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Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant [DVD] [2009]

4.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant [DVD] [2009]
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  • David Starkey: The David Starkey Collection [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: David Starkey
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: 2 Entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 4 May 2009
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001UHNYV4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,931 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Historian and broadcaster, Dr David Starkey, follows his acclaimed series Monarchy with this gripping portrait of England’s best-known king.

In 1509, Henry VIII’s accession to the throne was greeted with wild rejoicing. Tall, athletic and handsome, he filled the nation with hope. Yet, by his death 38 years later, Henry VIII had earned the reputation of a tyrannical and ruthless monarch.

Dr David Starkey reveals how this glamorous prince became the nation’s most notorious tyrant. From the young man who became heir to the throne at the sudden death of his brother to his establishment of the Church of England and the bellicose quest to become a major player in Europe.

The series reveals the truth of the King’s relationships: the beautiful Anne Boleyn; the machiavellian Cardinal Wolsey; Thomas More, the lifelong friend he beheaded and, of course, the bloody cycle of marriage, divorce and execution. It tells of a ruthless King, infatuated with power, who released an orgy of iconoclasm and sadistic revenge on those who rebelled against him.

This compelling series brings this fascinating monarch to vivid life, shows how he influence our very sense of identity and nationhood and tells one of the strangest and most dramatic stories in history.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

David Starkey weighs in again with a captivating, dazzling account of the great monster. It is, I think, Starkey's best work, timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession in 1509.

The great irony is that Starkey once espoused a republican line (in a television studio debate on the future of the British monarchy shortly after Princess Diana's demise). He subsequently made monarchy his life's work, and appears both magnetized and repelled by it.

It's a masterpiece of modern historical docudrama, managing to retain freshness despite the (over)familiarity of the topic. How DOES the Puckish historian do it?

First, brilliant visual use is made of primary sources. With exquisite calligraphy (Secretary Hand with some Chancery Cursive thrown in, unless I'm much mistaken) flowing across the screen, and actors peering with amused, sardonic, or agonised faces into camera, the words of such contemporary eyewitnesses as George Cavendish (Wolsey's servant) and Eustace Chapuys (devoted supporter of Katherine of Aragon) come alive. Of course it's WORDS that are important, so that calligraphy is a visual imperative.

Second, there is the charisma of Starkey himself. He's everywhere! In libraries and archives, and of course in all the prestige locations - sometimes only to deliver a sentence or two. E.g., Avignon, Westminster Hall, St Peter's Rome, etc. etc. Gosh! Gives the European perspective to the Henry VIII story and puts us, the audience, in the locales. And Starkey's unique accent, as he struggles to square his conflicting attitudes about the monarchy - or trying to contain loathing for Henry? - makes for some strange articulations: "EU-ropp" "LODG-ik.
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A truly remarkable presentation of a fascinating period of English history. David Starkey's commentary is beautifully composed and presented and the historical facts are researched and accurate historical facts and not the latest in "politically correct" updates. Full credit, too, to the camera script, the shots being right up to the mark. One comment to Dr Starkey: Why leave out any reference to Katherine Parr, Henry's last, and surviving spouse? She was a remarkable women (as well as being my second cousin 13 generations removed!)who probably understood and controlled Henry better than all the others put together! At least she survived............... Nevertheless, a must-buy recommendation is rightfully and fully deserved.
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I bought this DVD a couple of years ago when studying the reign of Henry at A level, and found it simply brilliant. It is filled with key facts and details, some of which weren't in my textbooks. As well as being vastly useful to my course (and a much better way of revising than reading through notes!) it was also interesting and entertaining, and I've watched it for my own pleasure several times even after the end of my exam. A documentary that looks behind the infamous tyrant and shows the kindness and humanity that also resided there, this DVD is a must for any who love the Tudor reign!
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You'd think that after all he has already said on the subject, David Starkey might not have anything new to discuss about Henry VIII. But this series disproves that theory straight away. Starkey re-examines primary source material to peel back the layers of Henry's character. He goes far beyond examing the 'what when where and who' of the history, and instead delves deep into the 'how' and most importantly 'why'. It's excellent television: educational and entertaining.

Henry may well be England's most famous king; famous for all the wrong reasons (demolishing the RC church, beheading wives, oppressing his subjects and eating way too many pies). Yet he was lauded like a returning King Arthur when he came to the throne (doubly ironic given that his dead elder brother was actually named Arthur!). Starkey does a brilliant job of explaining how a great shining light became known as a Tudor-era Stalin.

The series is made up of four episodes. The first looks at Henry's childhood and how his upbringing may have influenced his later life. The second reveals a happy period in his life during his first marriage, when he was an active young man with an appetite for foreign adventure. But in the third installment it all goes awry, his love for Anne Boleyn soon sours, and in the final part Starkey details the horror of the last years of Henry's reign when he oppressed and attacked his own subjects.

As well as explaining much about Henry's private life, this series also reveals an awful lot about English history and the direction this country has taken in the past 500 years. The UK's split from Europe, the development of the British navy, the evolution of the Church of England, the establishment of cabinet government -- all are remnants of Henry's reign.
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This series about Great Harry is absolutely brilliant.Starkey succeeds in telling this interesting piece of English history.He visits famous Tudor places as Hever castle and Windsor,where it all ends in 1547.Absolutely a must have,no doubt.I agree with others that the 4rd and fifth Queens are a bit rushed trough.And Catherine Parr is not mentioned at all.Yes in Holland we also DO KNOW something about English history.Starkey makes one mistake which I saw immediately:Cromwell was executed on July 28 1540 in stead of July 20!
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