King Lear, BBC Two, Monday, May 28, 9.30pm
Set in the fictional present, the 80 year-old King Lear (Anthony Hopkins) divides his kingdom among his daughters, Goneril (Emma Thompson), Regan (Emily Watson) and Cordelia (Florence Pugh) - according to their affection for him.
Cordelia refuses to flatter him, so he banishes her. Having acquired power, Goneril and Regan expel their father from their homes.
At the same time, Lear’s prime minister, Gloucester (Jim Broadbent), is betrayed by his son Edmund (John Macmillan) and his other son, Edgar (Andrew Scott), is forced to go into hiding.
Lear becomes mad, Gloucester is blinded: both the kingdom and the family descend into chaos and warfare.
Adapted and directed by Bafta and Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre, King Lear is a powerful and timely exploration of greed, love, power and mortality.
Emma Thompson said: “I will never see a better Lear, I know that.
“I will die not having seen anyone do it better.”
“We had the best time. We stood around watching each other - and we all had this incredible experience of watching Anthony Hopkins play King Lear.
“Every time he did his speeches on set and during rehearsals, he gave it full blast even if he wasn’t on camera. He was miraculous.”
Join the conversation with Screen Babble on Facebook.