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Not such a “Merry Monarch”.

Posted by Big John on October 8, 2008

I must say that I do enjoy watching a good historical drama on TV, and over the years there have been many; one of which was .. ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ .. made in 1970 and starring Keith Michell who played a very believable King Henry; as did Richard Burton in ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’.

With this in mind I tuned in to ‘The Tudors’, which I quickly re-named .. ‘Royal Rumpy-Pumpy’.. Blimey ! I’ve heard of ‘History-Lite’, but this series takes ‘Ye Olde Pisse’ !

“OK !”, (as Henry exclaimed in one episode) so I found the programme entertaining and unintentionally funny in places, but why ‘sex-up’ history when the facts and characters are dramatic enough in themselves.

I’m sure that even as a young man Henry had ginger hair, a beard and was probably of a ‘stocky’ build. When Catherine of Aragon died during the time of his marriage to Anne Boleyn he was fortyfive years old, and yet he was depicted in the movie as a slim, black haired, clean-shaven twenty-something !

Among the many historical errors the most obvious are that Henry had two sisters (not one), Margaret and Mary. Margaret married the King of Scotland and Mary married the King of France, but as far as I know, there is no evidence that Mary ever killed her husband, and Henry Fitzroy (the king’s illegitimate son) was about eighteen when he died, not three. Cardinal Wolsey did not commit suicide, and the whole story line involving various Popes was confused to say the least.

In one episode I did notice that Anne Boleyn was riding in a carriage which did not exist at the time, but failed to spot the ‘tarmac’ and radiator covers that appeared in other scenes.

I have to confess that I am a bit puzzled by the title .. ‘The Tudors’ .. as there were quite a few of them, including six monarchs. We’ve already missed out on Henry VII and after two series we have only got as far as Henry VIII’s third wife.

I wonder if we will ever …

get to meet the rest of the family ? 😕


5 Responses to “Not such a “Merry Monarch”.”

  1. Chris said

    ‘The Tudors’ has always seemed a bit over-hyped, so I’ve steered clear of it. Yes, it might be entertainment rather than education, but still, accuracy does matter. The producers would have been better to omit things they didn’t want; making alterations such as you describe just makes the whole thing look like a joke.

    By the way, talking of inaccuracies, I couldn’t help noticing WordPress’s idea of a ‘possibly related post’ to this one. What the hell has HTTP Pipelining got to do with historical drama?

  2. Pamela said

    I’m so glad to read your opinion. I’m certain that neither of us are prudes, but I had called it soft porn in period costume, since the “plot” was so inaccurate that there really was nothing else left.

    Wasn’t the real Henry supposed to be 6′ 2″ too? Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers appears to be a 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) shortarse.

    They describe the series as “historical fiction”, but changing the facts so much only creates confusion and misinformation.

  3. Big John said

    Nice to hear from you, Pamela. Sorry that your comment was held up in my spam queue. Enjoyed your ‘Historical Hopscotch’. I’m not sure about Henry’s height, but I’ve seen his armour (including cod-piece), and he was a pretty big bloke in more ways than one. 😆

  4. Darlene said

    I really hate it when the producers of a ‘so called’ historical drama take liberties with the facts. So many people get their history this way (lazy intellectually) that they think the inaccuracies are true. The one drama that I thought stayed closer to the truth was the John Adams series.

  5. I too have misgivings when films and TV series take liberties with facts. The excuse of “dramatic necessity” is a cop-out as far as I am concerned.

    The only good I hope comes out of it is that some of the people who watch will be intrigued enough to go off and read a genuine history and perhaps discover how interesting and how much fun real history can be.

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