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 ….

Murder on the Ice Floor?

Murder on the Ice Floor

On the ice no-one can hear you scream ...

So, it looked like Jason was going to get the sack from Dancing On Ice (well, depending on which newspaper you read).

But now, praise the Lord and pass the glitter. It looks like he’ll be able to brighten up the contestants evenings for a good while yet.

I’m not saying he needs to be careful when walking down dark alleys or that he shouldn’t be looking over his shoulder every five seconds. What I am saying is he just needs the odd platoon of Paras to accompany him when he takes his seat at the judges desk.

I’m reckoning that the reason he has taken to wearing that flat cap on this series is that he’s got a Beretta snuck under there. You can never be to careful when you’re making enemies and pissing-off people.

Still, it all makes for good television and I’ll bet the producers are rubbing their wallets in glee at the publicity (and of course, the revenues) that all this Ice Storm is generating.

And if they have to adopt airport style security and pat down the contestants, the audience AND the judges before allowing them into the studio then so be it. Just open the studio doors a little earlier thats all.

Apparently the song contestant Kerry Katona (an earlier Jason victim) is dancing to this week is The First Cut Is The Deepest.

Snap, Crackle and Flop!

Now that our Alistair has written out British Historys biggest IOU and left the nations great-grandchildren in hock to who knows who, for how knows long; It was nice last night to settle down and take solace in the latest episode of The Apprentice.

The two teams had just two days to become media advertising geniuses and create a breakfast cereal brand name, character, box design, TV advert and client pitch.
Wow! It’d take most execs. that amount of time to clean the whiteboard and get out their felt marker pens.

One team achieved the task admirably and produced a good campaign. The other team? Well, like all bad products, it all starts with a crappy list of ingredients.

First take a small amount of sclerotic Noorul, the man who never says too much. Well, getting him to say or do anything would be worthy of a prize in itself.

Then add a spoonful of negative Lorraine. “We don’t need the other side to beat us. I’m gonna’ f*** our teams chances up, by whinging and generally carrying on, quite nicely without any help from them thank you.

Mix in a generous measure of  ‘tantrum of the North’ Philip. “It’s quite simple, either I get my own way or I’ll lie down on this floor right now, wave my legs in the air and have the biggest hissy fit the world has ever known.”

To finish this concoction, simmer not-so-gently with Kimberly, ‘I’m an American, get me out of here’, Davis as the finest transatlantic wet blanket project manager ever and you have the makings of a truly, madly, deeply er … mess.

I won’t go through the events of the episode. You can watch them perform in all their cringe worthy mediocrity here.

But I forgot, there’s one other ingredient that you need to produce TV gold like this.

Just add Sugar.

The Apprentice – you’re inspired!

Lock the doors, take the ‘phone off the hook, give the cat some prawns, banish the kids to their bedrooms, get granny an extra sherry. Yes The Apprentice is back!

March 25th. (Wednesday) sees the welcome return of this classic suited n’ booted, tycoon finding, knockout TV extravaganza.

Hosted as usual by the Sid James of the corporate boardroom, as Jonathan Ross refers to Alan Sugar, The Financial Times readers version of X-Factor returns for a Fifth series.

I love it when the contestants all start off luvey duvey with each other, talking about team building and giving their all, while all the time hoping and planning to stuff up one anothers chances at the first opportunity.

Though I do think some of the contestants must be looking to be awarded the business persons version of the V.C. because they seem very keen to put themselves right in the firing line.

For example who’d be a team leader in the first programme? Whew, lamb to the slaughter or what? Anyone who’s smart won’t do it but you always get some schmuck who’s talked into doing it by having their vanity massaged.

“We think you’d be great.”
“As soon as we saw you we thought you were the one to lead us in this first task.”
(Titter, titter)
“Aw shuks, sure okay then, ‘course I’ll do it.”

You can almost hear the taxi driver starting his black cab up, ready to whisk them off to business oblivion land. (Though personally I reckon they just get dropped off by the bustop at the end of the road, London taxi fares, do me a favour!)
They won’t be remembered by anybody except possibly some drunken guest at their next party, “Oh you were the prat that went out first weren’t you? You got well stiched up!”

Sometimes their personal competition winning tactics also seem a bit strange to me. Do they not realise that if they get in the bad books of that weeks Team Leader they are going into the boardroom for sure?
If you don’t agree with your boss, shutup, look helpful and take solace in the fact that their gonna’ get theirs sometime soon and you’ll be smiling right at them when they do.

“Et tu, Brute?”
“Damn right matey. BIFF!”

It’s nice to see that Alan Sugar’s cockney accent hasn’t been rounded off by his many years of champagne and limos. It will be a welcome return of some of his not so chirpy cockney catchphrases including:-

“You’re not pissin’ my money up the wall!”
“I don’t like liars, I don’t like cheats. I don’t like bullshitters.I don’t like schmoozers. I don’t like arse-lickers.”
“You’ve gone out and lost me money!”

His accent is so strong I keep expecting him to say, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”, at any minute.

But it does beg the question what will the eventual winners actually be doing? I thought he’d sold his manufacturing empire and was just involved with property?

Perhaps they’ll just end up as glorified secretaries.

If that’s so I do hope the winner has brushed up on their shorthand and typing.

The Apprentice - The Best Of [DVD]

My company needs YOU!

University Challenging

I really enjoyed watching ‘University Challenge’ this year. This comes as something of a shock to me because in the past I’ve loathed the programme with a vengeance.

I only needed to hear the theme music and like Pavlov’s dogs I would react; knuckles going white, snarl coming from lips, vein throbbing in forehead. You get the picture.

So when I happened to fall upon the programme by chance, halfway through the present series, I didn’t expect too much but lo’ and behold I found myself hooked. I’d spend a happy half hour vainly making attempts at providing answers but mostly I spent my time just trying to understand the questions.

The final was great, far more worthy than any sporting event, so imagine the disappointment when I discovered today that the winning team had been disqualified.

And the reason?

‘… students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series.’

Apparently Corpus Christie College, Oxford had a team member who when the final was filmed was not a student anymore but working for PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers.)


I’m not the sharpest tool in the box but I can read a set of rules. A team consisting of some of the finest young minds in the country hadn’t noticed that one of their fellows was now working (surely they must have missed him at the student union bar) and that fact might cause a bit of a problem.

It’s strangely, reassuringly comforting that these people whose bedtime reading probably consists of Advanced Nuclear Physics or Ancient Latin Verbs and Conjugations had failed to cast a little eye on the rules as they steamrollered their way through the heats and semi-finals.

So in the great tradition of U.C. your starter for 10.

“Has anyone read the rules?”



Sources: The Guardian;      BBC

Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

                Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Todd Carty slips out

So Todd ‘Tucker Jenkins‘ Carty is out of ‘Dancing on Ice.’ It was obviously going to happen sooner rather than later or they would have had to rename the show ‘Sack of Potatoes on Ice.’

To say he was of a lower standard than the other competitors would be an understatement. As one of the judges Jason said, his solo basically consisted of him standing still and smiling at the camera.

Which means that the Charlie Chaplin of ice has finally made his last bow but we all knew that this lovable, slightly roguish figure only had a limited shelf life. He certainly had his share of second chances but these could only be sustained as long as Joe public was willing to cough up and pay to vote for him.

If it had been up to the judges he’d have been out week 1.

I think Todd’s performances (and I’m using the term generously) have actually been outdone by the commuters of Great Britain this last week as they’ve ‘Triple Salchowed‘, ‘Double Axeled‘ and ‘Headbanged‘ their way up and down the UK.

No-one can deny though that he’s been entertaining. I watched his performance to the song ‘Help!’ a number of times on YouTube and couldn’t help laughing each time when he whizzed off stage and re-appeared a few moments later with a sheepish grin on his face. But you can only do this so many times before the joke wears as thin as the ice he was skating on.

But he is a natural comedian and I hope to see him on the box in the near future. As is the case with these programmes they are usually undertaken to revive or kick-start a flagging career. It would be a shame to lose him to out-of-work-TV-hell.

But for Dancing on Ice, this particular sack of spuds has had his chips.

Figure Skating for Dummies

Todd - you were a star!

Reading the news causes pregnancy!

There seems to be something strange going on at the various news channels throughout the country.
A number of the regular presenters are getting pregnant. Already we’ve seen the demise of Cathy Newman from Channel 4 news as well as Kylie Morris from More 4.

You’ll no doubt know about Sian Williams from BBC’s Breakfast who bowed out last week to the pregnancy bug.

So I certainly won’t be surprised when I see someone from say BBC’s News 24 who looks seriously like they are awaiting a visit from the proverbial stork.

So what’s it all about?  Has some strange chemical invaded the water coolers of our local news agencies?

Is there some airborne super pregnancy bug around from which the newswomen of this country are succumbing too?

Or did they all receive a complimentary copy of  ‘Get pregnant NOW!’ in the post and decided to follow the advice to the letter?

Whatever the reason there’s going to some mini-newsreaders around very soon and their respective mums will be able to give a very professional update on their progress in hourly bulletins…

1:00am Fed baby.
2:00am Fed baby.
3:00am Slept soundly (so did the baby.)
4:00am Kicked father out of bed to feed baby.
4:30am Had to rescue father from extremely messy nappy changing situation.

Who’s next I wonder? Stay tuned!

Remember, you read the theory here first.