top of page


This production first aired on 28th May 2018 on BBC 2.

Set in the fictional present, King Lear sees Academy® Award winner Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Academy® Award and BAFTA® Award winner Emma Thompson stars as his oldest daughter Goneril.  Academy® Award nominee and BAFTA® Award winner Emily Watson (Theory of Everything, Genius) stars as his middle daughter Regan, and rising star Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear’s children.  

BBC Two, Amazon Prime Video, Golden Globe®, BAFTA®, and RTS® Award-winning drama producer Playground and Olivier® and Tony® Award-winning producer Sonia Friedman Productions announced that Anthony Hopkins (The Dresser, Nixon, Silence of the Lambs) and Emma Thompson (The Children Act, The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility) reunite in their third collaboration and lead an all-star cast for their upcoming production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, adapted and directed by BAFTA® and Olivier® Award-winning director Richard Eyre (The Dresser, Notes on a Scandal).

The film for television is commissioned by the BBC and will premiere on BBC Two in the UK in 2018. Amazon Studios is co-producing and taking US and German rights. Amazon Prime Video will also air the drama in the UK, following the BBC’s run. 

Academy® Award and BAFTA® Award winner Jim Broadbent (Iris, Game of Thrones) takes the role of the Earl of Gloucester, BAFTA® Award winner Andrew Scott (Sherlock, The Hollow Crown) as his loyal son Edgar and John Macmillan (Hanna, Chewing Gum) as his illegitimate son Edmund.  

Emmy® Award nominated Jim Carter (Downton Abbey, Cranford) takes the role of the Earl of Kent, Emmy® Award winner Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Thor: The Dark World) as Oswald, and Golden Globe® nominee Tobias Menzies (Outlander, The Terror) plays the Duke of Cornwall. Anthony Calf (New Tricks, Riviera) plays the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson (Wittgenstein, Rome) is set to play Lear’s loyal jester the Fool.  

 “It is a tribute to the great Richard Eyre that we have brought together such a remarkable cast. The film is a testament to the BBC’s ongoing commitment to the single drama, and we are very appreciative of their continued support,” Colin Callender, and Sonia Friedman, Executive Producers said. “We are particularly excited to be working with Amazon and their support for the film reflects their emergence as a leading global brand of top quality drama.” 

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said: “Richard Eyre has assembled an unmissable cast to embody his vision for a timeless but deeply resonant screen adaptation of King Lear. We are all looking forward to seeing this landmark production come to life on BBC Two.” 

“Playground has an incredible track record of producing award-worthy series and films, and we are delighted to work with them and SFP on bringing such a star-studded, exciting adaptation to Prime members,” said Brad Beale, Vice President, Worldwide TV Content Acquisition, Amazon Prime Video.



JIM BROADBENT – Earl of Gloucester

JIM CARTER – Earl of Kent

TOBIAS MENZIES – Duke of Cornwall



RICHARD EYRE – Adaptation and Director

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – Original Playwright


BEN SMITHARD – Cinematography

bottom of page