To coincide with the airing of the drama series Wolf Hall and the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace next year, BBC Two and BBC Four have planned to show a number of factual programmes in January in order to take audiences further into the world of the Tudor court and the lives of the people at the time.
BBC Two have recreated the christening of the future Edward VI from 1537 in A Night At Hampton Court Palace with the help of Dr Lucy Worsley and Dr David Starkey.
After nearly three decades of desperation for a male heir, Henry VIII finally succeeded with the birth of his son, Prince Edward. In A Night at Hampton Court Palace, Worsley and Starkey take viewers back to the 15th October 1537 and demonstrate the ways in which the Royal Household planned such an elaborate christening of the young Prince.
Unsurprisingly, this event was the most extensively recorded event of Henry’s reign – illustrating just how important it was to the King to highlight the securing of the Tudor dynasty. The recreation of the procession portrays how 90 people were methodically involved in Edward’s christening ceremony. This was not only a great political symbol of Henry’s reign, but also a clear piece of performance and pageantry.
In a BBC Two Culture Show special, Waldemar Januszczak presents Holbein: Eye of the Tudors. This programme will look closer at Hans Holbein, the infamous court painter who has influenced to this day how we perceive the monarchs of the Tudor age – most notably Henry VIII.
After the success from her previous BBC Four Hidden Killers programmes, this time Dr Suzannah Lipscombe takes a look at the Tudor home and the everyday objects which were more threatening to the lives of the Tudors than one might first think. During a time of expanding exploration, new trade routes and exotic new products, many members of the emerging middle-class began to incorporate such new products into their homes. However, as Lipscombe soon learns, there were aspects of these new domestic objects that had hidden dangers we might not expect from the naked eye…
BBC Four will also show a programme called Mary Arden: A Tudor Life, presented by Michael Wood. Although only the daughter of a farmer, Mary’s life is far more fascinating, most notably because one of her sons was none other than William Shakespeare. Mary was born during Henry VIII’s reign, grew up under Edward VI and Mary I, and her marriage occurred during the reign of Elizabeth I. She later watched her son’s career blossom and succeed under James I. Michael Wood looks at how the politics and religious changes of the age shaped this ‘normal’ woman’s life and that of her family’s.
The Channel Editor for BBC Four, Cassian Harrison, commented on the series: “As BBC Two airs its landmark drama Wolf Hall, and with the popularity of Hilary Mantel’s novels capturing a real British appetite for this period of history, BBC Two And BBC Four are offering a complementary collection of art and history films that put the real Tudors firmly in the spotlight.”
Harrison continued: “This collection of programmes demonstrates how the two channels can work in a unique way to take viewers deeper into the world of the Tudors with BBC Two celebrating the art and culture of the Tudors whilst BBC Four takes viewers deeper into the reality of what life was like in Tudor times.”
Photo credit: BBC / Guy Levy