Henry VIII TV 14, S, V
Airing Sundays, January 8 + 15, 2006 on PBS
(Check local listings; dates and times may vary)
Aired previously November 2004
Henry VIII's 38-year reign as monarch of England saw that country transformed from a sleepy backwater of jousting tournaments and Catholic piety to a nation torn by religious and political strife -- all because of the king's desperation for a male heir.
From the moment Henry Tudor casts aside his faithful wife Katherine of Aragon for the bewitching and determined Anne Boleyn, he sets himself on a course of disastrous marriages. The pious yet tragic Jane Seymour, bitter outcast Anne of Cleves, the adulterous child bride Katherine Howard and the devoted Katherine Parr all followed. The lucky ones were ruthlessly cast aside. The not-so-lucky ones were sent to their deaths.
Ray Winstone (Cold Mountain, King Arthur) stars as the cruel and colorful monarch who married six times, founded a new church and presided over a bloodbath. Helena Bonham Carter stars as the seductress Anne Boleyn; the stellar cast also includes David Suchet as Cardinal Wolsey, Emilia Fox as Jane Seymour, Sean Bean as revolutionary Robert Aske, Charles Dance as the Duke of Buckingham, Mark Strong as the Duke of Norfolk and Michael Maloney as Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.
"Henry was a very troubled man," observes Winstone, who in the course of the film ages from the young athletic king to the burly icon familiar from Hans Holbein paintings. "This is a man who allowed two of his wives -- women he loved passionately -- to be murdered. At the same time, he wrote beautiful love letters, understood science and, to a certain extent, was a great ambassador. He was an intelligent, gentle, romantic man who lost his way when it came to love."
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An Interview with Pete Morgan, screenwriter
The Cast Comments
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