I’ve just seen the Channel 4 documentary on the rediscovery of the body of Richard III in a carpark in Leicester, which was the best human drama I’ve seen in many a month. This thoughtful review puts it better than I ever could.
‘It doesn’t look like the face of a tyrant’, declared Phillipa Langley as she stared longingly at the reconstructed head of Richard III at the end of Channel 4’s extraordinary documentary Richard III: The King in the Car Park. Langley, whose passion for Richard led to the discovery of the Plantagenet King’s skeleton in a car park in Leicester, had finally found the Richard she was looking for and was overcome with emotion, ‘You can kind of see the man really, can’t you…and there’s no Tudor mythology all over him.’ By ‘Tudor mythology’ Langley implicitly means Shakespeare’s play Richard III.
The Tragedy of Richard III, one of Shakespeare’s most enduring and compelling explorations of villainy and performance, has become, for the public imagination at least, historical record. As the play opens we are greeted by a ‘deformed’ and ‘unfinished’ ‘bunch-backed toad’ who is so morally repugnant and…
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