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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2017
This epic series spanning 38 episodes tells the well-known story of Henry VIII and his six wives. Although not always 100% historically accurate, the artistic license used is understandable as different interpretations of history are possible after 400 years.

The series is overflowing with plots and counter plots – all of the characters are in danger at one time or another. Inside Henry VIII’s court, illicit romantic liaisons dominate proceedings. Men and women risk their reputations and even their lives to indulge in passionate affairs and relationships.

The battle of religions is a constant theme – Henry VIII moving away from Catholic Rome towards his own self-created and ever-changing version of the Protestant faith. Many ingenious ways are found to torture and kill both guilty and innocent people, including burning at the stake, hanging, beheading and the most gruesome of all – being hung, drawn and quartered. The execution scenes of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard are emotive and dramatic.

Outside the court, events focus on the recurring European battles and political strategizing against France, Spain and Portugal. Words can never be trusted, and invasion always seems likely. Closer to home, Henry VIII attacks northern England hard with bloody and gruesome force when they keep protesting against his rule.

The biggest talking point relating to the actors is Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrayal of Henry VIII. Unlike Charles Laughton in “The Private Life Of Henry VIII” or Robert Shaw in “A Man For All Seasons”, Meyers is relatively short in height, quite slight in build, and had short dark hair and little facial hair – not the classic look for Henry VIII. Although Meyers played his part with great gusto and energy, you are left feeling that an actor who more physically resembled the real king would have been more effective. And, Meyers looks bizarrely young in the first three series, not really representing the true look of the king at that time.

All of the queens are excellent in their own different ways. Maria Doyle Kennedy convincingly portrays the loyal and dutiful Catherine of Aragon, and Natalie Dormer wonderfully captures the coquettish Anne Boleyn. The king’s favourite wife Jane Seymour is enchantingly played by the sultry Annabelle Wallis, and the luckiest queen of all – Anne of Cleves – is amusingly portrayed by Joss Stone, complete with a German accent. The nymph-like Tamzin Merchant is alluring as the ill-fated Catherine Howard. And the last queen standing is Catherine Parr, maturely played by Joely Richardson.

There are many other incredible contributions from Peter O’Toole as Pope Paul III complete with a Latin speech that he had memorized, Sam Neill brilliantly plays the troubled and doomed Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, and Henry Cavill is appealing as Charles Brandon. Also, Jeremy Northam wonderfully captures the quiet pious Thomas More, and James Frain is menacing as the self-centred and at times evil Thomas Cromwell.

The set decoration is fantastic – incredibly atmospheric images of Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle and Hever Castle. The interiors are set in natural light from windows or from flickering candle light. Many of the tense and gruesome scenes are filmed in very low light which adds to their scariness and reality. The costumes are wonderful throughout – very detailed with a range of colours and fabrics appropriate to the Tudor times.

The series overflows with extras, including intriguing interviews with actors, writer, director and analysis and commentary from historians. In addition, the tour of Hampton Court Palace is well worth watching.

Overall, “The Tudors” is a fantastic series – full of twisting meandering plots, and filled with illicit romance and political strategizing. The only question mark is whether Jonathan Rhys Meyers was the right man for Henry VIII. On balance, he probably was not. Will The Real Henry VIII Please Stand Up?
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Always this was intended as a soap opera set in the past, certain historical aspects adjusted to suit requirements. With that in mind, welcome here an entertaining series full of sex and gore. Vividly depicted is Henry VIII's relationship with his six wives, and reasons for the break with Rome - a form of Catholicism to continue in England but with the monarch at its head.

Much money has been spent on the thirty eight episodes, visually the series always impressive.

For Jonathan Rhys Meyers here is a tour de force, his fans no doubt delighted by so much of his finely honed flesh on display in the first three seasons. For others, his portrayal of the traditionally burly king may represent a barrier to full enjoyment. Here is an actor so easy to imagine as Richard II, Richard III, Henry V, but some may feel with him as Henry VIII only the ulcerated left leg carries conviction. A few may wish he and Henry Cavill had simply switched roles to give the series greater credibility.

That reservation aside, here is a saga to enjoy very much, with many performances to applaud. Presented most vividly are times when top priority was a monarch's need for a male heir to the throne. Henry's craving for one changed the course of history, drastic steps needed. (The squeamish may wish to avert eyes during the execution scenes.)

Twelve discs, the final one for each season with interesting bonuses. They include historian Lucy Worsley's conducted tour round Hampton Court Palace, Peter O'Toole on playing a Pope (speeches in Latin proving a real challenge).

Inevitably there will be comparison with other dramas set in this period. It is best to accept each one for what it sets out to be. This presentation may include aspects to mock, but also contains much that greatly satisfies.
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on 16 February 2017
What do we know about Henry VIII?
- He liked women
- He was uncommonly tall
- He had red hair and a red beard
- He was morbidly obese in his later years
Well, one out of four isn’t bad. This is very much Tudor History for the Americans, and to be honest why not? There’s enough worthy tellings of the Tudor tale out there, so why shouldn’t there be a fun version? This Henry VIII has dark hair, a dark beard, he's average height and rather svelte. To be fair to The Tudors, it has a great cast in Jonathan Rhys Myers, supported by Maria Doyle Kennedy, Natalie Dormer, Joely Richardson and Henry Cavill to name but a few, they all make it worth watching and it’s all done on a grand scale. Be warned though, there are an awful lot of sex scenes so bear that in mind if watching it with younger relatives. My particular favourite moment was watching Henry VIII plucking out the chords to Green Sleeves on his lute, especially as it’s no longer believed he wrote it, but it was a great moment. Definitely worth watching!
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on 9 December 2016
Just received today and I'm a little disappointed with the layout of this boxset (what happend to the old one) , doesn't include episode booklet like the other one I own and the discs slide into a cardboard slip (witch makes it very easy to scratch) and doesn't contain the bonus disc , I love the Tudors as a series ( although it's not historically accurate it's still brilliant to watch) this edition boxset is a let down , but the series is fantastic . I will be purchasing dvd sleeves so the DVDs don't get scratched .
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on 4 April 2017
FANTASTIC, I watched the series when it first came out and have the series DVD set, but wanted this one perfect picture, box also had a little surprise in the form of an extras Disc with extras that were not on any series disc extremely happy, can not fault the product at all
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2013
My husband and I have just over a few weeks watched this box set and we loved it. It is true Drama is used at the expense of history and quite frankly there is far too many sex scenes but nevertheless it is an excellent production. Casting is very good. I did have a little problem accepting Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry because he is quite different to the Henry of my imagination. However this was soon dispelled as his excellent acting drew me to him. I hated him, loved him and even,when he showed vulnerability, felt sorry for him. All the famous historical characters were there although not always with the personalities I had built up for them.The torture was unbearable to watch and I often closed my eyes or ran from the room. The storyline is of course well known.This did not prevent me being drawn into the story and living it with them. I loved the series and enjoyed the little extra bits at the end of discs too. I have not yet watched the bonus disc but look forward to it
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on 11 September 2017
This is a comprehensive account of King Henry Eighth's reign, and although acted well throughout, it's for those who are interested in history told at length with minimal omission. Costumes and sets are all good and give an authentic look. A complete look at this controversial ruler who caused such fundamental changes and upheaval to the realm of England.
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on 16 March 2017
Fantastic series. I couldn't stop watching it. Took me 2 weeks of watching it nearly every eve to finish the whole set. Plus Jonathan rhys-Meyers is easy on the eye.
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on 11 June 2017
Excellent product
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on 26 August 2016
A brilliant series, its always difficult to cover a true story which portrays the times and subject in an accurate way. The costumes were sumptuous, and the setting amazing. Very good viewing.
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