Article on the upcoming second season of “The Tudors”

There have been lots of articles, but I thought this one was interesting because the writer addresses some issues that we discussed about the first season. I’ll pull a few quotes below:

The king’s physical appearance may be a minor point, really, when you consider the historical facts that “The Tudors” have played fast and loose with. And Michael Hirst, the show’s creator and writer, will defend every single decision.

“Showtime commissioned me to write an entertainment, a soap opera, and not history,” said Hirst, taking a break in an office at Ardmore Studios, near Dublin. “And we wanted people to watch it.”

It seems there have been practical moviemaking reasons for the misrepresentations. Take Henry’s sisters. In Season 1, Gabrielle Anwar played one, Princess Margaret, who marries an older man, the king of Spain, against her will. As any number of Internet history buffs will tell you, it was Henry’s other sister, Mary, who did that, and the older man was the king of France. So didn’t the writer do his research?

As it turns out, Hirst was well aware of both facts. But the list of characters already included a Princess Mary, Catherine of Aragon’s little daughter. “I didn’t want two Princess Marys on the call sheet,” he said, because it might have confused the crew. ” `Which one do you mean, Michael? Who do we dress?’ ”

As for Margaret/Mary’s husband, “The Tudors” had shown a French king in a different context in Season 1. Hirst feared that viewers might be confused, so he just chose another European country.

Full article


  1. How refreshing that a writer of a series admits up front that a lot of what he wrote was for entertainment value…and not for a history lesson!

    Although those of us who know the story of the Tudors inside and out find the ‘real’ story doesn’t need any doctoring, a series like this does have to keep it easy and simple for the general population.

    I am constantly reminded of the director of “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett. That person admitted out loud that he hadn’t a clue about his subject matter! At least the writers of The Tudors know that they’re taking liberties with what actually happened.

    If any of this gets other people interested in learning the ‘truth’, then more power to the people who put the words on paper.

  2. It is nice to see writers being up front about that their right to poetic lisence. However, I wouldnt so much mind the writing for entertainment….if it were good writing. But really, the Henry VIII I saw (admittedly only a few episodes) was annoyingly one-dimensional and overdramatically petulant. For all his reputation later as a moody tyrant, he comes across in his and other writings as a complex person, sometimes petty, sometimes childish, but also quite refined and intelligent. This Henry VIII arm-wrestles with Charles Brandon in order to…settle accounts…prove his superiority…show off Rhy-Meyers’ biceps?? H8’s actual response to Brandon and Mary’s marriage was a much more pointed political and economical (and suspenseful for the couple) set of actions. If you’re going to change history, at least make it as interesting if not more so than your source material.

    That said, I adore the Kapur’s direction…. the first Elizabeth was very innovative and memorable in a cinematographic sense. But I also found the film to be disturbingly misogynistic. Comments, anyone? Its two weeks to go until my defense and I rely on this site for daily relief….kate

  3. Totally off the subject… good luck with that defense Kate!!!

  4. Thanks! Ive got a tough committee, so I may need all the luck I can get! –kate

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