Corsets were once again bursting as BBC Two’s The Tudors returned for a second run last night.
This ‘Dynasty meets The West Wing’ rendition of history made for fun viewing last year thanks to Sam Neil’s scheming Cardinal Wolsey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers who pouted and preened his way through the proceedings as Henry VIII.
Last night’s opener saw Henry still trying to end his marriage to Katherine so he could wed an increasingly impatient Anne Boleyn despite Rome’s opposition. With Wolsey taking his own life at the end of the first series the role of plotting priest has gone to Peter O’Toole, hamming it up as Pope Paul III.
The scripts by Michael Hirst have a vague feel of Aaron Sorkin to them, it’s not hard to imagine Toby and CJ from The West Wing delivering some of the lines as they power walk through the White House. Never can the Tudor period have contained so many beautiful and well dressed people – even the peasants (on the few appearances they make) look nicely turned out.
Detractors like to point out that the show is about as historically accurate as The Flintstones but unlike, say, BBC One’s Bonekickers, it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than frothy fiction. Whereas the producers of that nonsense sought to play up the (widely disputed) accuracy of archeology in their show Hirst proudly declares that his job was to write “entertainment, a soap opera, and not history”.
Fan’s will be pleased to hear that the show’s US broadcaster Showtime have ordered a third season which is currently in production for transmission next year and according to the BBC Rhys Meyers is committed to a fourth run.