Henry VIII - Press Archive - The Times

Source: The Times
March 22, 2003

Six wives and two more TV series for Henry VIII
By Adam Sherwin, Media Reporter

THE tyrannical life of Henry VIII is to be the subject of two
major television dramas as broadcasters seek to cash in on the
success of recent history programmes on the Tudor monarch.
The Other Boleyn Girl, which will be broadcast on BBC Two on Friday,
is based on Philippa Gregory's book about Mary Boleyn, who was
Henry's mistress before he married her sister, Anne.

The BBC originally rejected Ms Gregory's proposal, saying that it
was looking to dramatise only historical classics. But the
popularity of the series presented by David Starkey and Simon
Schama, combined with an upsurge in royal interest during the
Jubilee last year, changed the climate. Steven Spielberg is said to
be interested in buying an option on the film rights to Ms Gregory's

Granada is investing £6 million in a glossy epic for ITV1 entitled
Henry VIII, which stars Ray Winstone as the King and Helena Bonham
Carter as Anne Boleyn.

Directed by Pete Travis, who created the comedy series Cold Feet,
the 100-minute film, to be broadcast in the autumn, promises to
capture a "complex and charismatic King who turned from handsome
playboy to a bitter invalid, desperate for a son and heir".

It has been co-funded by international broadcasters, including WGBH
of Boston, CBC of Canada and the Australian ABC channel. The cast
includes David Suchet, Emilia Fox, Sean Bean, Juliet Aubrey and
Charles Dance.

Although Henry's battles with the Church will be touched upon, the
focus is on the unfortunate wives. "The lucky ones were ruthlessly
cast aside. The not so lucky ones were sent to their death," the
synopsis says.

Further historical dramas are being prepared. Jimmy McGovern is
writing a film about James I and the Gunpowder Plot, and a four-part
BBC One drama about Charles II is in production.


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