Tudors on TV

Posted Mon, 11/14/11

Yesterday, I watched several episodes of The Tudors as it was broadcast on BBC America. I've never seen the series before because it originated on Showtime, but now that it's running on BBC I'm able to get into it.

My interest in Tudor history started when I was around nine years old. As unbelievable as that sounds, it's true. My first peek came with the original series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970). I was hooked from the get-go, which resulted in my lifelong fascination with the Tudor dynasty and it's various tendrils (re: Henry VIII's great-niece Mary, Queen of Scots). More than forty years on, my collection of books on the subject has surpassed two hundred volumes written by an assortment of authors. To this day, I keep my eyes peeled for new releases.

Therefore, I was anxious to see The Tudors on BBC. The series does not disappoint, thankfully. I was enthralled by the dialogue, locale backdrops and the familiar historical references. So far, my only discord is with hints that Cardinal Wolsey committed suicide and the unconvincing persona of the actor who portrayed Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).

It is fact that Henry VIII was a large man. In his youth, he was strapping and healthy. It wasn't until his later years that he suffered ill health and grew obese. According to author Alison Weir, his skeleton measured six-foot-three. To his contemporaries, Henry VIII was the reincarnation of his magnificent grandfather, Edward IV. He was a man of great physical beauty, above the usual height, being around 6' 3"...

While Jonathan Rhys Meyers gives a very moving performance of dialogue in the series, his physical presence belies the real image of Henry VIII. In my opinion, he was not credible because of his slight build and less-than-booming voice. It's similar to seeing Don Knotts portray Michael Myers. It just doesn't work.

However, I'm otherwise enjoying the series. BBC America is apparently planning to broadcast all four seasons with thirty-eight episodes, so my Tudor "fix" is in overdrive.

"The Tudors" hidden object game from Big Fish

*POSTSCRIPT 11/17/11: Big Fish offers a hidden object game based on "The Tudors" (pictured above). And yes, I'm giving it whirl...