Pulling few punches and garnering its fair share of headlines as a result, The Tudors is a controversial, yet compelling period piece, that dramatically tells the story of the early years of King Henry VIII. Not for nothing, though, has it attracted its fair share of awards attention. For The Tudors is a complex drama, and not one to simplify its storylines. The young Henry, for instance, is exploring his muddled romances and his insecurities, against the challenges his kingdom is facing. It’s a plate-full for him to deal with, and in the hands of a superb performance from Jonathan Rhys Meyers--a real revelation in the role--as the young Henry, it’s all vividly and skillfully knitted together.
But The Tudors isn’t just about its central character, for there’s a terrific supporting cast at work too. Sam Neill’s Cardinal Wolsey, Jeremy Northam’s Thomas More and Natalie Dormer’s Ann Boleyn are just some who earn plaudits here. Behind the camera there’s the pen of Elizabeth writer Michael Hirst at work, and he too deserves much credit, clearly getting his teeth into the fascinating subject matter.
The Tudors is, undoubtedly, a graphic production, and earns its 15 certificate comfortably. It’s also been knocked for the liberties it takes with its history when putting its story across, with some justification. But it’s also most certainly terrific television, mixing in high production values with strong performances. In short, the ten episodes here will simply have you thirsting for the next series. Not before you’ve re-watched Season One a few times, though... --Jon Foster
The Tudors: Season 2 begins with all the passion, violence and dark intrigue of the award-winning first series. King Henry (the dashing Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has appointed himself head of the Church of England. Meanwhile, upon the insistence of Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), Henry breaks all contacts with Katherine and the noble Queen is banished from her court. Furthermore, a cook is blackmailed into poisoning a high-ranking bishop--then boiled alive for his crime. The Reformation has begun.