The Tudors deserve more than sex with a bit of ruff

Call it the Andrew Davies effect. The malignant magic of Britain's greatest script-doctor and sexer-upper now seems to have infected the entire historical canon. As the release of The Other Boleyn Girl so painfully testifies, the Davies doctrine that sex conquers all has passed from the flirtatious milieu of Jane Austen's assembly rooms to the power politics of the Tudor court.

When Philippa Gregory's novel was first adapted for BBC television in 2003, the author recalls how Davies was 'brought in to do a bit of polishing'. His immediate response to the script, according to Gregory, was that 'it needs more sex'. This about a book that already had Henry VIII bedding two sisters.

In the wake of BBC2's The Tudors series, which entailed Jonathan Rhys Meyers's Henry VIII shagging his way through England's 16th-century sisterhood, we are left with the Hollywood version of pouting Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn and coy Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn in a battle royal for the king's loins. All enjoyable enough, but the Tudors deserve better. Where once this dynasty provided a vehicle for exploring England's grandest themes, today all we are left with are willowy tracking shots through stately rose gardens and bouncy, bouncy in the regal bedchamber.

(Source: The Guardian UK)


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