‘The Tudors’ is good TV

Published 5:31 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

I have a fascination with history. It’s something that has been instilled in me most of my life.

My mother is a history buff and one of my favorite teachers in high school – Bill Hawkins – taught me United States History. Their love for history is something I’ve taken to.

One of my best friends from college – Glenn Davis – has a strong love for the history and culture of Great Britain. He can name the lineage of the kings and queens of England without even really giving it a lot of thought.

I think it is the convergence of those two things that peaked my interest in the Showtime Series “The Tudors.” The show, which is in its third season, looks at the life and time of King Henry VIII. It is a poignant look at the times in which the King ruled, his battle with the Catholic Church and, of course, his myriad of wives.

I didn’t know a lot of King Henry’s history. I have heard the story about all his wives and the fact that he never had the heir he wanted to succeed him on the throne, but the whos, wheres and whys of the story always escaped me.

How much the television series follows actual events, I’m not sure. I am certain they are at least based on the true story as I have seen Ann Boleyn executed, the King suffer from what is presumably gout and two chancellors executed for treason.

There have been times when I’ve loved the king, hated him and felt sorry for him as events have unfolded on the screen in front of me. I would imagine the people of England felt similar things during his rule as King Henry went back-and-forth from a man who loved his people to a ruthless tyrant.

The show itself is glitzy and glamorous though too revealing for a young audience as might be expected since it’s on Showtime. Sometimes the graphic detail is too much for me, but the overall show is something I can’t get enough of.

David Knox of TV Tonight has an excellent description of The Tudors as it debuted for its third season.

“Once again all the hallmarks of this franchise are lavishly evident on the screen: stunning costumes, elaborate settings, sumptuous locations, passionate performances and sexed-up storytelling. If medieval England was to have its very own Days of Our Lives, this would be it (one character even sports an eye patch). Power, greed, lust, envy, romance – it’s all here in spades.”

is excellent in his role as King Henry. So good is his portrayal that you feel you get a real glimpse of what it must have been like to be so young and yet thrust into being the most powerful person on the planet at that time.

Natalie Dormer was enchanting in her role as Anne Boleyn. Until the very end I still hoped somehow she wouldn’t be executed, although that was a foregone conclusion. Some of the other great cast members include Jeremy Northam as Thomas Moore, Sam Neill as Cardinal Woolsey and Callum Blue as Knivert.

From beginning until now, it is a story that I can’t wait to see the next chapter. I look forward to every episode because there is so much more I want to learn. The Tudors has been an excellent adventure for me and I think you would enjoy it too.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211.