Bloated Henry VIII transformed into a slim, young ladykiller





American television has transformed Henry VIII from the popular image of an ageing, bearded and bloated monarch into a “sexy and vital” young blade with a washboard stomach.

Henry’s clash with the Roman Catholic Church and his desperate pursuit of a male heir inspired cinematic triumphs for Charles Laughton and Richard Burton.

But The Tudors shows a very different Henry from the king immortalised in Hans Holbein’s portraits.

The 16th-century soap opera portrays him as a virile and youthful ruler with an insatiable appetite for ladies-in- waiting. He is shown defeating the French in battle between energetic bouts of sex.

The BBC has just bought the rights to the £17 million drama series, which has been described as a blood-soaked successor to The Sopranos. It has already become the most popular programme on Showtime, an American channel with a reputation for racy content.


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