What a relief that, following the discovery of Richard III's remains, filmmakers and television companies appear to be turning their attention to other subjects besides the 16th-century English court.
For years it was the Tudors this and the Tudors that, starting with the films Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth in 1998, Alison Weir books on Elizabeth, Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots (not a Tudor but an important supporting actress in the overall tableau), then a bad case of Tudoritis from the author Philippa Gregory, who produced her six-book Tudor series, including The Other Boleyn Girl, between 2001 and 2008. Elizabeth: The Golden Age hit cinemas in 2007, at the very moment epic serial The Tudors started purveying its soapy version of Henry VIII's life, while David Starkey produced not one but two television documentaries on Henry, as well as further serials on Elizabeth, Henry's six wives, Edward VI and Mary I. Overkill doesn't quite cover it.
It would be wonderful if the next big historical feeding frenzy did not focus on the English monarchy – the Jameses (I to V) of Scotland were steeped in so much murder, war and treachery, you wouldn't need to sex up a thing to make a primetime series – but inevitably, the next big thing will be the Wars of the Roses.
I'm OK with that because it's not the Tudors and has been unfairly overshadowed by the Tudors. The Wars of the Roses were every bit as fascinating, not just Edward's seizure of power, his brother George's betrayal and Richard's deeds in the Tower, but Henry VI's mysterious illness and his French queen's fraught attempts to maintain power. Next year, the BBC is due to screen The White Queen (about Edward IV's wife, Elizabeth Woodville) and there is supposed to be a film about Richard III. Anything but the Tudors.
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