Royal succession: Age of Kings begat Masterpiece

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The first big British TV import and a model for PBS’s Masterpiece, the BBC’s 15-part An Age of Kings, is available now for the first time in 40 years, J. Hoberman writes in the Sunday New York Times. (The set on DVD sells for $32.99 at Compiled from Shakespeare’s history plays — from Richard II, through the Henrys to Richard III — the series was broadcast live in Britain in 1959, with Judy Dench when she was younger but lovely nevertheless, and imported on kinescopes. Two non-network commercial stations aired it first and then National Educational Television. David Stewart looked back at the series in Current.