Wolf Hall, the historical drama based on Thomas Cromwell’s rise in King Henry VIII’s court, leads the Bafta nominations with a total of four nominations. The series has been nominated in Best Drama, Mark Rylance, who played Cromwell has been nominated for Leading Actor, while Claire Foy’s performance as Anne Boleyn has earned her a nomination for Leading Actress. Anton Lesser, who played Sir Thomas More, received a nomination for Supporting Actor. Wolf Hall is named for the family seat of the Seymour family, of which Jane Seymour would eventually become Queen of England as King Henry VIII’s third wife and mother to his heir, Edward VI.
The BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall an Bring Up the Bodies takes places from 1500 to 1535 and is a fictionalised account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of King Henry VIII, through the death of Sir Thomas More, who was Lord High Chancellor of England but refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, for which he was convicted of treason and eventually beheaded. The rise of Cromwell coincides with the rise of Anne Boleyn and the King’s wish to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Throughout the 1520’s he attempted to have his marriage annulled and eventually he broke from Rome and the Pope, having the marriage declared null and void by Thomas Cranmer, then Archbishop of Canterbury. He married Anne Boleyn in 1533, who was already pregnant with the future Queen Elizabeth I. It was not the outcome that Henry had hoped for, as he longed for a male heir to succeed him. After a miscarriage and a stillbirth, Henry’s eyes wandered to Jane Seymour and Anne was executed on trumped up charges of incest and treason. Henry married Jane Seymour just 13 days after Anne’s execution.
The Bafta’s will be held on 8 May and Wolf Hall faces competition in Best Drama from Humans, The Last Panthers and No Offence.