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The Tudors


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The Tudors (Movies)
The Tudors (Movies)
The Tudors (Movies)
The Tudors (Movies)
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Information about The Tudors

The Tudors is an Irish-produced historical fiction TV series created by Michael Hirst. The series is based upon the reign of English monarch Henry VIII, and is named after the Tudor dynasty.


Events in the series differ from events as they actually happened in history. Liberties are taken with character names, relationships, physical appearance and the timing of events. As creator Hirst noted, "Showtime commissioned me to write an entertainment, a soap opera, and not history... And we wanted people to watch it." He added that some changes were made for production considerations and some to avoid viewer confusion, and that "any confusion created by the changes is outweighed by the interest the series may inspire in the period and its figures."

Time is conflated in the series, giving the impression that things happened closer together than they actually did or along a different timeline. By the time of most of the events in this series, King Henry VIII was already in his mid-to-late 30s and at least a decade older than Anne Boleyn; they were not married until he was in his early 40s. In The Tudors, the two are cast younger (and seemingly closer in age) and the courtship lasts about ten episodes. Historically, Cardinal Wolsey died in Leicester en route to London to answer charges of treason, while in the series he is imprisoned and commits suicide (though the fictional Henry insists that this be covered up). Wolsey's death came in 1530 (490 years ago), three years before the death of Henry's sister; in the series, the two events are juxtaposed.

The character of Henry's sister, called "Princess Margaret" in the series, is actually a composite of his two sisters: the life events of his youngest sister, Princess Mary Tudor, coupled with the name of his eldest sister, Margaret Tudor, to avoid confusion with Henry's daughter, Mary I of England. Historically, Henry's sister Princess Mary first married the French King Louis XII. The union lasted approximately three months, until his death; Louis was succeeded by his cousin Francis I, who was married to Louis' daughter Claude of France. Mary subsequently married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. As The Tudors begins, Henry is already negotiating a peace treaty with Francis; the series' Princess Margaret thus marries a fictional Portuguese king, who lives only a few days until she smothers him in his sleep. By the time of the events of this series, the historical Brandon (who was already in his early 40s) and Princess Mary were long married with three children, and Henry's eldest sister, Margaret Tudor, was actually married to King James IV of Scotland and became the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots.

While Bessie Blount was famously one of Henry VIII's mistresses and did give Henry an illegitimate son (Henry FitzRoy), historically her son did not die as a small child, but instead at the age of 17 in 1536 (484 years ago). Blount was also not married until after the birth of FitzRoy.

The papal politics depicted in the first several episodes of the series also have no clear relation to actual events. A Pope Alexander is depicted as on his deathbed at the time of the Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting between Henry and Francis (in 1520 (500 years ago)), whereas the actual pope at that time, Leo X, died suddenly at the very end of 1521 (499 years ago), and there had not been a pope named Alexander since 1503 (517 years ago), before the beginning of Henry's reign. A Cardinal Orsini is depicted as being elected following the death of the fictional Alexander; in history, Adrian of Utrecht was elected to succeed Leo and, following his death just a year later, was succeeded by Cardinal Medici, who as Pope Clement VII would refuse to permit Henry's divorce.

Historically, William Brereton did not confess to adultery with Queen Anne and was not a Papal agent, as depicted in the series. He was in fact a wealthy magnate who had large landholdings in the Welsh Marches, where he was ruthless and unpopular, and is believed to have been accused due to Thomas Cromwell's desire to remove a festering political problem. Brereton's assassination attempt on Anne during her coronation procession was also invented by the series.


Season One of The Tudors chronicles the period of Henry VIII's reign in which his effectiveness as King is tested by international conflicts as well as political intrigue in his own court, while the pressure of fathering a male heir compels him to reject his wife Katherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn. He also has a string of affairs, and fathers a son, Henry, by Elizabeth Blount.

Season Two finds Henry as the head of the Church of England, the result of his break with the Catholic Church over its refusal to grant him a divorce from Katherine. During his battle with Rome, he secretly marries a pregnant Anne. Anne's own failure to produce a son dooms her as Henry's attention shifts toward Jane Seymour.

Season Three focuses on Henry's marriages to Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, his ruthless suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, and the beginnings of Henry's relationship with the "dangerous" Katherine Howard.

Season Four is thought[by whom?] to cover Henry's short-lived marriage to Katherine Howard, her subsequent affairs, his domestic life with Catherine Parr, and to touch on the relationship of Mary, Elizabeth and Edward with each other, in order to pave the way for any potential follow-on series.


  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Henry Cavill
  • James Frain
  • Jeremy Northam
  • Natalie Dormer (2 walls)
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy
  • Sam Neill
  • Henry Czerny
  • Callum Blue
  • Jamie Thomas King
  • Nick Dunning
  • Gabrielle Anwar
  • Slaine Kelly
  • Anita Briem
  • Annabelle Wallis
  • Blathnaid McKeown
  • Sarah Bolger
  • Hans Matheson
  • Peter O'Toole
  • Joanne King
  • Joss Stone (13 walls)
  • Emma Hamilton
  • Gavin O'Connor
  • Simon Ward
  • Alan van Sprang
  • Max von Sydow
  • Roger Ashton-Griffiths
  • Gerard McSorley
  • Mark Hildreth
  • Colm Wilkinson
  • Tamzin Merchant
  • David O'Hara
  • Joely Richardson
  • Colin O'Donoghue


The series is produced by Peace Arch Entertainment for Showtime in association with Reveille Eire (Ireland), Working Title movies (United Kingdom) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and is filmed in Ireland. The first two episodes debuted on DirecTV, Time Warner Cable OnDemand, Netflix, Verizon FiOS On Demand, Internet Movie Database and on the series' website before the official series premiere on Showtime. The Tudors' premiere on 1 Apr. 2007 (13 years ago) was the highest rated Showtime series in three years. In Apr. 2007 (13 years ago), the show was renewed for a second season, and in that month the BBC announced it had acquired exclusive United Kingdom broadcast rights for the series, which began airing there on 5 Oct. 2007 (13 years ago). Canada's CBC began broadcasting the show on 2 Oct. 2007 (13 years ago).

Season Two debuted on Showtime on 30 Mar. 2008 (12 years ago), and on BBC 2 on 1 Aug. 2008 (12 years ago). Production on Season Three began on 16 Jun. 2008 (12 years ago) in Bray, County Wicklow Ireland, and that season premiered on Showtime on 5 Apr. 2009 (11 years ago).

Season Three debuted in the U.S. on Showtime in Apr. 2009 (11 years ago) and is scheduled to debut in Canada on CBC on Sept. 30, 2009 (11 years ago). The day after broadcast, downloadable episodes debut in Canada on MoboVivo.

Showtime announced on 13 Apr. 2009 (11 years ago) that it had renewed the show for a fourth and final season. The network ordered 10 episodes that are currently scheduled to air beginning in Spring 2010 (10 years ago).

International distribution rights are owned by Sony pictures (wallpaper) TV International.


The premiere of The Tudors on 1 Apr. 2007 (13 years ago) was the highest rated Showtime series debut in three years, and on 23 Mar. 2008 (12 years ago) The New York Times called The Tudors a "steamy period drama... which critics could take or leave but many viewers are eating up." A 28 Mar. 2008 (12 years ago) review also by the Times said that the series "fails to live up to the great long-form dramas cable TV has produced" largely because "it radically reduces the era's thematic conflicts to simplistic struggles over personal and erotic power." Overall, the show has had generally good reviews with 64% favourable reviews for the first season, 68% for the second season and 72% for the season three according to the ratings site Metacritic.

Awards received

The Tudors was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Drama Series in 2007 (13 years ago). Jonathan Rhys Meyers was also nominated for the Best Actor in a TV Drama Golden Globe for his role.

The series was nominated for eight Irish movie and TV Awards in 2008 (12 years ago) and won seven, including Best Drama Series, acting awards for Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Lead Actor), Nick Dunning (Supporting Actor) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (Supporting Actress), and craft awards for Costume Design, Production Design and Hair/Makeup. Brian Kirk was also nominated for Directing, but lost to Lenny Abrahamson of Prosperity. The series won the 2008 (12 years ago) Emmy Award for Best Costume Design, and later six awards at the Irish movie and TV Awards in 2009 (11 years ago).


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