Ray Winstone jumped at the chance to play a king as it meant
could dress up. By Karen Hockney
Henry VIII Sunday ITV1
Ray Winstone is no stranger to tackling macho roles and, in the
century, British monarch Henry VIII was about as macho as they
To get into character for the powerful two-part drama about the
and loves of the infamous king, Ray had to don a fetching pair
breeches and a codpiece - something that he relished!
"We had fun with it," laughs Ray. "I had the rings
and the baggy trousers - I felt like a rap star.
"The costumes are quite manly and pretty heavy. By the end
week, I was dead on my legs!"
The role was quite a departure for Ray, best known for TV dramas
such as Lenny Blue and films like Sexy Beast and Love, Honour
Obey. "It's flattering because I know I'm not the obvious
admits. "I'm a kid from east London playing a king.
"The role has been tackled before by some very talented
people, so I
tried to look for a different angle and just play him as an ordinary
"It's been a tough job, and you have to be on the ball all
But that's all part of the challenge."
Ray says he loved jousting on horseback, putting people to death
having the all-encompassing power of the Tudor king.
And the chance to work with a host of beautiful actresses playing
his wives, including Helena Bonham Carter - who was pregnant
filming - as Anne Boleyn and Emilia Fox as Jane Seymour, was
"I get to work with blinding actresses and they're all tremendous
and all very different. I'm a lucky boy," he laughs.
"I loved working with Helena. You can have a laugh with
her - and
that's important if you've got to snog all day!"
Even though Ray was the only choice for the role, he was still
overawed to be headlining a cast that includes Charles Dance,
Ackland, David Suchet, Sean Bean and Mark Strong.
"It didn't really hit me until I walked into the production
and saw everyone's pictures on the wall. I kept thinking, 'Oh
I'm the only one I don't know!'"
After tough times in the early Nineties, which left him bankrupt,
Ray is thrilled to be in such demand. His new movie Cold Mountain,
which also stars Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, is out next year,
has just finished a thriller, She's Gone, as well as the big-budget
epic King Arthur, which stars Clive Owen.
"I'm very content," says Ray, who lives in Essex with
Elaine and their daughters Lois, 21, Jaime, 17, and two-year-old
Ellie. "I'm happy with my career and my home life. I feel
lucky to be
able to earn money doing a job I love."
KATHERINE OF ARAGON. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1509-1533
Katherine was the widow of Henry's brother. They had one daughter
and later divorced. DIVORCED
ANNE BOLEYN. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1533-1536
(HELENA BONHAM CARTER) Scheming Anne was executed for infidelity.
She gave Henry a daughter. BEHEADED
JANE SEYMOUR. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1536
(EMILIA FOX) The day after Anne's execution, Henry married his
true love. She died giving birth to their son. DIED
ANNE OF CLEVES. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1540
The German princess disappointed Henry with her homely ways and
marriage was a failure. DIVORCED
KATHERINE HOWARD. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1540-1542
A vivacious girl who was much younger than Henry. She was executed
for infidelity. BEHEADED
KATHERINE PARR. REIGNED AS QUEEN: 1543-1547
Henry's sixth wife was devoted to her husband and his children.
outlived him. SURVIVED