Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

“The Last Days of Anne Boleyn” on BBC 2


“The Last Days of Anne Boleyn” debuted on BBC 2 last night (23 May 2013), and although it doesn’t seem to be linked out there in cyberspace, I hope you are able to catch it on a re-air.  My VERY brief thoughts, so as not to ruin your viewing experience …

  • Love the filming style: Reenactment with actors, cut to expert in chair set on diagonal, back to reenactment, back to expert, ad infinitum. Dramatic music throughout, except rare moment of jarring, dramatic silence…followed inevitably by loud noise to make you jump.
  • The timpani, especially, get a workout.
  • 2013 – 600 years = 1413. The Tudor Dynasty hadn’t even begun yet at that point, so what’s with this show repeatedly describing these events as having happened “about 600 years ago”?
  • Lots of slo-mo walking through archways, especially this one, which reminded me of a scene from the final Harry Potter movie.
  • I’d be interested in seeing the budget for all the candles!
  • Who did the cursive on the parchment during the first few minutes? Because I’d like for them to write out my Christmas cards.
  • The facial expressions by the actress playing Henry’s first wife make me think that she’d been told the queen’s name was actually Catherine of Arrogance.
  • David Starkey’s best quote, regarding Jane Seymour: “She is so pale that she virtually doesn’t exist.”
  • Suzannah Lipscomb’s best quote, regarding Anne’s lady-in-waiting throwing Anne under the bus: “This was pyrotechnic intelligence.” I need to find a way to work this into casual conversation.
  • Hilary Mantel’s best quote, regarding Thomas Cromwell: “He’s as clever as a bag of snakes.” #thattimewhenSNAKESwasacompliment
  • It looks to me as though the interviews with the historians and novelists are taking place in a wine cellar.
  • Cue record-scratch sound effect as Philippa Gregory suggests that Anne wasn’t above incest with her brother.  Oy.

On that note, I shall send you off on your own to watch this hour-long documentary. Enjoy!



  Teresa wrote @

I added up the years in my head more than once when they kept saying 600 years – lol

  lissabryan wrote @

Phillipa Gregory has a real hate-on for Anne Boleyn. I remember being shocked at her author’s notes in which she claimed Anne Boleyn was “clearly guilty” of at least one murder.

  Jess Townsend wrote @

Was Philippa in this? I guess I intentionally tuned her out and listened to more qualified experts. Then again, I was also ‘listening’ to at it work. Guess I need to rewatch.

  augusteverything wrote @

Was Philippa in this? I suppose I tuned her out and focused on the more credible ‘experts’. Then again, I was also ‘listening’ to this while at work so I probably need to rewatch. As always, David Starkey. Yes…

  Mer wrote @

Love it! I am glad I’m not the only one to begin computing when I heard 600 years! Definitely working “bag of snakes” into my next conversation.

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