BBC period show, The Tudors, is 'historically inaccurate', leading historian says

Historians in the News

The BBC period drama set during the reign of Henry VIII, The Tudors, is historically inaccurate despite it being in its third series, one of the country's leading historians, Tracy Borman, says.

Despite the inaccuracies, the show, starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyer as Henry VIII, had successfully recreated the drama and atmosphere of his court, said Dr Borman, the head of interpretation for Historic Royal Palaces.

Dr Borman, also the Heritage Education Trust chief executive, praised the show for having "undoubtedly stimulated interest in British history".

The Tudors, screened on BBC Two, has been heavily criticised by some historians for distorting history for dramatic effect.

Some have criticised the North American production, from US cable network, Showtime, that sold the rights to the BBC, in which characters in the time of Henry VIII wore costumes from the later Elizabethan era and travelled in Victorian carriages.

Dr Borman, who has studied the Tudors for "years", admitted to the Radio Times that it was historically inaccurate.

"I was determined to loathe the series, with its unfeasibly beautiful actors, dodgy costumes and improbable storylines, but found myself becoming strangely addicted," she said.

"I grew to appreciate The Tudors for its merits as a historical drama.

"Yes, the scriptwriters may have taken liberties with the facts, but they have also succeeded in re-creating the drama and atmosphere of Henry VIII's court, with its intrigues, scandals and betrayals."

One of the most vocal critics of the show has been historian David Starkey, who has described it as "gratuitously awful'' and riddled with errors and inaccuracies.

Dr Starkey, a specialist in the Tudor period, said previously that it was a disgrace the BBC had "squandered" public money on a historical drama which he claimed had been deliberately "dubbed down'' to appeal to an American audience.
Read entire article at Telegraph (UK)

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