Judi Dench to join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC’s Richard III adaptation

Judi Dench, who will appear in BBC2's Richard III. Photo: Pamela Raith
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Judi Dench is to join Benedict Cumberbatch, Sally Hawkins and Keeley Hawes in BBC2’s next Shakespeare adaptations, which form part of of its Hollow Crown series.

The three filmed adaptations – Henry VI (in two parts) and Richard III – are collectively called The Hollow Crown – The War of the Roses.

Dench will play Cecily, Duchess of York, alongside Cumberbatch’s Richard III.

Sophie Okonedo has been cast as Queen Margaret across all three films, while Hugh Bonneville will play Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, with Hawkins as his wife Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, in Henry VI part one.

Hawes will play Queen Elizabeth in Henry VI part two and Richard III, and Tom Sturridge has been cast as Henry VI in parts one and two.

Dominic Cooke will direct all the films, which have been adapted by Ben Power.

They are co-produced by Neal Street Productions with Carnival Films and NBCUniversal and Thirteen.

Meanwhile, BBC2 has also commissioned an adaptation of Iain Banks’ novel Stonemouth – the first TV adaptation of his work since his death in 2013.

A BBC Scotland and Slate North co-production for both BBC1 Scotland and BBC2, the two-part drama is set in the fictional Aberdeenshire village of Stonemouth.

Written by David Kane, it is directed by Charles Martin and will be filmed in locations around Scotland from October 2014. Casting has yet to be announced.

In comedy, BBC2 has commissioned a new sketch show called The Javone Prince Show.

The four-part series will be the first production for Phil Bowker and Lee Tucker’s company Lovely Electricity and will be made jointly with the BBC’s comedy department.

Elsewhere, Boy Meets Girl will be Britain’s first transgender sitcom. Created by Elliott Kerrigan and written by Kerrigan and Simon Carlyle, it will be set and filmed in and around Manchester.

Boys Meets Girl is a six-part series from Tiger Aspect.

BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw said the commissions “demonstrate the ongoing confidence and range of BBC2”.

“My focus is on building on that success to ensure that BBC2 continues to thrive in its next 50 years with ambitious, enjoyable and distinctive new programmes across comedy, entertainment, drama and factual,” she said.