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BBC Two: The Last Days of Anne Boleyn
May 15, 2013
9:56 pm
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Jane1701
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Has everyone seen the trailers for this show coming up on 23rd May? It’s part of the BBC ‘Life and Death in the Tudor Court’ season. I’m excited about seeing more about Anne on tv – I just hope they get it right! They’ve got some good talking heads – David Starkey and Hilary Mantel are in the trailer. Fingers crossed that they judge the best!

May 15, 2013
10:20 pm
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Bill1978
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I think only historians should be allowed to waffle on these kinds of shows. And if an author is being interviewed, they should only talk about the facts they researched not the inferences they made in their books based on their research.

May 15, 2013
10:26 pm
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Jane1701
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I didn’t like Mantel’s Anne much, that’s true. I did enjoy her books though, she writes so well. Maybe she’ll just talk about Cromwell!

May 16, 2013
12:43 am
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Anyanka
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I’m hoping it’s going to be on in Canada though I may see if it’s availble for download after it’s been transmitted.

It's always bunnies.

May 16, 2013
7:11 am
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princesssmaz
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I’m a bit worried about Phillipa Gregory’s contribution, I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen the programme but I think it would have been better to have historians rather than authors or at least more historians than authors taking part. I just hope tat yet give more weight to Starky than the others.

May 16, 2013
9:28 am
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Louise
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This programme is purportedly factual, but Gregory and Mantel have been invited to comment as supposed ‘authorities’. They write fiction, and however much they like to pretend that their books are historically accurate, they are not. By allowing these woman to apppear in this programme completely undermines the credibility of it. It would be like inviting P D James and Ruth Rendall to to give expert analysis of crime provention merely because they write detective stories.
It sends out entirely the wrong message. Fiction is exactly that. But if these women are being held out as experts then many people will assume they are in fact authorities and their books are historically accurate. I think the programme makers have made a huge error in judgment.

May 23, 2013
9:20 pm
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Jane1701
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Watching this, it seems pretty clear that Mantel’s research was more thorough than Gregory’s. I’m amused by the way they showed a clip of Gregory emphasising how Anne’s miscarried boy was probably malformed and the cause of her downfall, and then immediately a clip of Mantel, basically saying ‘there’s no evidence that happened’. Can I applaud now?

I am glad they are giving more time to Alison Weir and David Starkey, I really enjoy their books.

May 24, 2013
6:43 am
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Bella44
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I just watched this (its now on Youtube) and I thought it interesting that they brought in novelists as well as historians – if they were trying to say something about Annes hold on the imagination and impact on popular culture. Unfortunately I don’t think they were. So that aspect didn’t quite work. What was better is how it demonstrated that Anne still has the power to cause divisions, even amongst the experts.

I agree with you Jane; that part with Philippa Gregory saying it was fact that Annes baby was deformed and then Hilary Mantel saying that had no basis in fact was hilarious!

May 24, 2013
10:56 am
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Steve Callaghan
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I quite enjoyed the show (though it seems to me that the casting people involved in these programmes never quite get the look & spirit of Anne quite right…but I guess that’s just a matter of opinion). Far be it from me to dispute with experts like Bernard but I feel it’s a real stretch to conclude that Anne was somehow guilty of genuine treason (not what passed for treason during Cromwell’s period of power), with such flimsy & secondhand ‘evidence’ to deduce from; controversy and a ‘new angle’ for their own sake, perhaps?

May 24, 2013
11:32 am
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Anne fan
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I thought Weir made an interesting point (I think it was Weir, there were a lot of people making interesting points!) that the conversation with Norris where Anne told him he looked for dead men’s shoes was perilously close to treason. It’s also interesting that Anne swore on the damnation of her soul that she had never sinned against the king with her BODY. It does make you wonder if, during one (or more) of their rows, she hadn’t wished he would drop dead.

I think last night’s programme hardened my view that it was the row with Norris that was the catalyst. Obviously Cromwell couldn’t call Norris in for questioning, he was too powerful, so he calls Smeaton in to try and get evidence against Norris and poor, terrified Smeaton, who has been making an exhibition of himself, misunderstands what is required and confesses to his fantasy.

May 24, 2013
12:36 pm
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Steve Callaghan
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It just seems so obvious (to me at least) that Anne’s ill-advised remarks to Smeaton & particularly Norris were meant to ‘put them in their place’, so to speak. Unfortunately for her and others, her adversaries were inclined to wilfully misinterpret those comments regardless of their intended meaning.

May 24, 2013
7:10 pm
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Sharon
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I just watched this on youtube. Some comments threw me off. I don’t recall Anne ever saying that she would only settle to be Henry’s queen? That is what the narrator said. She did not tell Henry he would have to make her his Queen. That was all Henry’s bright idea.
I always thought that what Anne said to Smeaton and Norris was meant to put them in their place too, SteveJ.
I loved it when Starkey said, Oh dear, people don’t understand Henry do they? Made me laugh out loud. He went on to say the best liars believe their own lies. Henry believed in Anne’s guilt because it was convenient and then he goes on to persuade others.
There were more head/desk moments, but those seem to stand out for me. Oh, wait…PG must stop calling the queens of England she-wolves! And she must stop saying the miscarriage Anne had in January 36 was that of a malformed child and that dear Henry would take it to mean Anne was a witch and his marriage was not condoned by God. Geesh! At least Hilary Mantel said there was no such evidence. Made me chuckle.
I did enjoy this. It was fun to watch the historians and the novelists give their varying opinions. If they can’t come to the same conclusion how are we ever going to. That’s what makes it so much fun.

May 25, 2013
4:40 pm
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Anne fan
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And as you were chuckling Sharon, I was yelling ‘Go Hilary!’ at the TV!

I agree that Anne meant to put Smeaton in his place. With Norris there seems to have been something else going on – worry that the reason he hadn’t married Madge Shelton was because he didn’t want a Boleyn connection? Anne was too intelligent not to know that her January miscarriage had made her vulnerable to her enemies.

May 31, 2013
4:47 pm
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Louise
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I didn’t actually get to see this because I was on holiday and only got back today. I also forgot to set the video. I can’t decide whether that was a blessing in disguise.Confused

June 1, 2013
5:31 am
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Anyanka
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It’s probably on youtube by now Louise..

It's always bunnies.

June 1, 2013
8:31 am
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Boleyn
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It is Anyanka I’ve just downloaded it, I haven’t watched it yet, however. Trying to find some time without having to do other things so I can give it full attention.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

June 3, 2013
2:46 am
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Olga
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Louise said

I didn’t actually get to see this because I was on holiday and only got back today. I also forgot to set the video. I can’t decide whether that was a blessing in disguise.Confused

It depends on whether you want to give yourself a heart attack or not Louise. Between the program featuring Mantel’s overly-dramatic intoning every 12 seconds for the first 30 minutes, Philippa Gregory making an arse of herself, the narrator making a bunch of completely inaccurate statements and Mantel claiming that Anne wasn’t a victim because she “chose to step into a tough political game” thus spewing her usual sexist garbage my head very nearly exploded. Because women murdered by their husbands aren’t victims. Yell

June 17, 2013
10:10 pm
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Claire-Louise
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Olga said

Louise said

I didn’t actually get to see this because I was on holiday and only got back today. I also forgot to set the video. I can’t decide whether that was a blessing in disguise.Confused

It depends on whether you want to give yourself a heart attack or not Louise. Between the program featuring Mantel’s overly-dramatic intoning every 12 seconds for the first 30 minutes, Philippa Gregory making an arse of herself, the narrator making a bunch of completely inaccurate statements and Mantel claiming that Anne wasn’t a victim because she “chose to step into a tough political game” thus spewing her usual sexist garbage my head very nearly exploded. Because women murdered by their husbands aren’t victims. Yell

I was shouting at the TV at the end….’she was not a victim..she played a winning hand..ultimately lost’ (Mantel) I was like ummm yeah because she knew that she was bargaining her head in this game.

My mum had a good laugh and said no one can accuse me of not being passionate

June 17, 2013
10:54 pm
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Steve Callaghan
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Though I admire Mantel’s writing, the truth is that the execution of a queen was virtually unheard of…so Mantel’s ‘game’ theory is only valid up until the endgame; right to the very last moment, it appears that Anne waited for a reprieve (and understandably so).

June 17, 2013
11:25 pm
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Boleyn
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Steve J. Anne was offered a kind of reprieve by Henry, basically it was this..
Anne was to give up hers and Elizabeth’s rights to the throne, and go abroad, probably to somewhere in France. Anne told Henry to go spin.

My opinion to this was because she was astute enough to realise that if she did that she and Elizabeth wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy their freedom. After all Anne’s blood would forever stain Henry’s hands and he would know that so by offering her this get out of jail free card he hoped that she would take it, and then it was just a case of giving it a few months and send someone out to France to kill them, and then put it about that Anne and Elizabeth had died as the result of some tersian fever, no one would question it after all and with no witnesses to prove murder that is where the story would end. Henry’s hands would be blood free and he would be seen as pure as the driven snow. Henry was a bloody hypocrite I tell you I would love to give him serious problems it’s called a steel toecapped boot/teeth problem

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

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