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Henry VIII
updated 5.11.2006

Warning! Plot points may be revealed below!

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I love Henry VIII. I don't care what other people say about the nude scenes; it's just a part of what Henry did all his life in search of a son. So, for everyone that is out there that hasn't seen the show yet, you're in for a treat!

Karnecia Johnson
Greenville, SC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Henry VIII should be re-aired! I am only 14, but I think young people should see this production. I am so interested in the story about King Henry VIII, I am reading all the books I can about him.

J'Lynn Jones
Lubbock, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am disappointed in your unabashedly inaccurate depiction of Henry VIII. I cannot believe the complete absurdity and lies portrayed, especially in regards to St. Thomas More. The truth is Thomas More, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, was opposed to the king's plans to divorce Catherine of Aragon and resigned from office. When he refused to accept Henry as head of the church he was convicted of high treason and executed at the Tower of London.

Your production is nothing but lies and disgusting scenes, especially the rape scene with Anne Boleyn: very disturbing. Why could you not depict the truth, especially if you are producing a story about actual history?

Jennifer Jones
San Jose, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Henry VIII is an absolutely fantastic production! The Tudor Court really comes alive especially with Henry VIII as the centerpiece. I really enjoyed watching the show and seeing how Henry related to his wives. I wish there had been a little more about his children, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. My only complaint is about the few incorrect details: the funeral scene, for example, that the children and Catherine Parr couldn't attend by royal protocol. It does seem odd that Anne of Cleves was present. Overall it is a magnificent production and I look forward to the rest of the season!

Elisa Babel
Frederick, MD

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
In this otherwise excellent presentation, there is no mention of Lady Jane Grey succeeding Edward. The Seymours may have acted as Regent, but the throne, for 9 days anyway, belonged to Jane who was executed by Mary when Mary took the crown.

Andy Demaio
Easton, PA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Henry VIII is an overblown disaster of an historical drama. Its focus on Henry's sexual deviance and his "psychology" are dissonant and banal treatments of the character and the story. Sir Thomas More was not so much as mentioned in the course of the narrative. It recoils from the subject of catholic/protestant strife and the relation of men of conscience to men of power.

Paul McMillen
Lexington, KY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am unfamiliar with the history of Henry VIII but I think your show is excellent, if not accurate, to highlight the status of women and the oppression from which they must recover. During the power politics of the 1530s when the Catholic Church lost its supremacy relative to the Crown and the King granted his own divorce (subsequently, "extending the envelope" by serial marriages in quest of a son), the disposition of former Queens shows how popular the practice became during the 1600-1700s. (I have studied American genealogy and the numerous deaths of 20-40 year old women.) It may also be compared to the innovation of Joseph Smith; the creation of Mormonism allowed women to live rather than die, despite male indulgences. Someone should do a program contrasting the practices Henry VIII initiated that came to fruition during the lives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and from which we have yet to recover given the numerous serial marriages still being pursued in the pursuit of happiness and pleasure. Just when is it the turn of women?

Pat Ross
Boston, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! 'A1!' The actors and actresses were excellent; this is a classic! I can't wait for Part II. Ray Winstone has a new fan; in my opinion, he should win an Oscar.

Michelle French
Whitney Point, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have just finished watching the first part of Masterpiece Theatre's production of Henry VIII, complete with his marriages and the upheaval in England caused by Henry's quest for a male heir. I have always found this period of history fascinating and am very familiar with the broader details.

I expect much in quality from Masterpiece Theatre and, in terms of production and acting, you have not disappointed. However, in faithful historical details it is a washout. How is it possible to tell the story of Henry declaring himself head of a new church without even a mention of St. Thomas More? I simply can't believe it! It's such an unfaithful telling of the story that I'm not motivated to watch the second part, nor am I very open to Masterpiece Theatre's other productions. If the most important person in the story (after the King himself) is not even mentioned, then I have to wonder why or why not. Are all PBS Masterpiece productions blatantly "retold" with such major errors? I truly hope not.

Kate Taschereau
Cloverdale, BC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
You've got to be kidding! I stopped watching Henry VIII when Henry marries Anne Boleyn. I realized that Thomas More had not even been mentioned. The interplay between Henry and Thomas is crucial to the development of the plot. Cardinal Wolsey was a rubber stamp, the epitome of a "yes" man and not the principled person depicted in your drama. Doesn't anyone check the facts? Or, was it too difficult to cast another strong character like Thomas More who was not only the second man in the realm (as Chancellor) but also Henry's best friend?

James Griffin
Madison, CT

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