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Cultural depictions of Henry IV of England

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Title: Cultural depictions of Henry IV of England  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Henry IV of England
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cultural depictions of Henry IV of England

Henry IV of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times.


Almost two hundred years after his death, Henry became the subject of two plays by William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2, as well as featuring prominently in Richard II. As the Earl of Derby, he is also a character in Gordon Daviot's play Richard of Bordeaux.

He is also a main character in Sara Douglass's The Crucible Trilogy, a work of historical fiction.


Henry has been portrayed on screen by:


Henry has been portrayed a number of times on television, mainly in versions of Shakespeare's plays. In this context he has been played by:

  • Clement McCallin in a BBC version of The Tragedy of King Richard II (1950)
  • Kent Smith in an American version of Richard II (1954)
  • Tom Fleming in the BBC series An Age of Kings (1960), which contained all the history plays from Richard II to Richard III
  • Erik Hell in Henrik IV (1964), a Swedish version of Henry IV
  • Hartmut Reck in König Richard II (1968), a West German version of Richard II
  • Timothy West in another BBC version of The Tragedy of King Richard II (1970)
  • Sándor Lukács in II. Richárd (1976), a Hungarian version of Richard II
  • Jon Finch in the BBC Shakespeare version of King Richard the Second (1978) and both parts of Henry IV (1979)
  • Michael Cronin in the BBC series The Wars of the Roses (1989), which included all of Shakespeare's history plays performed by the English Shakespeare Company
  • Nikolai Lavrov in Richard Vtoroi (1992), a Russian version of Richard II
  • Ronald Pickup in a BBC film, Henry IV (1995), a version of Henry IV, Part 1
  • Richard Bremmer in a British TV film, Richard II (1997)
  • Veit Schubert in another German version of Richard II (2001)
  • Liam Brennan in another BBC film, Richard II (2003), broadcast live from the Globe Theatre in London

Henry has also been played on television by:

  • Ralph Truman in a BBC adaptation of Richard of Bordeaux (1938)
  • John Arnatt in another BBC adaptation of Richard of Bordeaux (1955)


  • Henry was played by Barry Smith in a straight-to-video film adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard the Second (2001).
  • Paul Shenar played him in an American video Richard II (1982), in an Elizabethan style stage production of the play.

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