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Henry VIII
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Production Notes [imagemap with 5 links]
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Frivolous Bits

> Across two episodes, Henry VIII includes four weddings, three births, six executions, five natural deaths and one funeral.

> The jousting scene saw the use of over 5,000 gallons of fake rain and four balsa jousting sticks worth £5,000 each being broken by stuntmen.

> Actress Marsha Fitzalan -- who plays the Duchess of Norfolk -- is actually the real-life daughter of the late 17th Duke of Norfolk.

> Lady Jane Grey, uncrowned Queen of England for nine days following Henry VIII's death, was executed at the same scaffold as Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard at the Tower of London.

> In 1986, a film of Lady Jane Grey's life was made starring Helena Bonham Carter as the tragic title character. Lady Jane also starred Cary Elwes and Patrick Stewart.

> To create a more realistic 'limp' for Henry after his riding accident, a button was placed inside Ray Winstone's shoe to make the limp natural.

> Henry VIII's, Katherine of Aragon's and Anne Boleyn's outfits were all made from scratch. The rest were bought or rented, and then adapted for the production.

> The total number of costumes exceeded 2,500. The principal court, including Henry, the six Queens and the principal players (eg. Wolsey, Norfolk, Cranmer, Cromwell, etc.), required over 400 costumes. In addition to these were the ladies in waiting (30), male and female courtiers (180), nuns and monks (40), four different armies: Aske's, Henry's two and Buckingham's (over 100) and the crowds of poor (over 400).

> In preparation for a love scene between Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter, Ray's undergarments were soaked in teabags and hot water to give them an aged look.

> 'Hair shirts' were worn throughout the 16th century to reflect someone's personal torment, the rough material being a source of constant punishment. Assumpta Serna/Katherine of Aragon's 'hair shirt' was made from a rough modern canvas attached with leather lacing, and covered in Vaseline and brown powder.

> Costumes which required an aged look for the poorer classes were smeared in Vaseline and make-up powder was added to make them look soiled. A cheese grater was used to add wear and tear to the fabrics.

> Four principle make-up artists and eight crowd make-up artists worked on the production.

> To create the heads for the execution scenes, the actors underwent full head moulding using alginate, from which a silicon head was cast. The silicon head was then painted with dead skin tones. Eyes and teeth were inserted and hair, eyebrows and lashes were individually 'punched' into the silicon. The whole process took three weeks for each head.

> Over 10 gallons of fake blood was used in total on the production.

> Ray Winstone's transformation from young, athletic Henry to old, obese Henry took two hours, with the two ages often filmed on the same day. 'Face plumpers' were inserted into his mouth to fatten his cheeks and his hairline was pulled back to give the impression of a larger face.

> Helena Bonham Carter (Anne Boleyn) wore a full wig -- no part of her own hair was used in filming. Emily Blunt (Katherine Howard) also had long blonde extensions which took 10 hours to attach.

> Ray Winstone's hair and beard were dyed ginger every 2 weeks.

> The Great Hall, Queen's bedchambers and castle corridors were all filmed at M Stage in Pinewood Studios, the same stage where sets for the award-winning The Hours had been dismantled just months before. The team behind the sets -- 25 painters, plasterers, riggers and carpenters -- were also responsible for those on The Hours, Bridget Jones's Diary, Dirty Pretty Things and productions of Goodbye, Mr Chips and Gormenghast.

> Although the castle rooms look as though they are made of damp, ancient stone, the stone is actually plasterboard. The heavy doors are decorated in metal colored polystyrene and the huge columns that appear to hold up the ceiling of the Great Hall are actually light-weight hollow pillars on wheels to accommodate different angles. Mist was pumped in for every take to give the castle a damp atmosphere.

> Visitors to the L & M Block of Pinewood Studios during the duration of Henry VIII's filming could see the likes of Lady Penelope and Lara Croft sharing a toilet with Anne Boleyn! Thunderbirds with Ben Kingsley, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life with Angelina Jolie and the television drama series MI-5 were all filming in the same block.

> In the back lot of Pinewood studios, a Chinese street was 'shot to pieces' by Lara Croft and remade into the execution site for Anne Boleyn's beheading only weeks later.

Production Notes:
An Interview with Pete Morgan, screenwriter | The Cast Comments
Frivolous Bits

Production Notes | Who's Who | Story Synopses
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