The television adaptation of Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III, which played acclaimed runs in London and New York, has set a May 14, 2017, premiere on PBS’ Masterpiece. Show time is 9-11 PM ET.
The darkly comic futuristic verse play imagines what would occur if Prince Charles were to ascend the throne. Tim Pigott-Smith, who starred as Charles, Prince of Wales onstage, will reprise his performance on screen.
King Charles III is co-production between BBC and Masterpiece, with Bartlett on board to adapt his script, which was originally commissioned by the play’s stage director, Rupert Goold, who will again direct for television.
A modern riff on Shakespeare’s history plays with echoes of Hamlet and Macbeth, Bartlett crafted the play in verse and iambic pentameter, employing many of the same Elizabethan-era stage devices used to depict offstage action and the passage of time.
Through a mix of introspective monologues and theatrical pageantry, the play begins with the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of Charles, Prince of Wales to the throne. When the monarchy exerts its power after a conflict arises with the British government, the country, and the royal family, are thrown into chaos.