Set in the fictional present, King Lear sees Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins (The Dresser, Nixon, Silence of the Lambs) as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner Emma Thompson (The Children Act, The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility) 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 BAFTA nominee Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear’s children.
Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner Jim Broadbent (Iris, Game of Thrones) is the Earl of Gloucester, with 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) is the Earl of Kent, with Emmy Award winner Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Thor: The Dark World) as Oswald, and Golden Globe nominee Tobias Menzies (Outlander, The Terror) as the Duke of Cornwall. Anthony Calf (New Tricks, Riviera) plays the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson (Wittgenstein, Rome) is Lear’s loyal jester the Fool.
King Lear has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore at the BBC, and is produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, Little Women) and Sonia Friedman Productions (The Dresser) in association with Lemaise Pictures Limited for BBC Two. The drama is a co-production with Amazon Studios. The producer is Noëlette Buckley (The Dresser, Wolf Hall). Executive producers are Colin Callender and Scott Huff for Playground, Sonia Friedman for Sonia Friedman Productions, and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Great Point Media represents international rights in the project.