Some of my favorite type of television shows are those that provide historical information through a fictional drama. Many of them are available from streaming subscriptions and for purchase on DVD too. We all know how Downtown Abbey has become a hit show and although it is the sensational drama that brings many of us to the screen, underlying it all is the history. I am going to attempt to highlight one of these programs each Saturday in place of my “What Happened on” post (Sometimes in addition).
Do you have any favorite programs that fit this category? I’d love to hear your ideas and I would be glad to include the program in an up coming post. I also would welcome a guest blogger.
If your looking for a show that includes numerous affairs, a handful of wives, a few beheadings, and England’s ever changing religious landscape, then the Tudors is for you. Four seasons of costume drama featuring the era of England’s King Henry VIII. Desperate for an heir and growing distant from his first wife, the series moves quickly to the period when Anne Boleyn became his obsession. During this time Cardinal Wolsey rose to become the power behind his throne, ruling ruthlessly and nearly absolutely while Henry (played by Johnathon Rhys Meyers) for the most part followed the Cardinal’s advice, maneuvering through a series of betrayals and plots against him.
When Anne Boleyn plays much harder to get than any woman ever has, Henry begins to search for a way out of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, so that he can make Anne his wife. Needing a divorce, Henry turns to Wolsey, who promises to help him create waves of backlash from the church, as well as the Spanish Habsburg dynasty and its overseas empire. Against this background gyrate the private lives and political intrigues of several members of the royal court and chancery.
As the seasons unfold, we witness Henry’s revolving door of wives after Anne: Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. We also suffer the power and later downfall of Thomas Cromwell. Underlying the personal dramas of these people is the growing unrest between the reformation and Catholicism.
Please note that this program is not for children.