. Eleanor Bron and Tom Wilkinson are also splendid in roles that suit them well, Wilkinson in particular.

Summing up, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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