“The Tudors” – Is it Really So Bad?

Aug27,2009 #The Tudors

The TudorsIt’s interesting the reaction you get from people when you mention the hit TV series “The Tudors”. In fact, in my experience there are three main reactions:-

  1. A lighting up of the eyes and excitement – These are the people who rave about how wonderful Jonathan Rhys Meyers is, what a great Anne Boleyn Natalie Dormer was, how sexy Henry Cavill is… etc. etc. and how wonderful the program is at portraying the Tudor period warts and all.
  2. Shock and horror – People who believe that “The Tudors” is pretty much a swear word – David Starkey publicly lambasted the series for its “ignorance of facts” and said: “I’ve got no problem with getting history wrong for a purpose – Shakespeare often got things wrong for a reason. But it’s the randomised, arrogance of ignorance of The Tudors. Shame on the BBC for producing it.”
    He’s not the only one who feels this way. In many circles, if you mention that you watch “The Tudors” then that’s pretty much saying that you are not serious about history and you may even get thrown off forums and discussion boards – a bit like mentioning “Philippa Gregory” – oops, I mentioned her!!
  3. A balanced  appreciation – There are those (like me!) who love “The Tudors” for what it is – entertainment! I love its richness and vibrancy, the way it brings the characters to life, the way it portrays life at the Tudor Court and the way it makes it so real. Yes, it is littered with inaccuracies, but as Anne Boleyn Files visitor Gemma pointed out, it also has many accuracies. Gemma pointed out about the episode where Henry falls in the river and gets his head stuck in the mud – an event that really happened but that not many people knew about previously.

The reason I’m blogging about “The Tudors” today is partly because many people commented on how I mentioned it in yesterday’s post, but also because Tudor historian Dr Tracy Borman has written an article for “The Radio Times” (copied in the BBC History Magazine) defending the series. Wow, an historian saying she likes it!!

In her article, “The Truth Behind “The Tudors””, Borman writes:

“Having been determined to loathe the hugely popular BBC series, with its unfeasibly beautiful actors, dodgy costumes and improbable storylines, I found myself becoming strangely addicted…I grew to appreciate The Tudors for its merits as an historical drama. Yes, the scriptwriters may have taken liberties with the facts, but they have also succeeded in recreating the drama and atmosphere of Henry VIII’s court, with its intrigues, scandals and betrayals. And if Jonathan Rhys-Meyers bears little resemblance to the red-headed, bloated image of Henry that we know so well from contemporary portraits, then he does at least evoke the dangerously seductive charisma and magisterial arrogance that kept a court in thrall for almost forty years.”

Borman also makes the point that I have often made about how the series has had a positive effect in that it is stimulating people’s interest in the Tudor period. She writes of how Hampton Court Palace has seen a surge in visitor numbers and how the show even has its own wiki site. People are crying out for information on the era and the characters and, as owner of a Tudor history website, I can testify to this! I even have a friend who rings me after she’s watched “The Tudors” (she calls me her Historical Oracle!) to ask if events really did happen.

Borman goes on to say:

“In my view, this is all to the good. Television dramas, films and novels offer a way in to history and can inspire an abiding passion for the subject. Provided that they encourage people to find out what ‘really’ happened, rather than being treated as reliable historical sources in their own right, then they can and should be respected as a force to be reckoned with in the world of history.”

I wholeheartedly agree with her. I’m sure that if we looked at the sales figures for Tudor history books and the number of Google searches done on “Tudor”, “Henry VIII” etc., we would see a significant rise as people want to know what really happened. Also, is it any coincidence that so many Tudor history books are being published at the moment?

Another criticism of “The Tudors” is that it’s a bit like a soap opera, but then what else would you call Henry VIII’s life? I’m showing my age now but Henry is a lot more interesting than JR Ewing!

So, is “The Tudors really so bad?

I can’t criticise “The Tudors”, I think I would be two-faced if I did, because there are some of you out there who have set out on your mission to find out about Anne Boleyn because “The Tudors” piqued your interest and you found this site! If “The Tudors” helps to get people interested in Anne, if it helps me to spread the message about her and share the truth then long live “The Tudors”!

You can read Dr Tracy Borman’s article and her examination of Season 3 Episode 1, and the historical facts behind it, on the BBC History Magazine website. Her new book “Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen” is due to be published on the 24th September.

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112 thoughts on ““The Tudors” – Is it Really So Bad?”
  1. I’m in camp number 3. I watch The Tudors for sheer escapism and it’s stunning presentatiion. I’ve studied Tudor History in depth since I was a teenager (a long time ago now) so I consider myself very knowledgable but, unlike david Starkey, I’m not precious about it.

    Starkeys series and books are wonderful and I appreciate, from an academic standpoint, how much time, research and care he has taken to produce them.

    However,The Tudors series should be taken for what it is, a sumptuous production set in the Tudor era that captures the intrigue and politics of the time. I agree that it takes liberties with the facts, some very blatant, however it’s primary purpose is to entertain. For myself, it certainly hits the spot in that department.

  2. I simply love ‘The Tudors’ and can’t wait for the next (and last) season. Trust me, when I want the historical fact behind something I’ve seen on TV or read, I research it, not assuming the show or a novel got it right. If anything these ‘fictions’ can give us another viewpoint or make us think about other motives. You are completely right that if it generates a true interest in history, how is that a bad thing?

    At any rate, I don’t watch ‘The Tudors’ to get a history lesson. It’s set at a time that I know a lot about and love learning more about, and that sets the backdrop for a really good ride. It’s a GUILTY PLEASURE! It’s racy and smart — and seriously, If Jonathan Rhys-Meyers looked like Henry Tudor…seriously, would we want to watch those love scenes? That’s the whole point of the show. It’s English history meets ‘Dynasty’. It shouldn’t apologize for what it is and I don’t apologize for watching it. All the naysayers need do is change the channel.

    Thanks for your post! 🙂

  3. Thanks, Kate and Laura! Yes, when I want to research Henry VIII’s reign and Anne Boleyn I do not sit down and watch The Tudors, I use text books and biographies. If I want to research Elizabeth I, I don’t watch the Cate Blanchett film, I read books by prominent expert historians. I really don’t understand why people get such a “bee in their bonnet” about The Tudors, as you say, it’s escapism and entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. Nobody is forcing anybody to watch it.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Simply can’t watch it I’m afraid. The costumes are extremely inaccurate, and seem to be based more upon what one might see at a poor-quality ‘Ren Faire’ rather than well-researched, historically accurate clothing and accessories. With some items, they should try sticking to the correct decade, rather than some amorphous hotch-potch of ‘Tudor-bethan’ costume howlers thus far seen. The BBC can’t use the excuse of limited budget – they don’t have to spend a fortune to get it right, but have been spending too much money on crap as usual.

    More importantly, there seems to be absolutely no empathy or regard for the social mores, manners and attitudes of the time, which are well documented in large numbers of primary sources. Historical fact in the series seems to manage about 30% accuracy, and all in all it comes across as a flashy, trashy soap opera, rather than a well-observed, high quality costume drama.

    As a series, I personally find it a dumbed-down, tabloid-style pastiche of history aimed at the ignorant masses. However, one man’s meat…

  5. “If I want to research Elizabeth I, I don’t watch the Cate Blanchett film, I read books by prominent expert historians.”


    I was so glad to see this post this morning! I feel the same way – I watched The Tudors each week and it is a complete escape!! Just the type of thing some people need after a long work week. Although I do think its a shame that anyone would be kicked off a forum for mentioning the show – and I am sure that has happened!

  6. Comment via email from Julia:-

    “My argument it that it is portrayed wrong, if one is going to play henry the eighth then one is going to play it properly PADDING AND ALL. Henry was not a pop star, and the Tudors should not be treated as a soap opera. Also some of the clothes have been in accurate, the head gear I noticed on Catherine of Aragon, in a trailer, the last time I saw anything like that an elephant was wearing it in a circus. So yes, it is bad, if the bbc want to show a drama based on Henry VIII then they should repete the six wives of Henry VIII with Keith Mitchell, the research was faultless, down to the last detail.”

  7. I,ve enjoyed “The Tudors” . For the most part I could forgive the historical inaccuracies except for the portrayal of Henry himself. My imagination just could not stretch that far. They really cast the wrong guy.

  8. I absolutely love the “The Tudors” It may not be accurate but is the closest thing we have as far as films goes. Its understandable to see the inacurracies the series may have, after all yesterday I wathed King Henry VIII and his six wives from the 1970’s and it was good and boring at the same time so some time you have to add some more things to make it jucier.

  9. I think it’s important to remember that it’s a television show, and if you keep it in that perspective than there’s nothing wrong with it. I adore the show, and I like that they do keep some facts (and in some episodes, exact phrasing and statements) of what went on between Henry and Anne. It’s people who see the show, and think that it’s based exactly on fact that get into trouble. I like that it sparks an interest (perhaps even some of my own) but it has to be followed up by the research.

    I’ve also heard a lot of people complain that JMR is too ‘pretty’ for lack of a better word, that the costumes are wrong, ECT. I think that to appeal to the general masses, it has to be visually appealing– and they have done that in spades. They have to make money, they have to have viewers and if you put it up against history buffs and people who watch it for that visual beauty and soap opera-esque drama– the second is going to win out. It’s sad, but it’s fact.

    It’s one of my guilty pleasures, for sure. 🙂

  10. Ooooh! This is just the kind of thing to get the hackles up! Great stuff, Claire!
    I think this debate is going inevitably to be parcelled up with the ‘Desperate Romantics’ as well – since we are witnessing a huge swing of the pendulum in popular entertainment away from the kind of at-the-time rather risqué documentary of the sixties (Ken Russel’s work, for instance) in which we were urged to exclaim ‘Oh look! Famous and clever people, were really just like us at times!’ to the current state where we are urged to believe that famous and clever people were always EXACTLY like us at all times. They had all our vices of greed, jealous and petty ambition – and occasionally did a bit of art of regal waving in-between all the bonking.

    In fact, I believe it is quite possible that Tudor people were NOT like us. They not only dressed differently and behaved differently, they thought differently, too, They probably even made love differently! They moved in a world which was dominated by religion, prayer, astrology, alchemy and an overriding sense of spiritual purpose. They were immersed in a universe that was populated by angels, saints, martyrs, sprites and the presence of assorted monsters that were as real to them as the ogres of global warming and swine flu are to us today. They were prepared to die for their faith, and accepted that they would be judged according to their actions and their thoughts in an afterlife which could be at any moment just around the corner in an age of terrible diseases, widespread injustices and cruelties.

    So where does all this leave the comfortable, pouting and rather tantrum-prone Tudors or the Desperate Romantics as seen on TV? Not very well placed, I’m afraid to say. The trouble is that once you start criticising this kind of stuff, and begin to bring in terms like ‘salacious tittle-tattle’ or ‘repressed sadomasochism’ you start to sound like some old maid! So I won’t … ooops! (I already have). It’s just that some of us prefer to get our kicks from the real thing, rather than watching TV. Oh dear. So now I sound like a sex-crazed sado-masochist. You can’t win, can you!

    Here’s an idea. Instead of riding on the backs of famous people and their achievements, sorrows and pains, why don’t those clever script writers have a go at coming up with a blockbuster about a collection of rather poor and dull men and women who weren’t famous at all and who did nothing much out of the ordinary a long time ago, and see if it gets a look in. It wouldn’t of course. We only really want to have the dirt dished on the good and the great, whether it is in the past or in the present. Celebrity rules, OK! And if the celebrities can be revealed to have feet of clay, so much the better. That’s what sells. And that, at bottom, is what the entertainment industry knows and understands so cleverly.

  11. I love the show, inaccurate costumes and all–they’re simply gorgeous to look at and who really cares if they’re historically accurate or not? I used to love going to Renn Faires but I loathe running into the SCA police who want to point out every flaw in your garment and lecture endlessly on how this or that is not “period correct”. Excuse me, but you did bathe this morning right dear? Because last I checked, most of the people in that time period didn’t and is that really deodorant I smell? I mean, give me a break. If we really want to be correct shouldn’t the actors be missing a couple of teeth?

    It’s entertainment people. Anyone who watches an entertainment TV show or movie, not a documentary, expecting it to be 100% authentic and historically accurate is missing the point. If it gets people interested in the time period and they start doing more reading and investigating into the subject–good!

    I’m more bothered by the people who walk around acting as though because they watch “The Tudors” and other programs like it, that every word is pure fact. That’s rather like thinking everything you read in the paper or see on the news is unbiased and absolute fact.

    History rarely is written by the losers, so for all we know, the historical “facts” we take as truth are grossly twisted.

  12. I am definitely one of those who subscribe to category number 2.

    I can accept some changes to “history” for artistic licence but not if it messes around substantially with the true story. Really, why tweak that much with the whole story of the real “Tudors”? Its sensational enough without adding downright lies.

    I absolutely loved “Shakespeare in Love”. Its not accurate history. The costumes were a bit of a mish-mash of early Elizabethan and late Elizabethan. Queen Elizabeth I would never have been seen in The Globe Theatre BUT the film didn’t take itself seriously, the storyline was amazing and it really did make me feel that I was in the 16th century. A nouveau riche family living in a gorgeous period house and Queen Elizabeth clearly in a palace and the not-rich people living in normal houses – unlike the “Elizabeth” films which seem to think everyone lived in Cathedrals!

    “Shakespeare in Love” also didn’t try to pretend that the story was TRUTH! It made it VERY clear it was fiction which happened to use real historical people. And it was FUN!

    “The Tudors” and the two “Elizabeth” films, all try to persuade people that their storylines are real and true. And thats what I object to. Like Molly, as a costumer I get very cross when costumiers or producers or whatever pompously say that they don’t think the viewers would be happy if they accurately copied the costumes that people wore because “it would look odd”. Its annoying when they make decisions that are justified by saying they want to show the 16th century person in their equivalent of “jeans and t-shirt”. Eh??? They didn’t HAVE that kind of equivalent. Its an excuse for shoddy research!

    The whole premise is patronising in the extreme – the British loved the 1995 “Pride & Prejudice” series and their costumes! They loved “Shakespeare in Love” – and though there was tweaking, the costumes did read as proper Elizabethan – with ruffs!!! Sadly this attitude is also being used in the whole presentation of the history/story.

    Who doesn’t love “Blackadder”?? What about the costumes in that? Fantastic! As was the history!

    If “The Tudors” made it clear they were playing fast and loose with history then I’d be more accepting of it. They are not – they are pushing it as fact. And sadly, most people who watch it won’t be looking to find the real story. Instead, they will accept it as fact. Very few people, in the grand scheme of things, will actually bother to find websites like this to find the Truth.

    And so the myths will continue and our dear Anne Boleyn will now be know by yet another generation (thanks to this series and also PG’s books) as a woman who wanted power and did whatever she could to get it.

  13. I am a mix. I really enjoy the show, not because of its historical accuracies (or lack there of) but because it is simply fun. I am a huge Tudor history fan and love watching any film or reading any book about it, even if it isn’t 100% accurate. Yes, the costumes are not correct, but they are beautiful! Yes, JRM does not look like Henry VIII, but again he is lovely 😉 and he does a fantastic job of getting Henry’s personality across (at least the mean side!) I adored Natalie Dormer as Anne, no matter how accurate/inaccurate the story line. To me, it is a tv show not a documentary, so I just enjoy its beautiful sets and costumes, interesting story line, and great acting.

  14. Another thing to keep in mind about shows like The Tudors and books like The Other Boleyn Girl is that they can be a gateway to a more serious pursuit of history. I think many people start with these lighter entertainments and become fascinated with the whole subject and then move on to more serious historians like Eric Ives. So I say as wildly inaccurate as they are, they are still fun and useful if they lead people to read more and find out the facts

  15. I think…that if I asked someone who watched The Tudors to explain Henry VIII’s reign to me, they would get quite a bit wrong, and be shocked when I corrected them! (“WHAT?! He was FAT?!”)
    That said, I don’t hate the show. I watch it for enjoyment as I find the actors to be engaging and the scenery/costumes to be reasonably good. In fact the actors are fantastic. You gotta love Henry Cavill. 😉
    I also think that, after watching the show, people who know little about Tudor history may begin to wonder…and do some research on it. After I read The Other Boleyn Girl my obsession with English history was sparked. So I think it can happen again!

  16. Normally, I am such a stickler for anything having to do with historical facts, especially where Henry and his lovely wives are concerned, but I find the Tudors a “guilty pleasure” sort of show. It’s beautifully done and captures the feel of the times… true, it isn’t very historically correct,but,I knew that before watching it. I do think Natalie Dormer is one of the best actresses that I have seen play Anne, she seemes to have captured Anne’s spirit and fire. I hated “The Other Boleyn Girl” with a passion. The casting was really awful in that movie.I have to say though I really did get a little more than annoyed when the Tudors depicted Cardinal Woolsey killing himself as well as “Margaret” killing off her doddering husband King of Portugal. Many things are left out and I never understood why…like Anne and Henry Percy. I think that should have been included as it it much to do with Anne’s attitude toward the King in the beginning.That having been said, it is still one of the best things on tv.

  17. I’ve always been a huge history lover, but when it comes to the Tudor period, I’m guilty of exactly what Laurel says above. The only thing playing at the theater one boring night when the boyfriend was out of town was “The Other Boleyn Girl.” I bought my ticket, sat in the back with a bag of popcorn, and voila! I was hooked. It led to the Tudors, which led to endless hours of web searches, “Six Wives” youtube videos, and innumerable pages of serious history books. It was the inaccuracies that sparked my curious mind as I tried to put the puzzle pieces together. Who was related to whom? Why on earth would he do that? She said what? By the time I got around to actually reading “The Other Boleyn Girl,” I was appalled by the artistic liberties Phillipa Gregory took, but what was more important was that I recognized them. I’m sure everyone has some dirty little secret about what sparked their initial interest in the time period. If a skinny Henry VIII did it for you, who cares?

  18. I watch the Tudors and get a kick out of picking out the inaccuracies. Of course it is starting to get ridiculous that Henry isn’t portrayed as overweight and smelly…lol.

    Of course many of these films are “based on a true story”…keyword: based.

  19. Claire

    Just to add my comments. I love the show – have the first two season dvd’s and really enjoy watching them though I know that the historical content is inaccurate.

    But, for people who actually know the history of the tudors it could be a big disappointment. I take it for what it is – the costumes, the scenery and the actors.
    I view it as more of a fairy tale then what actually took place.

    I’m not crazy about the portrayal of Henry – doesn’t age. I would have liked to see the aging process with Henry. Love Natalie Dormer as Anne. Whenever I need a good cry I go watch Natalie Dormer being executed. Both Natalie Dormer and Genevieve Bujord were excellent in their portrayal of Anne. I personally would like to see Natalie Dormer take on the true role of Anne.

    But all in all its a good series for entertainment and not historical value.

  20. I have seen only one episode of the Tudors (the Season 2 finale; I wanted to see how they handled Anne’s execution), and while I do recognize that they’ve tweaked the history a bit, I was generally impressed with how they portrayed everything. In fact, it only raised my opinion of Anne, and Natalie Dormer was amazing.

    The issue I have with the show – and why I do not regularly watch it – is the nudity. I know that the Tudor court was rather sexualized/sensualized, and I know that I’m a bit of a prude, but I don’t think that there needs to be such gratuitous nudity on television, even if it is on Showtime. With that said, I don’t begrudge people who do want to watch it; it’s just not for me. If there were a censored version, or one slightly edited to take all that out, I would watch the show in a heartbeat. The production values are beautiful, even if the costumes are out of date and the history is… condensed somewhat.

    I tend to look at historical shows/movies like this: enjoy it for what it is, just don’t let it influence you. The “National Treasure” movies are great, but don’t get your history from them. Learn about it. Read books about it. Find out what really happened.

  21. “My argument it that it is portrayed wrong, if one is going to play henry the eighth then one is going to play it properly PADDING AND ALL” (<—I agree!!)

    I admit that I like the Tudors for strictly entertainment purposes. I take everything presented on screen with a grain of salt. I think though that Henry should be protrayed as aging and obese and smelly. It’s what happened. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do that. He was supposed to be getting fatter by the time Anne married him. It kind of seems like JRM is being a pretty boy! =)

    I like the way Anne was protrayed just because of the fact that I picture her like that. Smart, elegant, witty, enchanting, etc. It does bother me sometimes about the costuming and the overly gorgeous people on the show, but I still love it for it’s entertainment. I started liking Anne more because of it even though my first exploration of the Tudors came from picking up The Other Boleyn Girl book at Target and I just started reading it there in the aisle. I bought it and was totally engulfed in the story; then I started questioning “Who is Anne Boleyn?” “Did this really happen in history?” stuff like that. Pretty soon afterwards, I was hooked and obsessed. I do alot of reading and researching now in historical texts rather than historical fiction novels; but I just love reading things and learning new stuff which leads me to research other stuff and so forth. I love learning new things about the time period and it seems like that happens every time I look up something new. I was sort of disappointed in the 3rd season of the Tudors, so we will see what they do for the 4th season…hopefully it will be better. Who knows!

  22. For myself, I enjoyed The Tudors. Although I’m sure there were inaccuracies, I think the “feel” that the show achieved was excellent, and showed what a thrilling and sometimes chilling time it was to live.

    It’s great that we have Claire to point out the real truth about Anne Boleyn though 🙂

  23. I love the Tudors and am waiting with baited breath for season 3 to start. Although i am fasinated with the history of henry the eight, i can not say that i know all the proper history of him. I am one who LOVES reading Phillippa Gregory’s books, i think she is a very captivateing author. And as for the Tudor show, who doesn’t love to watch Jonathan Ryhs Meyers!!! YUM-YUM. I also love the costumes, there have been so gorgeous dresses on there, my favorite being Anne Boleyn’s red velvet dress that she is wearing durning her crowning, that is one amazing dress.
    Personally i think people should just relax and enjoy the show!!!

  24. I’m from Australia and am addicted (always have been) to Tudor history. I still remember seeing ‘Anne of the Thousand Days’ in my small Aussie town when I was 7!

    So I was really excited to see a whole TV series on the ‘Tudors’!!! I gave the first series a benign OK – some parts were good, others were atrocious (HATED the portrayal of Mary Margaret!!!) Tudor). The costumes were very odd, but overall it was quite fun.

    Then the second series came and I gave up!!! I have the DVDs and I won’t watch them past the first disc. My anger was directed particularly at the scene of Anne Boleyn in bed with Wyatt. What total misinformation, and what a waste of a wonderful opportunity to portray the period and players in all their accurate humanity!

    What makes me really, totally annoyed about these show – and Phillipa Gregory’s trash – is that the truth and studied accuracies are actually more fascinating and engaging than the lies these writers/filmmakers portray. I love reading historical biography and find it totally riveting. Why do we have to dumb down or dress up the facts to make it more palatable for the ‘masses’? This is actually patronising.

    For a movie that works – for me – I turn to ‘Queen Margot’ again and again. This is a movie that is rich in atmosphere and beautifully acted. It does play with facts, but does it so engagingly – in the bounds of historical accuracy. Not only is it a gorgeous love story, but it gives a real sense of the machinations, horrors and dramas of the time.

    I could rave on, but I’m off to have breakfast! Good on you for provoking such a heated discussion!

  25. For me, watching The Tudors isn’t about historical accuracy, it’s much more about the human perspective — the scheming, the plotting, the value of women at that time, the importance of religion and how religion could be corrupted to devious ends. It’s about power and conflict. It’s really more about the human side than the historical voice. It presents the time and the people as human, not as caricatures or something unreal and bigger than life as we often perceive people from history. The actors may be overly pretty, but the roles they play are very human. If I want historical accuracy, as it’s been mentioned before, I’ll find something much more scholarly than a Showtime miniseries.

  26. I identify with Alice’s remarks. I’m a history buff and a writer. I can appreciate how, at times, creative license with facts makes for better storytelling.

    I used to be a real “stickler” that historical pictures remain true to historical fact, or at least convey the substance of those facts. I’m not as rigid about that as I used to be, but I still think it’s important to “tell the truth” as much as possible.

    I do not watch “The Tudors,” but I’ve watched clips and read some synopses on the show, and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s really not for me.

    It’s one thing to redefine facts for entertainment value or to make characters more relatable, it’s quite another to take the people, names, place, events, and tell a new story with them.

    Gregory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl” infuriated me with its inaccuracies and anti-Anne Boleyn tone. She’s a wonderful writer, I loved the Wideacre trilogy. But she took so much artistic license with fact she essentially told a new story and presented it as history. The “dealbreaker” for me was the novel’s implication that Anne and George were guilty of incest. It just required more suspension of disbelief than I was willing to invest in the story.

    What bugs me is that people who are NOT “into” history often get their information — or misinformation as it happens to be — through these popular books, movies, and television shows. Then they think they’ve learned something.

  27. I can admit that it absolutely pulls you in with the costumes and scenery, along with the “eye candy” (Jeremy Northam!!!) Well, kinda, seeing as Thomas More is dead. 🙁 Anyway, it is a good show but it is off-putting if you want historical accuracy! I am intending on getting the 3rd season but I really had hoped Anne wouldn’t have been played so negatively, as she usually is, which is unfortunate. Of course, when it comes to entertainment, accuracy doesn’t always pull in crowds, while drama does and that show brings it full circle! Its a good show, but honestly, I wanted more “history” then again, maybe I expected too much and set myself up to be let down. (Yeah, I think that’s it!) I suppose I should give it another chance and see where it goes, I’m curious if they’re going to take it all the way through Elizabeth’s reign, which would be really great! When you think about it, The Tudors really is a captivating show although it lacks truth but most shows do, its good anyway. I take back what I said in my last comment on giving up on it, maybe I gave up too soon, I’ll give it another chance! 🙂

  28. First of all.. I LOVE THE TUDORS…

    For me, it’s entertainment. I love the costumes, and the actors. So what if they aren’t correct? We will never know the full truth, as we were not there. The show has made this time period in history more accessible to those who have never thought to look into it. I read the Starkey books, and the Weir ones. They are wonderful. I don’t see what the big deal is over the show. It’s awesome, and I wish they would continue it though the reign of Elizabeth.

    As for the Cate Blanchett movies, I like those too. I know they aren’t historically accurate, but I love watching them. I know the difference between fiction and not. The Other Boleyn Girl bothered me though. She made Anne to be some bitter, malicious harpy who was out for herself. Maybe that’s how Mary saw her, but I don’t think that’s true.

  29. I love “The Tudors” and I think it is entertaining. Of course, is has historical inaccuracies, but it’s still fun to watch! I think it should be enjoyed as entertainment, not a documentary. I’ve already seen season 3 and loved it! I think most t.v./films based on historical figures are usually inaccurate in some way, but that’s not going to stop me from watching them.

  30. It makes me laugh when people turn up their 2nd lip to the Tudors while one eye is on the new season. Is this a history lesson? Of course not. It’s what most brillant writers do, take the truth and put an exciting spin on things. I have enjoyed both the 1st and 2nd season which I own, and will gladly buy the next. I have watched them OVER & OVER again. The cast and crew are superb! I would like to say “Thank You”!

  31. Tracy Borman makes all the points I’ve been making over the past few years. Are arguments are the same as mine. Tracy Borman says:

    “Television dramas, films and novels offer a way in to history and can inspire an abiding passion for the subject. Provided that they encourage people to find out what ‘really’ happened, rather than being treated as reliable historical sources in their own right….”

    Admittedly, I sit there annoying everyone saying “that’s not right, that didnt happen blah blah blah” and there are some points which I really think they should not have changed ie, Wolsey’s death (that actually made me quite angry) but on a whole I think they capture the real life “pizzazz” of Henry’s court.

  32. I totaly agree with you Claire! I simply watch the Tudors for entertainment not for any kind of Historical research. I must admit that at first I was sceptical but as soon as I watched it I became addicted! I mean, the presentation, the drama, the costumes! Also, now that you have brought out the point that it “spreads the word” about Anne and the Tudor era in general I love the Tudors even more!

  33. I agree that the Tudors is just for entertainment. I have seen a part of the show and feel that I am not missing much if I never see more. The actors, I feel, do not resemble at all and I guess I have to feel that it is a little believable to watch. Also, I feel The Other Bolelyn Girl was not that good either. It was not believable at all…
    To me the best Anne Bolelyn movie of all time is Anne of the Thousand Days!
    I am not that critical, but since this is the discussion at this time, my 2 cents.

  34. Regarding the issue of Johnathan Rhys-Meyers portrayer a “tall, dark, and handsome” Henry VIII… *drawn-out sigh* Despite my “purism” I believe it makes sense in a particular context.

    In Tudor England, the King, other royalty, and popular nobles were the “pop/fashion icons” and trendsetters of the time. People strove to imitate them, and likely harbored “fandom” (of a sort) for them.

    I think presenting Henry VIII as what modern viewers would view as a “hunk” makes him more relatable. People can look at Johnathan and say, “Whoa! Oh yeah, if I were Catherine/Anne/Jane/etc. I’d want to hold on to THAT.”

    Eric Bana’s portrayal of Henry VIII was comparable in “The Other Boleyn Girl.” I ADORE Bana, and I kept blinking at him and thinking, “This is just SO WRONG.”

    It’s a judgment call and sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    We know that regular bathing was not commonplace during the era and that young teens were married (and often parents.) I don’t think we’d enjoy a period film featuring those elements.

  35. I enjoy the Tudors. It is not historically accurate and for all of his undeniable magnetism the lead actor is, in my opinion the weakest member of the cast. As an ensemble piece it is well cast. Season three has been refreshing in that the overt sexual scenes that I felt cheapened it in the first season are being replaced by more emphasis on political intrigue.

    I think there are two scenes I really felt are the exceptions to my comments above about the talent and content of some of this series.

    1. (Ironicallyy) the final consumation scene at the end of Season one in the forest between Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn – Johnathon Rys Myers was unrestrained and furious – totally believable and totally amazing.

    2. Last episode of Season 3 where the actress playing Princess Mary leaves Anne Cleves when she learns that Philip of Bavaria has been dispatched back home. The look on her face as she accepts her fate with determination and pride – despite her tears was a work of art.

    Am just about to start reading ‘the white queen’


  36. Im sure I read somewhere that Henry was supposed to be portrayed in the Tudors as how he saw himself i.e. good looking! Would make more sense! No idea where I read this though!

  37. I think the Tudors is a great series, i didn’t really get into at first because… well of all it’s inaccuracies, but i did get over it; i am a bit annoyed that they didn’t portray Henry as fat, as it is generally a well known fact about him. i think i mananged to bore my friends silly at my outrage at all they got wrong in the Tudor series, because after the first time, i went to school and my friend was raving about it and taking everything for fact. And got quite a shock when i corrected her, quite vehemently i might add. Have now gotten over initial anger and now it just a treat at the end of the week, i have of course been laughed at for my hypocrisy but who cares?
    . As for Philippa Gregory, i realise that most of it is inaccurate but her books were what started my interest in the Tudors; so it doesn’t irritate me that much, as i still love her writing.

  38. Okay…After reading all the comments here, I went out and bought Seasons 1 and 2 of “The Tudors” and watched it over the weekend.

    The verdict? * long, long, LONG sigh *

    I disliked it, and I actually viewed it with low expectations to begin with. I ADORED Sam Neil’s Wolsey (I’ve had a crush on Sam since I was a kid) and Northam’s portrayal of Sir Thomas More was incredibly beautiful and frightening.

    A “sweet surprise” was Cavill’s portrayal of Charles Brandon. Brandon’s character is the product of a talented actor as well as extremely talented writing, and I enjoyed observing his character growth from self-involved playboy to more sophisticated gentleman. Yes, I know it’s fiction and far from accurate, but at least he was worth watching.

    Johnathan Rhys-Meyers does a good job as Henry, conveying his neurotic, mercurial, edgy behavior quite well. Henry is not likeable in this story and that’s a huge “downer” for the series. It’d be hard to portray Henry as anything besides an anti-hero, but even anti-heroes need to have some likeable traits and qualities. This interpretation of Henry has two speeds: “stag in rut” and “Woe is me, I have no son, the women in my life are SO MEAN!”

    After hearing all the raving about Natalie Dormer and her portrayal of Anne Boleyn, I wanted to watch her performance and approve but…I just couldn’t. It’s not Dormer’s fault. Dormer is quite attractive and talented, but there are several problems. The characterisation itself suffers from bad writing and historical revision. Dormer’s interpretation of Anne reminded me more than once of Juliet Landau’s portrayal of Drusilla (in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” series.) I almost expected Anne to start raving nonsensical nursery rhyme prophecy, swaying and humming while gesturing dramatically, clapping her hands and whispering, “The King of Cups expects a picnic but this is not his birthday!” or something equally silly.

    A big problem as far as characterisation went, IMHO, was the production’s effort to humanizet Anne. There were moments where the “real Anne stood up,” but more often than not she seemed a vulnerable mess, all the moodiness and insecurity WITHOUT her legendary wit and humor known to have entranced the King and impressed the court.

  39. You must have spent the whole weekend watching them!
    I agree with you about Sam Neil, Jeremy Northam and Henry Cavill. Jeremy Northam managed to capture the essence of Thomas More and his scenes with Henry, when he gets angry with him, and his scenes with his family were very moving. JRM I liked, not because he’s good looking because actually he doesn’t do it for me, but because I thought he portrayed Henry’s arrogance quite well. Like you say, he didn’t really have any redeeming qualities, although the bit where he screams when More is executed does show the guilt and pain that Henry must have felt somewhere deep down!
    I liked Natalie Dormer because I felt she showed Anne’s wit, intelligence, determination, feistiness, vulnerability and sex appeal, unlike Natalie Portman in The Other Boleyn Girl (not Natalie Portman’s fault really). As you say, the historical revisions and writing did affect the way that Natalie played Anne and could have been better. I have never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer so can’t comment on Juliet Landau. I do think that the show did a great job of humanising Anne Boleyn and showing people that there was more to her than the rumours that everyone has heard and I know that this made many people go out and find out more about her. The execution scene was amazing and it was good that they pretty much stuck to Anne’s real words. They definitely got people talking about Anne!

  40. I have read with interest all the comments about The Tudors. I think all the main characters in the cast are portrayed very well and I think that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is superb as King Henry – he has the necessary authority and charisma for the role and I do not think it matters that he does not look like the King.

    I also think that people need to lighten up about the historical inaccuracies. this programme is entertainment not a documentary and in this aspect is succeeds extremely well.

  41. Carol Dennis:

    “I also think that people need to lighten up about the historical inaccuracies. this programme is entertainment not a documentary and in this aspect is succeeds extremely well.”

    As I mentionned earlier, my attitudes concerning historical fiction (in books, films, or other media) has “lightened up” significantly.

    I feel that, so long as a writer, film producer, actor, or others involved in the creative process remain true to the substance of personality, fashion, actions, events, etc. it makes for enjoyable story telling. At times things need changing, omission, or revision in the interests of pacing or to affect dramatc emphasis, or some other reason.

    Conflict occurs when artistic license is taken to an extreme to where substance is destroyed or historical facts as they are known are compromised to the extent they alter material fact and integrity of history.

    It’s particularly hard when dealing with iconic characters (like Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) because so much is known about them that many history fans feel like they “know” these individuals. When a film or book is released portraying the characters saying or doing something so outside the scope of their known personality traits, it literally “throws” the reader/viewer out of the story (“Oh my God, NO, s/he would NEVER say/do that.”)

    That’s where the dissatisfaction stems from.

    If Anne Boleyn (fiction character) is represented as having particular liking for French fashions, that’s acceptable to me because there’s compelling evidence indicating her attachment to France and to French culture. If Anne Boleyn is portrayed as having incestuous relations with her brother (or even contemplating it, as in “The Other Boleyn Girl”) this won’t “work” for me, because compelling evidence makes this scenario improbable.

    The “cheesecake” shots of women in corsets worn next to their skin may look sexy, but please believe me, no women wore corsets next to their skin, and in the time period corsets did not zip up the back, either.

    “The Tudors” is not lacking in entertainment value, and it has some truly great moments, but I am not going to pretend the warts don’t exist.

    Hi Claire!

    Yes, I spent the whole weekend viewing both seasons of “The Tudors.” Ironically, I liked Natalie Portman’s Anne Boleyn and I strongly feel that, with a better script, Portman would have given a memorable portrayal that credited Anne Boleyn. “The Other Boleyn Girl” is garbage (IMHO) and even an A-list, Princeton graduate film star can only do so much.

    I believe Portman’s Anne represented a more realistic view of Anne as the flirt. Anne was a “flower” in the English court before Henry bothered to notice her, and it makes sense she would be attractive and personable. The problem with “The Other Boleyn Girl” is that it focuses upon Anne as a hard-nosed, heartless, ambitious woman determined to be Queen at any cost and without much pertinent thought beyond that. I think, with better writing and storyline, Portman would have made a tremendous Anne Boleyn, and that she did the best with what she had.

    Natalie Dormer’s portrayal, although beautiful, and certainly more multi-dimensional that Portman’s, lacked the substance of what I see as Anne Boleyn. I liked that “The Tudors” portrayed Anne as offering her household access to religious text (in English) and her censure for the sacking of religious properties under shady circumstances. There are certainly some fine moments. But at the same time, something was “off.” Anne was notorious for her witty conversation and sometimes dark sense of humor. Her main attraction for Henry was that she cheered and amused him (remember, Mary was the beauty of the family.)

    I can’t think of a single line in the show where Anne said anything particularly witty or memorable. She was bitchy a lot and that’s okay; Anne was known for being bitchy. But without the good humor to offset it, she came across (to me, anyway) as a somewhat eccentric love interest.

    The execution was very well done, and in good tone with historical fact.

  42. Before watching “The Tudors”, as I said in my article, I already heard about this dynasty and his King, but I don’t really have an interest in it. I think it’s a good way to make people intesrests of History growing up. As several people, after watching the Showtime serie, I bought several books about Tudors dynasty and I can’t stop to buy about King Henry VIII and his six Wives and children…

  43. Though it may be inaccurate it certainly is fun!!! I definately think anything that inspires our generation as well as our children’s generation to look into history of any kind can’t be a bad thing!!!
    I also have to admit that having such an attractive cast as well as glorious sets and costumes alone makes it worth while to watch.

    Seriously, its alot easier to accept the the idea of a gorgeous young Henry the VIII having so many conquests as oppsed to a fat, middle aged smelly one! I for one would rather see the image of Jonathan Rhys Meyers seducing a 17 year old Kitty Howard over, lets say: someone like Jonathan Goodman (which would have been more historically accurate and quite disturbing!)

    I always wonder at the end of each season if they will continue the stories of Edward, Mary & Elizabeth since they are also “the Tudors” in seasons to follow after Henry’s demise!

  44. Hi Gina,
    Yes, it’s fun if you can take it with a pinch of salt and let the inaccuracies just go over your head. I definitely agree with you about JRM, I’m sure the viewing numbers would go down if they got rid of him!
    I know that they have been filming Season 4 but I think Michael Hirst said that would be the last one and I assume it will end with Henry’s death. It would be fantastic to have a series about the aftermath of Henry’s reign and to see Edward’s story. I love both the Helen Mirren (“Elizabeth I) and Anne-Marie Duff (The Virgin Queen) series that were made on Elizabeth. Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons as Elizabeth and Dudley were wonderful together. Have you seen either of those?

  45. I did watch Elizabeth I (just the first episode apparently it is a series and I requested the whole BBC set from the library) I thought Helen Mirren was FAB-U-LOUS as Elizabeth…I felt so much for her when she was being courted and had to turn him down for the sake of her people….I dont know how I feel about the storyline of the Queen pursuing a romantic relationship with Robert Dudley’s son? I’ll let you know after I watch the whole series! I also requested The Virgin Queen. I will let you know!
    P.s. I am reading the biography of Jane Boleyn right now…as of right now I wouldn’t recommend it! (sorry, too much heresay….not enough fact!)

  46. Hi Gina,

    I loved Helen Mirren too and you really must watch Part 2 – brilliant! I think that the Earl of Essex was a kind of reminder of Dudley, who Elizabeth really missed. There is absolutely no evidence that there was anything improper between Elizabeth and Essex, yes, he was her favourite and flattered her but that was it. You should enjoy The Virgin Queen too, I much preferred those two to the Cate Blanchett movies. What I also like about Helen Mirren is that she has Elizabeth’s coal-black eyes, the eyes she inherited from her mother and so is more how I imagine Elizabeth.

    I read some rather negative reviews on the Jane Boleyn book on Amazon. I do get fed up with hearsay and maybes, I want cold, hard fact or theories that are reasonable!

  47. I love the Tudors. Is it inaccurate? Yes. As its been pointed out, it is not a documentary so one should not expect it to be perfect. As with anything (historical era, book, etc.) that is put on the silverscreen or the moving talking picture box in your house,changes will take place. Even with entire seasons full of episodes to cover the reign of Henry VIII, it is impossible to cover all of the “important” parts properly represented AND entertaining. Sorry, we don’t live in a perfect world. I do believe that there are explainations for every inaccuracy. Some allow the audience to gain a better understanding of a person or event. For example, the show’s Henry Fitzroy dies a bit older than a toddler (he was much older), though inaccurate this ‘tweek’ set up a very poignant scene. As the king looks down upon his deceased son’s little crown whilst weeping, we see a temporal man. For all the grandiousity of his life, Henry Tudor is still a mortal man. His expression is that of devastation, helplessness, and pain. At once he is a grieving father, a king terrified of failing to produce a male heir, and a man determined to do anything to get that heir. Moving Fitzroy’s death up helped emphasize the importance and magnitude of producing a male heir. I am not saying every inaccuracy is done for a credible reason…the entertainment world is about, well, entertaining. Historical fiction, whether its a show, movie, or novel is about telling a historical person or period’s story by combing fact and fiction. There isn’t a single person on this earth who knows with absolute certainty how Henry or Anne, etc. acted in certain situations. Is there historical evidence/information? Yes, but there was no camera recording an unbiased view. History is recorded by humans. All humans have biases and agendas.I could go on forever. Any work that sparks an interest in history is worthwhile. Its the duty of those with a solid understanding to encourage others to explore.

  48. Great comment, Amy, and yes, I do think that many of the inaccuracies have valid reasons behind them, a bit like a screenplay being different from a novel because of time constraints.
    I did read somewhere that certain things had to change because of actors leaving the show. For example, Archbishop Cranmer disappearing and the Duke of Norfolk also disappearing when he was actually the one sent to sort out the nortehrn rebels in the Pilgrimage of Grace, rather than Charles Brandon. I suppose that program makers have to make many tough decisions when they are dealing with complex stories, a multitude of characters, time constraints, actors’s schedules, casting, costuming etc etc. and compromises have to be made.
    We can all see that there are glaring inaccuracies but what the show is good at is making the charaters 3 dimensional – bringing them to life, helping us to see the feelings behind the actions and how they may have interacted with each other. I know exactly what you mean about the whole Fitzroy incident and how it showed Henry being a mortal man and I think it also made it clear just how important it was for Henry to have a male heir. He was obsessed with it and needed to be so. As Weir points out in her latest book on Anne Boleyn (The Lady in the Tower), the dynastic conflict of the War of the Roses was still in living memory and some people saw the Tudors as usurpers and would be happy to challenge the throne if Henry died without a male heir.
    Also as you say, there was camera recording an unbiased view. We know that people can’t help but be biased. Chapuys, whose letters are used as sources, was known for passing on gossip and rumour and getting things wrong so how do we know what to believe. Things are only certain if we have a few sources in agreement.
    Yes, I totally agree with you about “any work that sparks an interest in history is worthwhile”. In the winning article on Elizabeth I over at the Elizabeth Files, the writer Tracey wrote about how she discusses “The Tudors” with her students and it is great that teachers and lecturers can do this. The Tudor period has been made real and interesting to a whole new generation and that really does warm the cockles of my heart!!
    Thanks for the comment, Amy!

  49. I wholeheartedly agree. So what if it’s not completely historically accurate? It’s a tv show! I love The Tudors, but I always remember that it is not completely true because they take the liberty to make it more interesting to the viewers. I too became interested in the Tudor period because of the show. I found an historical blog called the Raucous Royals that took episodes from season 3 and broke it down to fact and fiction. From there I became enthralled with historical blogs, including this one. As long as the show is introducing a wider audience to history, then you can’t say that it’s harming anyone.

  50. I love the fact that the Tudors is such a good entertainment, but it has also been opening up research in people that really never looked into this point in history. After watching an episode on DVD or on Showtime, whomever I’m watching it with will start to ask me questions about the facts and the fiction in the show! Some of these friends have even gone out and purchased books or researched on the web about the facts, and start to see the difference in entertainment and real history, but we still love that entertainment! I was rather sad to see that they are releasing the last season in Spring as I had really hoped they would continue the Tudor line all the way to Elizabeth I. At least I can dream about it!

  51. I like The Tudors for what it is – a TV show designed to entertain. It definitely delivers on that point. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers makes a good young Henry. I do think it’s a pity they haven’t aged him or made him fat and lame, (okay, so he now has a slight limp). Henry was considered extremely good looking and athletic in his youth, by Tudor standards. By casting JRM they’ve found a brilliant Henry to represent the same standard of handsomeness but in a 21st century way that we can really relate to. To show JRM declining into a fat, lame old man would have filled viewers with the same sense of loss as courtiers who had to watch their young, handsome king change. I think it would really have taken the point home to a lot of people who hadn’t really got it before. Viewers get precious over characters they care about, so I think it would have made it more real for people.

  52. HELLO

  53. Hi Melissa,
    I’m glad you found us! Welcome to the site! I am devoted to making the information on this site as accurate as possible but there is som much that is open to debate because nobody actually know the real definitive answer – Anne is a real mystery in many ways.
    As far as inaccuracies in “The Tudors” are concerned, there’s a great thread on our forum about this – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/forum/movies-and-books/the-tudors-historical-inaccuracies/ but off the top of my head inaccuracies include: Henry Percy being missing, the implication that she had a relationship with Thomas Wyatt (based on rumour and hearsay not fact), Wolsey committing suicide when he actually died on his way to London, combining Henry’s two sisters into one character and having her marry the King of Portugal rather than the King of France, Mary Boleyn – she had a long affair with Henry and also got pregnant during it, Charles Brandon being in charge of sorting out the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels when it was actually the Duke of Norfolk etc. There are loads more!
    Having said that “The Tudors” has loads of inaccuracies, it also has many wonderful accuracies that previous films or series have not picked up on. Various speeches are word perfect and scenes like Anne begging Henry to listen to her while holding Elizabeth are thought to have really happened. I love it and it’s because it brings the period to life and has captivated people around the world and made them want to know more. Wonderful!
    Thanks for your comment , Melissa.

  54. Hi Beth,
    I’ve seen photos from Season 1 where they have greyed his hair slightly but he is far from the real life Henry VIII! It is a shame that they have decided not to show the real decline of Henry from a handsome young prince to a monstrous bad-tempered old man, but I guess they’re worried they might lose some viewers, not sure.

  55. I have written and published two small novels with a historic background. In order to prepare for this, I bought and read a book on how to write a novel. There was an interesting comment the author had made about historical fiction. He said that if actual history gets in the way of your story, change it.

    And if you look at a great deal of historical fiction over the years (in movies, television, plays and novels), a great deal of this has happened. I used to get myself into a twist if a historical drama was not historically accurate. After reading that book and writing my own novels, I have learned to ignore them.

    A good historical drama should inspire someone to go out and discover the truth about a real life person or event. And if “THE TUDORS” have led many of its fans to do exactly that, then all I say is that it is doing a damn good job. I have started watching the Season One DVDs and already, I have become obssessed in learning more truths about this particular royal family. And if I must be honest, I really love the drama and the performances in this series. I’m hooked. I’m a fan.

  56. Hi Rosie,
    Thanks for your really interesting comment. It is so easy to have a go at historical fiction and dramas like The Tudors but at the end of the day they are to entertain us and intrigue us and I think most of them do a great job at that. I think it’s only a problem when an author/director does not make it clear that it is fictional, rather than an account of what happened in history. I think it is wonderful that people get inspired by history and I’m so happy that The Tudors and Philippa Gregory etc. make people search for the truth and get interested in history. People who would never have before touched a history book are now buying biographies of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and learning the truth, or what that biographer thinks is the truth.
    I admit to loving The Tudors too!

  57. Most movies, television productions or novels tend to make it clear that said historical drama is based on true stories. I have seen this in movies like “THE INFORMANT!” OR “U-571”. The latter movie even gave a true account of the history of the Enigma code as the end credits were being rolled.

    But I have come across one or two works of fiction in which the author or creator will claim that their particular work of art is pure fact.

  58. Honestly, I don’t dislike “The Tudors” for the liberties it takes with histories. My favourite historical dramas, “The Devil’s wh*re” and “Rome” are both extremely fictionalised. My problem with the show is that it simply isn’t any good. The writing is dull, the characters inconsistent, and the plots littered with holes (where did Thomas Cranmer go after Season Two? Why did the Margaret/Charles storyline never really get resolved?) To me, it’s not a question of accuracy, it’s a question of quality. And “The Tudors” fails miserably in that regard.

  59. i think the series are brilliant. I’m one of those who did not have a clue about Anne Boleyn’s life before The Tudors. I had heard of Henry VIII and, of course, Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, but I did not know much – if anything – about Anne. Then, I watched the series and became somewhat obsessed with the topic. and for that, I am grateful to the series, because Anne Boleyn is such a fascinating historical figure. what else, I ask you, should have made me aware of Anne? I’m German, we didn’t talk about that in history class or so. anyway, I love The Tudors because it’s fun to watch, and it’s a rich and splendic production if you ask me. anyone can watch it, and those who are interested can research and find out whether things were really that way or different. I did, and I like both the ultimate truth and the way The Tudors portrays the whole thing.
    and, who the hell cares that people, in The Tudors, are more beautiful than they were for real? EVERYONE likes to see beautiful people, it’s in our blood.
    and I think, the fact that Natalie Dormer is so incredibly beautiful makes it understandable (for the common viewer) why Henry wanted Anne so badly and sacrificed so much for her. Even if Anne was not that beautiful in reality, she was equally fascinating, I guess, and The Tudors manage to show that.
    People of the 21th century want to see a king like JRM (he is sexy indeed) and a queen like Dormer, and that’s why I like The Tudors. good god, it’s TV entertainment, fiction loosely based on reality. people should just enjoy it 🙂

  60. I really like “The Tudors”!! First of all, because it simply entartaining!! Second, because iin my opinion, it’s the movie/series about the Six Wives of Henry the VIII that is closest to the true story. (at least of those that I have watched). And third, because I really like the acting of the cast! Natalie Dormer may have blue eyes, but she has that “Anne essence”, Jonathan Rhys Meyers has that crazy-eye thing that Henry the VIII possibly had when he was mad with someone.

    I really enjoy this show, even though it is sometimes historically inaccurate!

  61. Hello. I’ve loved treading about the 16th century since I was a pre-teen. The “Tudor” series has made me think, for the 1st time, what were Anne’s ambitions, from the time she went to France – to her return to England. Would she have had any opinion of her own as to what she wanted to do with her life? or was it tradition, that her father would guide her to a suitable marriage. what options did she really have? One fact that is clear, is that she loved Elizabeth; that she was maternal; I think the birth of Elizabeth changed her – but how? the other queen that is unknowable and who would be interesting to know – is Catherine Parr.

  62. I think the Tudors is an excellent TV show as a piece of entertainment. In terms of portraying the period, and the characters, anything that gets people interested in history is OK by me, and I think it’s modernized enough that most people watching will realize they can’t believe everything they’re seeing on the show.

    I am disappointed that they seemed to try to minimize Henry’s responsibility for Anne’s execution as much as possible by echoing unfounded accusations (she asked Henry to kill Mary and Catherine), by making Anne seem crazy (apparently to make her a female Henry) and minimizing her good works; and making it seem as if Cromwell had more to do with Anne’s murder than Henry himself. I am glad that since they chose to take the “wh*re” route with Anne, they made it tragic and understandable by casting her father as pimp, so that she was merely doing what she’d been raised from the cradle to do.

    I’ll always be grateful to the show for introducing me to Natalie Dormer, who is my thespian soul sister, and for its complex portrayal of Henry, which reminds me how much you can like a vile person when they have attractive and pitiable qualities. It’s a good warning not to be taken in by charismatic, soul-sick people.

  63. Oh my gosh Claire,
    I just love this series….if only for opening the Anne Boleyn files on me. Ive always, always had a strange obsession with the Tudor period and Queen Elizabeth the 1st, a real heroine of her time!
    But after watching the Tudors, I had a fierce thirst for knowledge on Anne Boleyn to the point where I wanted to invent a time machine just so I could go back and possibly meet her. Don’t you just love when a programme or film does that?

    The tudors, in my honest opinion is a feast for the eyes and a rollercoaster ride through a fascinating time in history. Its not always accurate but god…please….if it was, would we even watch it? We might as well sit through history class again with its fusty, dusty books, learning dates and how to understand all that olde english language.
    The Tudors has opened a world to young and old who never even blinked over royal history before….I know, because Ive spoken to many, even as young as 14….they love it and many have been planning trips to Hampton Court becasue of it.

    This series is not to be blinked at. I love it and i know Im not alone when I say that.

    God bless The Tudors!!!! roll on fourth season!

  64. I’m one of those people who set out on a quest to find more and more info about Anne Boleyn after watching only three episodes of The Tudors. I have known the vague outlines of her story for a while but Natalie Dormer’s Anne has enchanted me. And now I’m searching for facts. Her full story. I want to visit her final resting place next time in London.

    And I love The Tudors as a show. It’s great entertainment. The vibe, the actors, the costumes, everything. and Natalie continues to be enchanting.

  65. I’m 23 and I have been OBSESSED with Anne since my sophomore year in high school, I even re-read her page on Wikipedia at least once a month to see if there is anything new. I always get a bit miffed with people who put down Historical Fiction works like “The Tudors” or Philippa Gregory’s books, what part of FICTION aren’t they getting? There is ALWAYS fact in with the fiction, but lets be honest, there is very little 100% undisputed fact when it comes to Anne, let alone the Tudor reign, obviously there is going to be a A LOT of made up incidents or glamorized portions of things that really happened. I for one am a HUGE fan of “The Tudors” and my copy of “The Other Boleyn Girl” is literally falling apart, but they are just like little gateways into what happened, and a stepping stone so to speak towards finding out the “real story” (or as close to the real story as one can get).
    I’m getting married in August, and my theme is Tudor England, primarily during Anne’s rule as Queen Consort, and not only do films and shows like “The Tudor’s” entertain me, but they have given me GREAT idea’s for the decor for my reception!
    “The Tudors” is a GREAT show, and honestly, even if there was NOTHING historically accurate in it, I’d still watch it just for the entertainment value it has!

  66. I don’t watch many shows on a regular basis but The Tudors is one I never miss. I enjoy taking what I have seen and researching to see if it is fact or fiction. I find myself learning more and more about The Tudors and am proud to say have surpassed my husband and his son who are both English on their knowledge of Tudor history. Kudos to the creators of this program, it’s not often that a show will peak the interest of its watchers in such a way The Tudors has.

  67. I am so glad that I came upon this website! I have been fascinated with Tudor period history for a long, long time and I have to say that with all it’s inaccuracies, I still love “The Tudors” show. I think that for people who are casual viewers, they can watch this show and also become fascinated and do their own research into the period. I have always been enthralled with Anne Boleyn above all of the other queens of Henry VIII. My favorite biography of her is by Eric Ives. I have seen many (but not all, by far!) similarities between things that actually happened and the show from reading Mr. Ives’ book. I have and will always say that Anne was a victim of the influential men in her life. Sure she was ambitious in her own right, but surely her father and other men around her had significant sway in the direction her life took. Anyway, great website! I’m kicking myself for not having found it sooner!

  68. I love this show because it brings my favorite historical period to life and it is downright entertaining. It’s funny that you have a friend who calls you after every episode to see what was real and what was not, I have two friends who ask me those types of questions after they watch the show! I love reading about Anne Boleyn and the Tudor period, but Anne is my favorite of Henry’s wives. Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of Anne blew me away, I have seen almost every movie out there about Anne and Natalie’s Anne was far and away the best I have seen yet. The fact that she filmed the death scene first completely amazed me, can you imagine filming the most dramatic and arguably the most important part of something, be it show or movie first? I love this site, it makes my downtime go by much faster! The videos dedicated to Anne on You Tube came up at my in-law’s house the other night and my father in law said “Anne Boleyn, but she’s dead! My husband rolled his eyes and quickly said “If you lived in my house you would know she was alive and well, I can assure you.” So she is, she is alive and well in the hearts of all of us who continue to love and revere her and persist in the quest for the truth about this remarkable, and greatly wronged woman.

  69. Hello, I’ve just stumbled across your site, in large part, because of The Tudors. I’d never thought twice about this period of history before and then I watched the show, flicking between the dvd window and wikipedia (which i suppose might also make you cringe as a historian) the entire time. And now, here I am, fascinated and finding out what really happened.

  70. Hi Maya,
    I’m so glad that you found the site – welcome! I’m not cringing at all, so don’t worry. I actually love “The Tudors” because it really brings the charcaters and time to life and makes people ask questions about them. Please do browse the site – we have a “Search” box to help you and there’s also a Q&A page and forum.
    Claire x

  71. I am a huge european history nerd, so while I feel compelled to grumble at the TV while watching the Tudors I 100% understand the perspective of the writer and why he makes the decisions he makes (and as a result love it). In order to appeal and relate to today’s audiences, there needs to bea measure of adaptation. It is also necessary to slightly squish the timeline together in order to keep a proper flow of development and climax for a TV series. As a Soap Opera – well my god..we are talking about several weddings, executions, transgressions, and wars, all at the hand of history’s most compelling narcissist. I actually felt the portrayal of Anne Boleyn was probably quite accurate considering the adaptation of language and so forth. I found Natalie to have a striking resemblance to the portrait of Anne in the black dress – those who have studied art styles from this period understand that women were painted with a specific style and that the paintings are not necessarily a mirror image but a depiction of the artists impression of the woman’s features. (compare the faces in most paintings from this period and you will find a similarity among them, even with different aritsts) I agree that the show incites intense interest in this period for many watchers, and am at least happy that Anne’s downfall and execution was played so perfectly. I was personally left conflicted over this precocious and trite girl and even shed a tear for her thanks to Natalie’s performance.

  72. I love the Tudors!! I lived in Inuvik, nt and I was too cheap to pay for cabel, so I hooked up my ‘bunnie ears’ to my tv, and found The Tudors on CBC..and I fell for it. that was a few years ago, and to my delight, my WONDERFUL HUSBAND got me all 3 seasons for christmas. Nothing could of been better than that!!! I LOVE THE TUDORS!!!!!

  73. I am a history major and I had to take a couple of European history classes last semester; I chose English Hist. I thought I would hate it, but now I am almost obsessed with English/British history. It can get VERY confusing, but it is so interesting! What’s ironic is that I had watched The Tudors 2 yrs. before I started back to college last year, at age 34, and I fell in love with the show. Yet, the names, titles, etc. got confusing. Now, I have re-watched the 3 seasons of The Tudors that I have, and it is much more comprehensive. Yes, there are inaccuracies, but like many others, it has inspired my interest even more in Henry VIII, Anne, and the Boleyns in general.
    Actually, historical fiction is a great way to learn. I’ve been MADE to read many historical fiction books- hated the idea of it at 1st- now I’m grateful that my Profs. made me- it is a great way to learn about history. I also can’t deny that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is VERY pleasing to the eyes & I love most of the actors in it- they’re fabulous. Anyway, I definitely think that shows like The Tudors spark people’s interest, and that, even if inaccurate, is great- it inspires many to look for the truth. Everyone knows that a boring history teacher can “make it or break it” for a student- it can make them hate history- those are the teachers I grew up with. Thank god, I have had terrific history Profs at the university I go to….and I have The Tudors (great eye-candy!) I used to hate history growing up- now, I can’t get enough of it.

  74. I am new to this site but I am an old fan of “The Tudors” which is surprising since I am such a purist when it comes to history. I have thoroughly enjoyed “The Tudors” from the beginning and especially Anne Boleyn. Natalie Dormer is really mesmerizing.

    Unfortunately, the use of so many good-looking actors has sometimes caused me to get them confused. Plus the “darkness” of many of the scenes often creates confusion. However, I am sure that such darkness is realistic since the absence of electricity made castle halls very dark. Of course, it also makes set building a little easier.

    As a Christian myself, I have been intrigued at how the Reformation was depicted. The greediness of many of the catholic and pseudo-reformists was well shown and I have spent many hours on another message board trying to help answer questions about the hows and whys of the Reformation.

    That said, I am hoping to find out more on this site about Anne Boleyn and her spiritual beliefs. I know she was a reformist and I am seeking to know if she was indeed a “real” Christian. I have read several books on her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, and I admire her greatly.

    I personally believe that real life is every bit as interesting as fiction. I can see how Hollywood sometimes has to make alterations due to budget and time in order to complete a show, but I think there were many instances when “The Tudors” could have stayed with the truth and been just as interesting and maybe even more so.

    I look forward to many hours on this site learning along with everyone else 🙂

  75. It’s a shame that the series will end with the death of Henry VIII, though. There was lots of drama that followed his death. Like the crisis following Edward’s death, poor Jane Gray used as a pawn, and executed because the duplicity of others, including her ruthless and uncaring mother, the Marian purges, and so forth.

  76. I remember before the series ran on Showtime here in the US they were talking about Henry VIII as the ultimate rock star of his day. They made no bones about not being historically accurate at that time. I watched the first season on DVD at a friends(I don’t have Showtime in my cable pkg) and thinking ‘oh this looks good’. I honestly DON’T expect shows like this to be accurate, especially NOT after they’ve pushed the ‘rock star’ aspect of Henry. And if we’re going to whinge about Henry not being fat and smelly, we need to mention that Katherine of Aragon’s appearance wasn’t right either. She was fair skinned with blue eyes and reddish blond hair, and by the mid 1520’s quite matronly looking. I loved Maria Doyle Kennedy, she is a lovely woman but as Katherine??? Not right appearance wise at all, but spot on with her portrayal of Katherine’s unwavering certainty.

    Loved Sam Neil, Jeremy Northam and Henry Cavill in their parts. All very good and interesting. The guy who played Thomas Boleyn was quite good in an oily sort of way also. All in all they got the intrigues of the Court down. Yes it’s inaccurate, but it has got people reading about the Tudors and doing their own research and that to me is a good thing.

    Now TOBG just hacked me off. I was furious at her portrayal of Anne in it. Anne wasn’t ever going to be that stupid as to go there with her brother, never mind anyone else. Anne was intelligent, had been in the French Court and KNEW better. She knew that all she had was her reputation. Sleeping around was a huge no-no and she was a lot of things but foolish she was not. The one thing Gregory DID get right was the amount of stress on Anne during the time in the run up to her marriage and during the marriage. She walked a very thin tightrope and she knew it. And she got the family intrigues right also. But, as I read it and Anne became more and more monstrous I got more and more peeved at it.

    Ah well it’s a bona fide rant here. I love this site. It’s increased my book list of to reads immensely. Thanks Claire.

  77. What a great site. I happened upon this site while looking for the lyrics to the song “With her head tucked underneath her arm”. My parents were folk singers as I was growing up and this was one song they used to sing so I had knowledge and a fascination of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I from a young age. I love The Tutors for bringing this fascinating time to life. As so many people have written before here I love it for the drama, beauty, and sense of time and place that it provokes and it motivates me to research further. As someone wrote here before I am sad that they are ending with four seasons at Henry’s death. They could continue for years with the drama of Edward, then Lady Jane Gray, Mary and then Elizabeth. What drama. It would be awesome.

    I totally agree with Joanne’s comment about TOBG. I read The Virgin Queen by the same author and didn’t like how Gregory portrayed Elizabeth ( my heroine). It made me mad and I knew TOBG would provoke the same reaction. I did see the movie and it pissed me off. Her portrayal of Anne seemed so wrong making her whinney and pathetic and making Mary his real love. He didn’t break from the Pope and so on for Mary did he? Anne most certainly wouldn’t have gotten where she did if she were that way. She didn’t give Anne the credit she deserved in history weather you see her as a heroine or not. I have read several of Gregory’s books and often wonder if she is Catholic. Her portrayals of Elizabeth and Anne were vary harsh (and inaccurate as I see it) and her portrayals of Mary and Kathrine of Aragon were very sympathetic. Due to the religious nature and struggle between Catholic and the Prodestant Reformers at that time I could see why the author would have a bias with the characters. Anyway it is just a thought. I have decided not to read any more of her books concerning the Tutor or Elizabethan Eras.

    I have just started with this site. I look forward to exploring and learning more. Thanks for creating it!

  78. I am like you, I love the show. I can pick out the inaccuracys but there are accurate things that happen too. My only problem is that I have had people say when it is brought up and I start talking about what is and is not accurate they ask me, “Wait, they are real.”, at least it is better then them not knowing about them at all.

  79. I read some of the comments and have to say that everyone is right about the things they are saying. Dormer was the best Anne I have seen and they had the right balance of sadistic woman and the woman who was a victim. Anne just wanted to marry Percy and be happy it was her family that pushed her toward Henry. However, she did have a lot to do to attract him to her.

  80. I found “The Tudors” amusing, and some of the supporting characters seemed pretty accurate (such as Jeremy Northam’s More; supporting characters’ dialog was usually better as well!), but a little too full of howlers: sister Mary Rose’s resemblance to a supermodel was the funniest. And, of course, JRM looks nothing like the Henry he’s supposed to be portraying, but I think he’d be quite good as Henry VII. That sulky, dour, suspicious face of his–perfect. Henry VII was only about 27 when he became king, and not bad looking. Getting to watch the complete dynasty in action, from 1485 to 1603, would be great.

    1. Oh yes Melanie, I wouldn’t have minded that either, having the full era in the series. Sarah Bolger is a good actress, I would have loved so see her ruling her 5 years. And Sarah had this kinda sharp look in the eyes like Mary herself. The girl that played Elizabeth was pretty good aswell, I think her name was Laoise Murray, she reminded me of Anne Boleyn in her personality and confidence with her head held up high, well knowing who she is and what she was capable off. Well acted!
      The boy that played Edward was cute aswell and then they could have squeezed in a Jane Grey – one episode would have been enough to cover her 9 days reign I guess)

      I know there’s many movies made about Elizabeth al’ready and The Tudors was to cover Henry’s reign only, still i would have loved if they continued. That would have been a perfect conclusion of the series.

  81. The tudors got me into the tudor era again and helped me gain interest to start writing my historical fiction novel set during that time. It may not be fully accurate but no show really is. This is another way of getting the youth into the past and history.

  82. I love the show for what it is- entertainment! Ever since I was an eight year old girl, I’ve been in love with the Tudor era. My first book “The Nine Days Queen” has my name scrawled on the front cover in purple crayon lol. The show to me is awesome, because unlike other Tudors docu-dramas, the show depicts the scandal, intrigue and sedution of Henry VIII’s court, and just…brings the characters to life! The only, very few things, that bother me are hat they made Henry’s sisters into one sister, thereby pretty much writing out Lady Jane Grey out of the show. And, this is so so so silly (and don’t get me wrong, I love Natalie Dormer) but I was very disappointed when Anne Boleyn didnt have dark eyes. when Anne was alive, fair hair and light eyes were the ideal beauty- but she used her dark hair, dark eyes to be an exotic beauty. She was known for her alluring dark eyes, and in an age where contacts are readily available to change eye colour, I think that this was unfortunate. Other than those— I love the show!!! I also love how they had JRM as Henry– you just don’t get how sexy and attractive Henry was by the bloated, arrogant, pouting portraits you see of older Henry lol!!

  83. I loved the series aswell. Great costumes and how they tried to recreate this era. Som facts might have been inaccurate alright (i.e. Hanry fitzroy dying from the Sweat, he actually loved on to be 16 or so), but lots of facts are true. Knowing the real truth is hard, as there’s no contemprary witnesses left a few hundred years later to clear some facts for certain.

    I found it very entertaining getting an insight in life at the english court, of politics and greedy power games of that time.
    It actually got me even more interested in that era, just finished reading a book about Katherine Howard and now I have just started one of her cousine Anne.
    I would love to go to England and see Hampton Court or the Tower and other related places, which in the end would drive me back in the arms of historians telling me the story at location, so I think it is rather a benefit for them than something bad!

  84. I got into the Tudors because of the interest it generates in Henry VIII and his 15th century soap opera of a life. I believe the highlights of the show are the performances by Natalie Dormer as Anne, Nick Dunning as Thomas Boleyn, Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon, Jeremy Northam as Thomas More, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine, and Sarah Bolger as Mary. I also liked the actors who played Jane Parker and George Boleyn.

    The guy who played George was especially unsympathetic in his portrayal especially in his treatment of Jane Parker. I was actually cheering when he was arrested. I thought the guy who played Cromwell did an interesting job of making him seem sympathetic at times, like when he told Henry of the loss of his two daughters and when he was talking to his son Geoffrey before he was arrested. He really made me feel sorry for him for the first time and in other portrayals I never had any sympathy for the character of Cromwell at all.

    I thought JRM did a good job as the younger Henry and he had the power mad tyrant down but the physical resemblance to the real Henry as he got older bothered me. I understand why showtime did it because of the viewership of the series.

    I believe that Keith Michell is still the definitive Henry VIII in his portrayals of the king. I also like Genevieve Bujold’s portrayal of Anne Boleyn in Anne of a Thousand Days.

    I think the series does exactly what it was meant to do. It makes people tune in and watch and then because of their interest, they go out to see other productions and read more about the king, his wives, and Tudor times.

    1. Thank you Mary Anne. You summed up in your second paragraph exactly why I was unable to watch this programme. You cheered when George Boleyn was arrested. The programme has made you want to go out and learn more about real Tudor history, which is brilliant, but for every one of you there are thousands who don’t bother. For them George Boleyn will remain a wife abusing monster and not the remarkable and talented young man he really was, and the George who Claire is trying so hard to depict on this site. I find the fact that the programme has resulted in many people around the world being pleased that George died so sad. I think Claire has a bit of an uphill stuggle, and I hope she perseveres, or else George’s character will continue to be destroyed, not only by fiction, but also by the likes of Weir. Good luck, Claire.

  85. I have many friends who are livid that they did not see the historically overweight Henry in the later seasons. My opinion however is such: Henry was sexually active allegedly until Kathryn Parr (but that is speculation, of course, since his will did mention any offspring of Lady Parr to be in the line of succession after Edward, and unless he was truly just that mad, they ….well, you get my point). And like any television series and/or most movies you see today, how often are we entertained with ‘fattened’ love scenes. Please, I am not criticizing. I am large as well, so I could understand the insult. This is merely an observation. I am not sure, as deliciously handsome as Rhys-meyers is that I could enjoy him playing a fat man rolling about sweaty and out of breath on top of sweet seductresses.

    Historical facts: I can’t really recall any movie that truly diverges the facts precisely. Elizabeth I was confounded with misinformation, as well as Braveheart, the Titanic, etc…however, much like you, as well as, Borman state, it entices you into that stunning Tudor environment, rich with beauty, scandal and curiosity. While I know some portrayals in the series were so far-fetched that it left you dumfounded, it still made it worth while to see someone else’s outlook on The Great Matter, his illnesses, his mindset.

    Also, you mentioned Phillipa Gregory. I had learned the hard way that her work is made of up convoluted misinterpretations and so many historical wrongs that I almost desire to burn her books. I own three of them. The third, ‘The Boleyn Inheritance” I cannot even finish. It was her that reared me back into the love of the 16th Century though, sending my thirst for Anne Boleyn’s facts and innocence into a raging need, but only to learn that all that she had written was so inaccurate! I was appalled. I do realize that it is fiction, but to change facts completely for the satisfaction of your readers?? That does nothing but dummy down and mislead any of whom look to her book for answers, as I did in my naivety. Happily, I am now set in reading as many ‘truer’ books that I can find in hopes to mediate this informational betrayal while still enriching my senses with possibilities and wonders. I welcome any and all author and book suggestions. In fact, I just read The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. I did not do a background check on her before reading, so if anybody has an opinion of her work, I would LOVE to hear it. 🙂

  86. Guys, its a TV show, calm down. I love it its great. I love how they have brought such a period of time alive.
    The reason why people are getting pissed off is because they are mistaking ‘The Tudors’ a Showtime TV show, for a David Starky documentry. The thing is they had to change things or cause ‘innacuracies’ to keep people watching, and keep it interesting. For example they made up Lady Usula Missledon because during the period of time within Jane Seymour and Henry 8ths marriage was boring. ‘The Tudors’ was not made to be accurate, it was made to entertain.
    Being a teenager studying history, I like watching it a whole lot more than reading a history textbook. But I understand that there are inaccurcies in ‘The Tudors’ that I have to check up on. But its good to have a intresting, visual aid to help understand it a bit more.

  87. THE TUDORS is inviting, intriguing, annoying (as time goes by and the blatant inaccuracies evolve), lush, pretty to look at, a costuming nightmare AND a feast for the eyes all at once. It is, simply, entertaining. Imagine trying to get people to watch it if they didn’t have beautiful people and more lust, intrigue, sex, brutality, bloodshed, more beautiful people, more sex, an impossibly handsome King (when we ALL know what Henry **really** looked like.

    Joss Stone was too pretty to play Anne of Cleves and have Henry ranting about how unattractive she was. The girl who played Jane Seymour was **WAY** to pretty for the part, many of us know that Jane was uber-plain. We also know that Mary Rose Tudor married the aged King of FRANCE (not Portugal) and she was never suspected of murdering him. That was one inaccuracy I didn’t “get” at all.

    All in all, more people know **something** about the Tudor family now than ever did before, it all played out like a Renaissance version of “Dallas” to a rather large (for a historical piece), so, in that regard, it was a success.

    Henry VIII should have looked SO good!

  88. I knew about Tudor history and especially Anne Boleyn before the Tudor series and I have been unsure about watching it for a long time – and I am so happy that I decided to do it in the end!
    In my opinion, the cast is somewhat well chosen, I found Natalie Dormer’s performance of Anne absolutely stunning (I cried like a baby during the execution scene, though I knew it would happen etc) and also the other characters are generally acted out well.
    For me, it is okay that the creators took some liberty concerning details to improve the entertaining effect, in my opinion, lots of things appeared authentically anyway. I mean, they showed so many anecdotes that are true! I don’t mind the inaccuracies then.
    I want to learn every detail about the real Anne Boleyn (and others as well), but while I’m reading books (e.g. Eric Ives, no novels) about her, I don’t think that I have to justify myself for watching the series- I just love it, because it makes the time and the spirit somehow alive for me. This is reason enough.
    But also the effect of awakening interest for the real history is remarkable. I know many people who would never have had the idea of “wasting” any thoughts about Tudor history and then found it so interesting that the story of Henry and the six wifes really happened. Even my mother wanted me to explain her what was going on there!

    There are so many positive aspects about the Tudor series and I think them to be a good adaption of the characters and the image of that time, and so I don’t mind that it is a little sexier for the reasons of entertainment. To be able to watch Anne Boleyn that way makes me “The Most Happy”. =)

    Lea (sorry for this extraordinary long comment, I just wrote what my mind told me :p )

  89. I am 23 and I live in the UK. I am Welsh but my first language is English as both of my parents are English.
    I have ALWAYS loved history. I am interested in so many different parts from all over the world but the Tudors are one of my favourites. I have been interested in Anne Boleyn and her fate since I was in junior school (aged about 7).
    I am aware that there are inaccuracies in The Tudors but…… I LOVE IT!!!! As others have mentionned, it brings the characters of these fascinating people alive. It brings emotion to the history books which are sometimes so political they can get tedious.
    I am still waiting on season 4 and I can’t wait! I dont want it to end and as a result of the series I found this website and plan to visit Hever Castle next spring with my husband!! (Who by the way finds the whole thing….. tolerable!!! lol)

  90. Yes, I agree with most of the reasons and I can’t deny I
    watched ‘The Tudors’ myself…but giving the role of Anne Boleyn to
    a blue – eyed actress is a shame! After all the Queen was famous
    for her dark, lively, distinctive eyes and she was popular among
    men even though she was living in the times when majestic women of
    fair complexion were considered to be beauties. I know that some
    may think of it as a detail but I guess not on this site 😉 And
    blending Henry’s sisters into one was not only a complete ignorance
    of the history but it was stupid as well because it closes the
    producers the way to continuation…how would they explain the
    relation of James Stuart to the Tudors after all? And btw, this is
    a great site and I visit it regularly. Thank you for running

  91. Hello Claire: I have all four of the Tudor seasons and watch them from Season one-four frequently. Yes, they are inaccurate in places, and, yes, JRM did not resemble Henry8 in his later years, but he captured all the tenderness and tyranny of the man perfectly.

    I thought Natalie was phenominal as Anne, even with her blue eyes! I also have Keith Michell’s version and agree that he is what Henry probably looked like.

    Has anyone seen Henry VIII with Ray Winstone and Helene Bonham Carter? Ray Winstone is VERY convincing as Henry8 and HBC is excellent as Anne.

  92. Hi,

    Accurate or not The Tudors is a wonderful and emotive piece of drama. I was bought the boxed set series 1 – 3 and my partner and i have just finished series 2. For me, the proof of excelent acting and wonderful production is if a work effects you emotionally.

    Last night poor Anne was executed after having her death postponed twice. When the deed was done i looked over at my partner, she was in floods of tears, real tears. She was deeply troubled and had shared the portrayed fear of Anne.

    The next 4 hours saw us discussing the merits of the work andthat of Annes life and death


  93. I am in the United States, but I have always been interested in European history – especially England. Watching The Tudors refreshed that interest and I found myself trying to devour whatever information I could to find out the true story. Finding this site was one of the best things that I have found because of The Tudors. I am so envious of those of you in England. You have all this rich history surrounding you! I was blessed to visit England in 2000 on a whirlwind European Trip. I fell in love with England and its people and pray that I will return someday.

    1. In reply to Katherine Wilhelm.
      The final episode of “The Tudors” aired in England this weekend, and whist not being 100% accurate, is accurate enough for what is, after all, an entertainment. I read your comments Katherine and felt very humble, but proud, that an American can have such strong feelings about English history. It also made me realise how lucky I am to have so much history on my doorstep, so to speak. Something I had always taken for granted! Thank you for making me grateful for living where I do ( I live in Kent so have easy access to Hever Castle and many other historical sights), I have always loved history but, like many others, adore 16th century English history and all that that time involves. May you continue to love England and the people in it and I hope you make it back here to visit our sights again soon. Finding this sight was also one of the best things I ever did too!

      1. When you live there you do take the history surrounding you for granted, as it’s what you’ve grown up seeing, and I think sometimes it takes someone from another country to point out how lucky you are for you to wake up and count your blessings. I wonder how many people live in the vicinity of somewhere like Hever, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor etc. and have never been.

        Neil, I’m so glad you found this site and you like it, it’s good to hear.

        1. Thank you for your comments Claire.
          The site (I spelt it correctly this time – senior moment!) is brilliant, keep up the good work.

  94. Being an everything tudor fanatic, I spent the first couple of episodes screaming at the TV about the inaccurate historical facts, and how anyone watching without any knowledge of the tudor period would be mis-informed. I could get passed the fact that this Henry looked nothing like the real one, as Jonathan play this interpetation of him brilliantly, as does Natalie as Anne Boleyn, giving a modern version of her sexuality. So I stopped watching it as a history lesson, and looked at it as it is meant to be, Entertainment. I can now appreciate the stunning costumes and jewlery, with their updated artistic licence, the wonderful settings and the talented acting,( Thomas Cromwell never looked so dishy! )
    So now I am a fan,I now watch, relax and enjoy, with the thought that the trueth is out there if you want to find it.

  95. I agree with other comments. I love The Tudors, the lavishness and the opulence of the show is riveting. The stars of the show for me though will always be Natalie Dormer, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Sarah Bolger. Fantastic actresses. I have issue with some of the innacuracies, namely the “biggies”. Henry’s uncle getting murdered in the 1st episode and the amalgamation character of Margeret. There the only ones that really bugged me. Although the messing around of years, mostly in the first 2 seasons was frustrating. But as others have said, alot of the dialogue in the show is factual or slightly adjusted which is fantastic. I loved The Tudors and I’m not ashamed to admit it!!! Anyone who enjoyed it should also try and get a copy of “The Virgin Queen” starring Anne Marie Duff and Tom Hardy…Excellent!

  96. It’s entertaining, but there IS something wrong when none of the women wear Tudor costumes – Anne Boleyn did not wear a single French hood, neither did Katherine Howard and I personally think both the devout Katherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour would’ve been shocked to see that their hair was exposed the whole time – and they took MASSIVE liberties with the storylines. Katherine Howard was almost not executed, the story was going to be her incarcerated in a nunnery! This is BAD. And don’t get me started on Jonathan – he’s got nothing to Keith Michell.

    As bad as TOBG is, and I agree, at least they look like Tudors.

    1. But surely the storyline is more important and TOBG was so far removed from reality – Mary begging for Anne’s life and then going off with Elizabeth??! Mad! The Tudors was inaccurate with costume and some storylines but other bits were incredibly accurate, speeches word-for-word and some quite obscure events which people didn’t know about, e.g. Henry’s accident in the mud, being shown. As much as The Tudors angered me, TOBG was far far worse.

  97. “The Tudors” is a Clinton Era take on Henry VIII. Machiavellianism, rampant sex, naivete in foreign affairs may all be forgiven; indeed, they are made into virtues, since the King made a comment or two about helping the commoners. It’s a wonder STDs weren’t rampant enough that no one could possibly live long enough for a beheading, the consumption, or to be burned at the stake. In the 60 years since the Kinsey Report, for whatever reason, Western culture is obsessed with remaking history as being exactly like our times, when it comes to sexual mores. But nothing could be further than the truth. Ann Boleyn wasn’t chaste because she was a manipulater – she was chaste because it was sincerely considered a good thing to be. And so her casting was way off, harmfully so – – – not that anyone would notice.

    But Catherine . . . ahh yes . . . there’s our excellent and dignified example of stately and gracious purity. She positively delights, and if her portrayal is inaccurate (in a different way than Ann Boleyn’s), it can be excused. She emerges as the true heroine of the first season – the one person that we all would like to be like.

    I am an amateur historian, and while I would leave more of the Tudors to the imagination, and would do much less of assuaging our generational sense of guilt for our libertinism by pretending there never used to be such a thing as traditional morality, I must say I am enjoying it immensely (watching it for the first time, here in the fall of ’13). Indeed it is helping me sort out all those personalities and names I have struggled to read about for forty years. On to Season Two . . . !

    1. But Catherine . . . ahh yes . . . there’s our excellent and dignified example of stately and gracious purity. She positively delights, and if her portrayal is inaccurate (in a different way than Ann Boleyn’s), it can be excused. She emerges as the true heroine of the first season – the one person that we all would like to be like.

      Read more: https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-tudors-is-it-really-so-bad/#ixzz3nBEvwnye

      I haven’t had time to read all 5 years worth of posts but one thing I noticed immediately from the credits is that this is an Ireland /Canada co-production so perhaps it is not surprising that Catherine of Aragon is portrayed so sympathetically as the dignified and loving, piously Catholic, abandoned wife and Anne Boleyn as an ambitious Protestant strumpet with a crooked smile, urged on by her social climbing family. I can’t wait to see how they handle Mary’s revenge on the Protestant heretics.

      The whole style of the show was immediately evident as popular entertainment rather than any attempt at historical accuracy but then Shakespeare was not concerned about historical accuracy either and he knew how to keep the public enthralled.

      I have only watched season 1 to date but I must confess that I enjoyed watching it despite its obvious shortcomings. I didn’t like the casting of Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn. I’m sure she is fine as the girl the average teenage girl can identify with but it is hard to imagine that kind of quirky, asymetric, gamine sort of face with such an extremely retroussé nose (is it natural?) would have been regarded as beautiful in Tudor times – men, especially Kings, would not have wanted to breed sons who looked like that and we all know that Elizabeth I had a long nose and red hair so how JRM and Natalie Dormer could possibly produce an Elizabeth I requires a major suspension of disbelief in the observable realities of genetics.

      Natalie’s acting was acceptable in the context of pure entertainment as was that of most of the major characters though the actor who played Thomas More had that annoying slightly self-conscious manner that I normally associate with David Wenham – but then it would be hard to follow Paul Scofield as Thomas More. As for the minor parts – Mary’s guardian (in the scene where Mary is sent away) spoke her ridiculously modern lines of reassurance to Catherine like a true soap actor.

      I confess to having the intention to watch the rest – it is great escapism.

  98. As a student of history I really cant watch it. I wanted to like it because lets face it who doesn’t love a good historical drama, and it was so exciting to see one that wasn’t Regency Austen-esque, Victorian,or gods forbid either World War or the inter war period. The problem is I just cant get past the innaccuarracies and sheer stereotyping, Anne Bolyen nothing but a gold digger and it just got worse from there, add to that the insult of badly researched costume, (costume being another research area of mine) well it was a huge dissapppointment and worse this is now the benchmark for historical drama, hah! the bbc productions of the seventies were better than this and despite their dated-ness and their own share of accuracy issues (Anne’s sixth finger) they are still infinitley more watchable, and this from someone who wasn’t born until the eighties.

  99. When Wolsey killed himself. Not accurate according to my readings. He died of illness in his late 50’s when he was recalled to Henry’s court from his Arch Bishopric in York. He makes his grey hair comment. The comment was accurate, cool.

    However, I liked this–having him die of stress related illnesses on his way back is kind of boring. Not to mention, they way they did it, suggests Henry wanted him to live, but the vainglorious Wolsey took his own life (before Henry could really deliberate), rather than be subject to Norfolk and Boleyn’s scrutiny and legal proceedings. Henry also makes
    a comment to Cromwell after the suicide and Henry commands him that nobody finds out. Hence, giving a reason for the revision and providing a mysterious potential for factual basis.

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