Happy Birthday, Henry VIII: Revisiting Damian Lewis in Wolf Hall

“Henry VIII is a monster, but he’s our monster. No other nation has a king who had six wives and cut the heads off two. We’re perversely proud of Henry.” – Hilary Mantel

source: BBC
source: BBC

Welcome to year 1535! In the most delightful deleted scene in Wolf Hall,  King Henry declares his age to the women in Thomas Cromwell’s household: “45 in June…”

Well, Henry is 527 years old today and popular as ever — to quote Damian Lewis:

“Henry, as a brand, is right up there with Coca Cola!”

I don’t think anyone can deny the recent contributions of Hilary Mantel’s brilliant work Wolf Hall & Bring up the Bodies — the books, the play and the TV drama to Henry’s as well as Tudors’ popularity in general! We just hope the author finishes The Mirror and The Light, the third and final installment of her Thomas Cromwell series, as soon as possible and we have our Henry back on screen in a few years!

And now, in celebration of King Henry’s birthday, it is my utmost pleasure to re-visit the most memorable Henry moments in Wolf Hall TV Drama.

Long Live the King! Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Henry VIII: Revisiting Damian Lewis in Wolf Hall”

The Crows are circling

Wolfhall seems an awful long time ago to me. I saw it when it aired in the UK at the beginning of the year. Therefore the run up to the Emmys provided the perfect excuse for a re-watch and I continue our countdown to the Emmys by looking specifically at the episode for which Damian has been nominated (Wolf Hall, episode five, ‘Crows’) in the best supporting actor for ‘TV Movie or Limited series’ category.

source: BBC
source: BBC

The first question to ask is why episode five? Damian’s performances across the five episodes he is in – he only appears briefly at the end of episode one – are all very solid and any one of them could easily be the one up for nomination.

Some people complained that episode one was too slow paced, but if you had the patience to stay with it you get the reward. Think of Wolfhall as a pot slowly simmering to a boil. Episode five is when Wolfhall begins to come to the boil in readiness for a finale in episode six which will sear itself into our minds. Episode five simmers and crackles. It begins to reach the point of boiling over…and that isn’t the pot lid threatening to blow off that is the King with steam coming out of his ears! Continue reading “The Crows are circling”

A Wolf Hall Junkie’s (that’s me!) FUN Wolf Hall Journey

Henry VIII is a monster, but he’s our monster. We’re perversely proud of Henry. -Hilary Mantel

source: farfarawaysite.com
source: farfarawaysite.com

Tell me… what are the odds your favorite actor plays your favorite historical monster in a mini-series based on your favorite book? I know 🙂 And, not just that, but the mini-series had its world premiere on BBC2 on January 21 — literally as my birthday gift! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I have had this amazing journey with Wolf Hall. It started on a sunny and cold Saturday afternoon in New York City at the Belasco Theater in January 2014 and is now coming full circle at Prime Time Emmy Awards on September 20 with me getting glued to TV rooting for Wolf Hall and in particular Damian Lewis for them to turn those well-deserved 8 nominations into beautiful little statuettes 🙂 Continue reading “A Wolf Hall Junkie’s (that’s me!) FUN Wolf Hall Journey”

Wolf Hall on PBS, Episode One: Three Card Trick

“Perhaps you should teach me your Three Card Trick… in case we both end up on the streets.” -Cardinal Wolsey

source: BBC
source: BBC

“Three-Card Trick” is a slow-burning episode that sets the scene for Wolf Hall. We get to meet our protagonist, Thomas Cromwell, and find out about his personal tragedy — from his humble beginnings as a violent blacksmith’s son to losing his wife and two daughters to “sweating sickness.” Cromwell starts at the bottom, escapes from home at an early age, spends time in Europe, learns trade, fights for France, and is now a pretty affluent lawyer in the service of Cardinal Wolsey, the Lord Chancellor of the King Henry VIII. Still, our Thomas is “Master” Cromwell — or  “a person” as Duke of Norfolk likes to call him — essentially, he doesn’t have a title. Continue reading “Wolf Hall on PBS, Episode One: Three Card Trick”

Wolf Hall is TIMELESS

source: farfarawaysite.com
source: farfarawaysite.com

I have constantly been writing about Wolf Hall for several weeks now — about all aspects of it that have fascinated me… And, I have kept one that TOPS it all for me until now…

That is the TIMELESSNESS of Wolf Hall.

Hilary Mantel’s writing and Peter Straughan’s wonderfully condensed script open a beautiful window to the intrigue and manipulation in the court of Henry VIII in the 16th century. Wolf Hall is such a dark, political animal that it is inevitable to chew on a little bit about its politics. Besides, both the book and the drama help us understand history through a contemporary perspective, and does it through its politics and in particular, through the contemporary conversations its characters have all the time.  Continue reading “Wolf Hall is TIMELESS”

Holbein in Wolf Hall

source: farfarawaysite.com
source: farfarawaysite.com

We earlier discussed here the authenticity of the costumes in Wolf Hall as well as how much the series costume designer Joanna Eatwell values Hans Holbein the Younger’s work in achieving this authenticity.

It turns out that Eatwell digged into the paintings of Holbein for research. From Lucy Worsley’s interview with Eatwell:

‘He’s a genius – all the information is in his paintings,’ she says.

‘He not only painted members of the court, he also painted merchants and even some of Henry’s courtiers and staff, so we have a complete cross-section which is incredibly important for a piece like this.’

Eatwell argues, in an audio interview with the BBC Academy, Holbein is a “master in his craft” and his paintings are realistic but also propaganda. The paintings make a statement about the person in the painting — she calls it the “photoshop” of the times.

Continue reading “Holbein in Wolf Hall”