The Tudors Review

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The (saucy) early life of Henry VIII


The writer of Elizabeth set out to expand upon the ‘early, wilderness years’ style. The producers (who count Showtime and Working Title among them) wanted another ‘sexy-historical’ in the vein of HBO’s Rome.
The life and times of young Henry VIII were an obvious choice, but the results are mixed (although the audiences were strong).

Assuming no prior knowledge of the era, early episodes feel heavily signposted, but things gradually improve and it displays a strength for detail - most retellings of Harry 8 just trounce through the wives; after ten episodes, The Tudors is at the beginning of Anne Boleyn’s 1,000 days. The attempts to sex things up are another matter - in Rome it felt appropriate, almost exotic. Here it feels like ratings-grabbing.