Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Tudors Marathon

While I have been recuperating from a bad throat infection, I have had the pleasure of watching the miniseries The Tudors for the first time.  It was lent to me by a friend who knows my weakness for Period Drama just before Christmas, so I obviously hadn't had time to watch it yet.  When I started feeling better, I popped the first episode in the DVD player and was quickly hooked. My friend said she had bought the first season because she and her teenage daughters had enjoyed it so much.  Apparently, the fourth and final season has just recently wound up on TV.

Henry ripping the bodice off yet another Lady in Waiting!

I have to state at the outset here that the DVD version is UNCUT!  Yes, lots of breasts and naked butts in this one, so if that is not to your taste, beware.  But, this is the Tudor period we are talking about, and it all seems to come down to political intrigue and sexual politics as well as a fair number of beheadings.  Whether you read about the period, or watch any of the various films about Henry VIII or his daughter Elizabeth I, there is always a lot of violence, and a fair bit of sex and political maneuvering.  Now, the nice thing about this series is that there is very little violence in it, considering the time period in which it is set (you know, beheadings and burning at the stake and all).  I am a person who doesn't mind the sex and nudity much but I do object to too much violence.  So this production suited me just fine.  And this is a very beautiful production.  Almost too beautiful, as I am often pondering the unlikelihood of the perfect teeth and hair on the actors.  Not much orthodonture in the 16th century!  Nor blow driers for that matter.  Alas, modern audiences expect beauty, so there you go.

I mean seriously, did their Ladies maids have blow driers?
And of course, it wouldn't be a Tudor/Elizabethan historical drama without messing with the facts and rearranging history a little.  So far, I have seen Henry's sister Mary, who in real life married the King of France who died a few months after marrying her, get switched to being Henry's sister Margaret (OK there are really too many Marys...) who in this series marries the King of Portugal and then smothers him with a pillow within days of the wedding, as he was too old and ugly for her taste (oops...should have given a spoiler alert).  He truly was disgusting, so I don't really blame her.  Especially when you see who she ends up with instead, and I won't spoil this one, but he is very yummy looking.

I actually learned a bit of correct history as well, in that along with all of the plagues and illnesses we are used to hearing about, they had another one in the 15th and 16th century called sweating sickness.  I looked this up on Wikipedia, where we all seem to end up while googling things these days, and apparently this was a true illness (and a frightening one at that as you could be dead within hours of contracting it) and which disappeared after the year 1551.  They don't know what the cause of the illness was, but they suspect a variation of hantavirus.  So you get the real history mixed in with the rewritten stuff.

In any case, the reason to watch this one is for a rollicking good story, gorgeous locations and costumes (as well as impossibly gorgeous actors) not for historical accuracy.  Although, my 16 year old son ended up learning a fair bit about the English Reformation by sitting down beside me every time he walked by and there were nipples visible on the screen, which happened regularly to his delight!  I managed to slip in an English history lesson here and there between the bodice ripping, without him really even noticing....

Overall, two thumbs up, even though the more genteel 19th century is more to my taste.  My sister used to devour books on this era (as well as on the Medieval times a la Mary Stewart) so she will love this one, as will her 13 year old son I suspect!

N.B.  I just finished the whole first season.  Really wonderful!  Who cares if the history is a bit dodgy?  Now I have to get Season 2, 3 and 4. or buy?  Or perhaps it would be worth getting Netflicks for?  I'll post later when I have worked my way through season 2.  Can't wait to see how they portray the Reformation and how Henry gets rid of all of those wives!  I think I may have to buy the entire boxed set with all 4 seasons...


  1. I have recently started watching the Tudors on netflix. I'm in the middle of season two. I'm glad you are enjoying it, Jenny. I too, check up on things I see in the series just to find out if they are real history or not. I'm not a fan of the beheadings and other deaths though, they leave me feeling a little depressed or grossed out! I love the actors in it, especially the men! Jeremy Northam? *swoon*

  2. Ooooo, yes, Meredith, Jeremy Northam is still very cute even as the virtuous Sir Thomas More. Loooooove him in Emma as Mr. Knightley and he was adorable in Gosford Park too.

    I heard that they are doing a fourth season of The Tudors and that will be the end, as he will run out of wives at that point! I'm glad you look things up too to see if the history has been tampered with. I learn more from the post Tudor google than I do from the show, although that sweating sickness is fascinating and horrifying!

  3. OMG the best series ever!!!!!!!!!!
    Henry Cavill is so hot , but Jonathan Rhys Meyers is hot too.
    I love these actors, the location, the castles and the gardens, the clothes... Everything!!!!!!!!!!
    Amazing series...!!!!!!!




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