The Tudors: Fiction, History or Ficstory?

The Tudors: Fiction, History or Ficstory?

The Tudors: Would you want to meet them down a dark alley?

Well, if you’re a fan of The Tudors (and I definately am) then you’ll have not missed last nights ‘slaughterhouse’ episode. This was the one where the producers dramatically reduced, quite literally, the head count of the actors / actresses on their payroll.

As for whether any of it was historically accurate or not? To paraphrase the bard, “Fact or History? That, matey, is the question.”

The Wikipedia entry for The Tudors states:

Events in the series differ from events as they actually happened in history. Liberties are taken with character names, relationships, physical appearance and the timing of events.

Ah well, they haven’t fiddled with too much then.

To be honest it’s all a damn good, Carry On style romp and I would hazard a guess that if a true historical fact slipped in here and there it was more of an accident than intentional. I’m sure the company making this programme on the end credits was called “MakeItUpAsYouGoAlong Productions.”

The list could probably go on for pages and pages but some highlights of The Tudors are:-

  • The fact that King Henty VIII (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) doesnt’t appear to age much. Apart from a little distinguished greying around his still luscious locks that is.
  • He doesn’t seem to be very portly as popularly displayed in other portrayls AND the history books. Either that or he is wearing the World’s best girdle.
  • The famous damaged leg appears to miraculously heal itself and then re-appear again week by week and even during an episode.
  • All of his wives are beautiful even though the contempory pictures of them show them as looking well, pretty ugly really.

But that’s alright. You can’t let some boring, stuffy textbook facts get in the way of nudity coupled with a liberal helping of good old Tudor rumpy, pumpy.

And I was particularly impressed with the fact that they were able to get one last nude scene in for Lady Katherine (played by Tamzin Merchant) while she was practiscing putting her head on the block in her cell in the Tower.

That was inspired!

“Naked Beheading”, it should be a Saturday night game show!

But this fine piece of factless fiction does have gorgeous costumes, amazing jewellery and stunning sets.

So, The Tudors: Fiction, History or Ficstory?

Who cares?

If you wanna’ know the truth, go read a book or watch David Starkey on the History Channel.

Now where did I put my codpiece ….

Poldark – you CAN’T miss it!

I don’t know if anyone’s been watching the re-run of Poldark on UKTV History channel but if they haven’t then they are missing a rare treat.

Poldark Titles

Poldark Titles

It was originally aired in 1975 and had a huge following. (I’ll forget the fact that there was only three channels, no DVD, no satellite, no ipod, no playstation, no nothing really.) And accept that it was so massively watched because it was damn good.

For anyone not aware it is a good old romp through Cornish history revolving round copper mining but including much of what else went on historically along the way. Set in the late 1700’s it features the main character of Ross Poldark (played by the excellent Robin Ellis.) Recently arrived back from the American wars to claim back his inheritance and his beloved.
Of course it all goes a bit south (not much further south, we are in Cornwall after all.)

Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis)

Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis)

This of course is where the fun starts. Think of Dallas in costume (with the wind, without the sunny weather.)
Think of Dynasty without the glam, think of Eastenders with a Cornish accent. Think of Hollyoaks, no don’t think of Hollyoaks.

It’s all there and in bucketfuls. Or should I say shovel fulls, this is a mining tale you know.

I won’t give to much away about the story, but if you’re interested have a look. It won’t take long to catch up and it’s well worth it for the breath of fresh air that the brisk sea breeze brings. Just make sure you’re not down wind of the locals. They can afford to drink rum, not so much buy soap by the looks of it.

I think some of the characters are great. Demelza played by Angharad Rees is feisty, spirited and way to old for the part at the beginning of the series. She was meant to be sixteen-ish, a very big ish.
The statutory baddy George Warleggan played by Ralph Bates is an evil treasure.

And you have to admire the language, “You little moxy!”  ,   “I demand satisfaction!

You don’t get that down Albert Square.

The pictures were taken from my telly. It’s not HD quality stuff but I think it gives a grainy, historical feel to this grainy, historical drama. (Okay I’m just being cheap and quick but ‘no ye never mind capt.’ )

From a mercenary point of view I’m still hoping to get a glimpse of an old Ford Escort or Hillman Imp parked round the back of an’ ol’ stone barn that’s sneaked into shot but until now I’ve been disappointed. But I shall keep looking.

I love this programme. I maybe coming back to it in future posts … You have been warned!

Buy the series from Amazon on glorious DVD

Buy the books by Winston Graham (the adaption is based on his Poldark books, kind of, well not too kind really.)

Poldark tries to beat them at their own game

Poldark tries to beat them at their own game