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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2013
I feel that this series has been unfairly criticised. It was never marketed as a documentary, and doesn't claim to tell the factual story. One should enjoy it for what it is- a drama. And as far as drama based on history goes, it is actually quite a good one. Yes, elements of the plot are not factually correct, but then we should also remember that they are possibly not factually incorrect either, as with the series set in the 1400s it is impossible to know the whole concrete truth. Many aspects included in the books and series are things that may have been true. For example, while some dismiss the witchcraft storyline as ridiculous, it is fact that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother were accused of being witches. While it may not have been true that they practised 'witchcraft', I actually find it interesting that the series portrays the allegations as true.

The White queen is based on the 'cousins war' series by Philippa Gregory focusing on three woman caught up in the 'Wars of the Roses'. These women are Elizabeth Woodville the wife of King Edward IV, Margeret Beaufort the mother of Henry Tudor (who we know as Henry VII), and Anne Neville the wife of Richard III. Gregory's novels bring to light the lives of these women who were key players in the Wars of the Roses, although their war 'would not be won on the battlefield.'

The series begins with Edward IV meeting Elizabeth Woodville, and ends with Henry Tudor's victory at the Battle of Bosworth. This covers the power struggle between the house of York and house of Lancaster, as well as the mystery of the Princes in the tower, all this intertwined with the stories of relationships. Amanda Hale (Margeret Beaufort) and James Frain (Lord Warwick)stand out for me as the stars acting wise.

Yes the series can be criticised, for example some scenes looked obviously low budget, and it also seems 'unfair' for want of a better word that the UK gets the edited version unlike the USA. The DVD itself does not have subtitles which would be a massive bummer for some (I can't understand how and why a BBC series in 2013 does not have this....) and it would have been good if there were more bonus features. Nevertheless I enjoyed the series and it is ideal sunday night television. This is a must for historical fiction fans, or if you are interested in history in general and want to see what this is all about. It has encouraged people to research more about the period which can only be a good thing. I wish there were more programmes on tv like this.
55 comments| 133 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This 2013 costume drama uses the Wars of the Roses as it’s historical backdrop. The series actually focuses on three female characters with the first episode setting the overall scene. The year is 1464 and having been widowed and lost access to her Lancastrian husband's property Elizabeth Woodville is encouraged by her mother Jacquetta to make herself available to the younger Yorkist, Edward IV, but the path of love is not a smooth one.
Any historical drama covering such a long and complex period is bound to cause controversy. Like most costume dramas, it is foremost a drama, made to entertain, rather than educate. To get the most from this you need to go into it expecting a love story with an historical backdrop that [like La Reine Margot] takes ‘the what might have been’ and ‘rumours of the day’ and fashions them into a credible story. Thus accusations of witchcraft become accepted as the reality from the start, although the open talk of rebellion and witchery do rattle somewhat. These were handled far better in ‘By the Sword Divided’ and the story is less engrossing than ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ or ‘The Tudors’.
All 10 episodes are presented in this 4 disc set, which is held in an extra thick DVD case which inserts into a stout card sleeve. The first 3 of the four discs opens to trailers before the main menu offering play, scene selection and set up [2.0 default or 5.1, ] The volume is loud but 5.1 is a lot louder compared to most DVDs so beware. Disc 4 holds the final episode and bonus materials [making of, costumes and conversation with author].
In terms of its £25 million budget this was a viewer flop and its easy to see why, the story races along at a gallop and skips over the history like a ballet dancer on thin ice with little indication of the passage of time while the first disc plays like a costume soap before it gains from the intrigues. Although the ‘story’ follows an historical background, the detail is pure romantic fiction mixed with superstitious ‘mystical’ romanticism while the dialogue and interpretations are very modern in outlook and historical fact altered to suit the plot. Women will see it as empowering, after-all, it does focus on the interplay of the three central female characters trying to become Queen, while men will see it as a romance with weak male characterisation, with little action other than the bedroom. If you think the concept of ‘King Arthur’ but with a realistic late 1400s setting, then that’s essentially what this is, swapping Merlin for a minor witch –Jacquetta!
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on 7 September 2013
This series is a decent historical drama, a sort of prequel to the Tudors, with less violence.

It covers a long period in the lives of the main characters, but the producers have chosen not to indicate the passing of the time in any way, which leads to some confusion (of two women aged twenty something, which one is supposed to be the lady mother?) and, I can only assume unintended, humour (two agile radiant youths lying in bed telling each other 'we are not young anymore'). Therefore it is sometimes difficult to see how much time is supposed to have passed.

Many have commented on too much magic present in the series - Elizabeth's mother has been tried for witchcraft and the contemporaries believed Elizabeth herself to be a witch too. I don't think the magic is bad - we see things happening, like storms, after some curses have been cast, but it is up to us to believe that the curses may actually have caused the storms. There is a nice parallalel to Elizabeth's magic in Margaret's religious devotion, she too is very involved with higher powers, always on the lookout for signs and miracles. And she too interprets the events as being divinely directed.

The dvd itself - a disaster. There are no subtitles - as if this was a 40 year old production only recently restored and nobody bothered with subtitling it. There is almost nothing to choose in the menus: there is no scene selection! You may just select an episode. And, as an extra bonus, of the four dvds, three force you to watch commercials (yes, and no way can you choose the menu directly!), which I find the cheapest trick, since this is no bonus dvd delivered with a morning paper for and extra pound, this is a relatively expensive, brand new box-set.
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This was something my wife watched; it was a “woman’s” TV series based on a “woman’s” novel, or rather, sequence of novel. However, as a consequence of watching/taking an interest in Shakespeare’s History Plays, I decided to watch “The White Queen” on YouTube. Unfortunately, just when I had got as far as episode 8 (of 10), it was “pulled” and I had to order the box-set from Amazon, at, I may add, a very reasonable price!

Actually, I have no regrets; the series grew on me as it progressed and my wife is in the process of watching it again!

It is a fascinating story, to be sure, and while I cannot vouch for its 100% historical veracity, there is no denying that the three women who take centre stage were very remarkable ladies indeed and their story will have you hooked.

She received a lot of critical praise, but personally, I find Rebecca Ferguson in the title role a little glacial; the other two leading ladies, Amanda Hale as Margaret Beaufort and Faye Marsay as Anne Neville, are, however, little short of breath-taking.

It is, all in all, a very classy production and some of our finest actors (Janet McTeer, James Frain, Rupert Graves, Michael Maloney and Juliet Aubrey among them) shine in supporting roles, as does Aneurin Barnard as a handsome, not especially evil or deformed Richard III, a million miles away from Shakespeare’s creation.

This is not just a worthy historical adaptation, nor is just a “woman’s” programme, as I initially thought. It might occasionally fall somewhere in between these two stools, but it is a fine piece of television in its own right.
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on 4 November 2013
When I watched this on the TV (with subtitles) I loved it, and was so excited to get for my birthday. Imagine how gutted I was when I put it on and discovered there was no subtitles for the deaf and HOH. How can a dvd in this day and age not have subtitles? Sadly, I have to stick to the books, even though this is one adaptation I really enjoyed! Really disappointed
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on 23 July 2013
We are on episode 6 here next week, I am thoroughly enjoying this tv series. Although I am not from the UK, I have great interest in reading about English history. I have read a few factual history books so I know this series doesn't follow the history exactly to the letter but I believe this story works for a tv series and is adapted very well considering three books are combined to make a ten part tv series. I believe that the actors are all perfect in their roles and I don't agree with other reviewers comments about wooden acting etc. Also I see negative comments about sets being too clean, too nice etc again I don't agree. I think the setting is fabulous and I believe they shot The White Queen in Bruges. I am not a nit picker I am enjoying it for exactly what it is, history fluffed up a bit for tv. If it gets more people interested in history, I'm all for it. Watch it, make your own mind up. Personally. I am loving it.
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on 26 June 2014
I got this DVD for Xmas and have only just got round to watching it. I am so ANGRY that there are no subtitles!!! I am deaf and was looking forward to this very much, as I know that when this was shown on TV, it HAD subtitles!! I feel conned....
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on 26 December 2015
I saw this version in the Danish television, and enjoyed it very much. I bought the BBC version only to find that it was different, so I decided that I wanted both. It is most interesting to see these events described from the point of view of women'.This is so rare. Women' are always almost described as either too good or too bad, especially in historical films and adventure films. This is of course tempting dramatically, but it is tiresome, too. So thanks you Philippa Gregory, for attempting to set the record straight.
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on 5 September 2013
This is a great series. Unfortunately, with no english subtitles or closed captioning it was very difficult for me to follow as I'm hearing impaired. Too bad and shame on the dvd producers who should know better.....
Jan C MacLennan-Kennedy
22 comments| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 August 2013
While I like some of the White Queen other parts are disappointing. The marriage between Anne Neville and Richard o Richard f Gloucester was a love match according to Sharon Penman in her well researched and readable story of the House of York "The Sunne in Splendour". In the White Queen Gregory suggests that Richard was planning on marrying his niece Elizabeth. Again that isn;t the case. In the first instance after the children of Edward the Fourth were declared illegitimate Richard would hardly do this as it would make nonsense of his claim. Elizabeth was alleged to be in love with her uncle but Richard was negotiating to Marry Princess Joanna of Portugal after Anne's death. Richard has had enough bad press without being accused of other unsubstantiated crimes. Anne was 3 months short of her 29th birthday when she died. She had been married to Richard for 13 years. The White Queen would still have been great tv drama if the real facts had been included.
33 comments| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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