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Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant [DVD] 
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Starkey takes us through the life of Henry VIII from boyhood to death, charting the way his personality changed from being a gracious, fun-loving prince to becoming one of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Wilkinson65
Detailed and informative account. Very enjoyable viewing for the fan of Tudor historyPublished 1 month ago by CF
Very informative, giving new insights on a well known story.Published 4 months ago by Sarah Annette Nixon
David Starkey tends to give his opinion, right or wrong, very interesting viewing!Published 4 months ago by linda smith
It's a good Very interesting history would like more of the same thing And will look out for more DVDs On this subjectPublished 7 months ago by charles Doherty