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Edward II


We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
by Christopher Marlowe
The troublesome raiune and lamentable death of Edward the Second, King of England: with the trauicall fall of proud Mortimer and also the life and death of Peirs Gaveston, the great Earle of Cornewall and mighty favourite of King Edward the Second.
Music by Carl Davis
Cast in order of speaking :
Produced by John Tydeman
To be repeated on April 2
(John Humphry is in 'Lady Windermere's Fan' at the Phoenix Theatre, London)
Music by Orlando Gibbons played by THURSTON DART (harpsichord)
gramophone record

OF Edward II a great deal is offered by way of literary criticism - invidious comparisons with Shakespeare's Richard II included. But of the best kind of criticism any play can receive - a production of it - Edward II receives remarkably little.
Why, then, is Edward II consigned to the library shelf? Certainly the compression of twenty-three years' history makes for some confusion and gives rise to a lot of rapid battling in places far apart. But Marlowe's mastery creates the illusion of unity and characters develop in the time ratio he creates for himself - and for us.
Is it the horror of Edward's end, or the homosexual element implicit in his relationships that have made the theatre timid? Until recently one might have thought so. But nowadays we find all this no more unspeakable than did the Elizabethans.
The conflict in Edward II is essentially that between private freedom and public duty, between man and King. Edward is a young man who as King demands the right to bestow gifts and affection where he will. As Marlowe reminds us, and as Edward learns, Kings are not as other men - their responsibilities border on the divine, their griefs are great, and their suffering demands our pity.
Dramatically speaking, fourteenth-century politics still have contemporary reference and relevance. Brecht was aware of this when he made his adaptation of the play. But Marlowe's play can speak for itself - and it should be allowed to speak more often. JOHN TYDEMAN


Unknown: Christopher Marlowe
Produced By: John Tydeman
Unknown: John Humphry
Music By: Orlando Gibbons
Played By: Thurston Dart
King Edward: Alec McCowen
The Younger Mortimer: David Buck
Gaveston: Ian McKellen
The Queen: Marjorie Westbury
Chronicler: Noel Howlett
Gavestnn: Ian McKellen
Kim; Edward II: Alec McCowen
Earl of Lancaster: John Justin
Elder Mortimer: George Hagan
Younger Mortimer: David Buck
Edmund, Earl of Kent: John Rye
Earl of Warwick: John Westbrook
Archbishop of Canterbury: Rolf Lefebvre
Queen Isabella: Marjorie Westbury
Earl of Pembroke: Trevor Martin
Baldock: Denys Bladelock
Youmser Spencer: David Spenser
Niece to Edward II: Shtila Grant
Elder Spencer: James Thomason
Earl of Arundel: John Humphry
Prince Edward: Glyn Dearman
Rice Ap Howel: Trevor Martin
Karl of Leicester: William Eedls
Sir William Trussel: Alan Dudley
Matrevis: Anthony Jackson
Gurney: Brian Hewlett
Litfhtborn: Rolf Lefebvri

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This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

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Feedback about Edward II, Network Three, 19.55, 17 March 1967
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