Tudors in the Media 2009

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A DAY ON THE SET OF ACCLAIMED TV SHOW 'THE TUDORS' 'Walking onto the Tudors set is like stepping back in time'

Donal Godfrey spent a day at Ardmore Studios in Bray during the filming of The Tudors – and he even got to meet the king himself

Wednesday December 16 2009Another JRM H8 look in S4 THINK OF any Hollywood production and you immediately think of stars, diva tantrums, and so on. But having spent a number of days on the set of the €75 million TV series 'The Tudors', I must admit that perception would be totally wrong.From the minute I arrived at Ardmore Studios in Bray recently, where The Tudors has been based for the past four years, I found everyone, from staff in the production office, to grips, electricians, camera operators and assistant directors – even the star of the series, Jonathan Rhys Myers – as helpful and courteous as could be. The series, which depicts the life and loves of King Henry VIII, and which featured actress Maria Doyle-Kennedy (who grew up in Enniscorthy) as his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, has been a huge success worldwide and in doing so has also shown the world what the Irish film industry is capable of doing. My chance to get on the set came about through Bagenalstown based artist Laurence O'Toole, who has worked on many films over the years, including such blockbusters as The Commitments, Saving Private Ryan, Michael Collins and the Count of Monte Cristo, and his girlfriend, Jen Griffin, who worked as an accountant on The Tudors. Thanks to their help I was afforded the opportunity to experience at first hand all that goes into making a hugely successful television series.
Pictured at the right: Dónal with Jonathan Rhys Meyers the set in Bray.Left: Rhys Myers as King Henry VIII.
As with any new adventure I felt like a fish out of water on arrival at the Ardmore studio but within minutes one of the assistant directors had taken me in hand – not literally – and began explaining the very basics of the business, such as who does what, where to find equipment, how a scene is put together and all the other work which the audience never sees.

I was immediately struck by the attention to detail for everything on the set. It is incredible. If you think the sets and costumes on the show are elaborate what you see on your television screen doesn't really do them justice. Walking onto the set is like stepping back in time to the court of King Henry, even down to the dust on the furniture. Walking through the wardrobe department I saw rows upon rows of costumes and over 200 baskets containing trinkets and all sorts of jewellery. Each of King Henry's wives had their own style, hence there was never a question of over-lapping of costumes, and as all his wives were going to appear in a dream scene near the end of the series, even though some of the actresses had not worked on the show for a couple of years, their costumes were kept in ...

Out on location is another matter entirely. First impressions are of the enormous amount of equipment needed. An entire fleet of trucks are first to arrive, carrying tonnes of equipment, lighting, cameras, props, temporary road, generators – you name it – not to mention the miles upon miles of cables, and all the workers needed to create whatever scene the director has in mind. Next come the actors, extras, makeup crews and assistant directors, – all arriving in a fleet of taxis – and caterers, complete with a mobile canteen – an old converted doubledecker bus. To some the attention to detail might border on the boring, but to a film buff like me it was pure entertainment. What also amazed me was the friendliness on the set among all departments.

'I see you are back to your old self again – young and sexy,' remarked one of the crew to King Henry – a reference to the fact that for several previous scenes he had worn a lot of make up to make him look old. 'Young, at least,' the actor replied. Naturally I was keen to have a photograph taken with the man, but how does one approach the star of a €75 million show? This was his last day of filming for the entire series so it was now or never. As he ducked into his tent just after shooting a segment of his 'dream' scene I managed to pluck up the courage and ask for a photo. Expecting a ' no' but hoping for a 'yes' I gestured to the camera. Just imagine my relief when he stepped forward. Quickly handing the camera to a nearby grip to do the honours, I stepped forward, not paying any attention to the fact that the sun was shining directly into our faces. But ever the actor the king quickly changed positions to allow for a better angle – and a better photo for me – checked the photo was OK, before hopping back on set to complete the scene. Anyone in the business will tell you that timing is everything and thankfully I had chosen my timing wisely because after the scene was shot someone noticed something was not quite right, which meant it had to be done all over again – leaving the king with a scowl on his face to say the least. Before I knew it the day quickly drew to a close and with it my involvement with The Tudors. All that remains now is to wait in anticipation for the time the two final episodes are shown and to see the difference between reality and make-belief.
WHO WOULD BE KING? ; Sexy Jonathan is Back As Henry VIII but Says He'D Never Give Up hisTV Role for Real Throne
ACCLAIMED FILM AND TELEVISION ACTRESS JOELY RICHARDSON CAST FOR FINAL SEASON OF SHOWTIME'S "THE TUDORS" (Press Release from SHOWTIME[Source : <a class="external" href="http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20090722showtime01" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="www.thefutoncritic.com">www.thefutoncritic.com</a>]

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 22, 2009) Noted film and television actress Joely Richardson has joined the cast of the critically acclaimed drama series, THE TUDORS for its fourth and final season. Richardson will portray Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) sixth and last wife, in five episodes of the series, which is currently filming in Dublin, Ireland. THE TUDORS is scheduled to premiere on SHOWTIME in 2010.

Best known to American audiences for her celebrated work for five seasons on the popular cable series Nip/Tuck for which she was twice-nominated for Golden Globe Awards -- Richardson is part of an English theatrical dynasty that includes her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, father, director Tony Richardson, and aunt Lynn Redgrave and sister, the late Natasha Richardson. Her film credits include The Patriot, I'll Do Anything, and most recently, in the children's fantasy film, The Last Mimzy.

Viewers and critics alike have been enthralled watching the storied exploits of the sexy, hard-bodied King Henry VIII as he weds, beds and beheads women and wives across 16th century England. Both Rhys Meyers and the series have been nominated for Golden Globe Awards, and the series has won two Emmys for its incredible costume designs and main title theme music. The new season will chronicle Henry's dark, final days, his war against France and his final wives (Catherine Howard (played by Tamzin Merchant) and Catherine Parr). The series was nominated for five Emmys this year, including Costumes, Casting and Cinematography.
Question time with Jonathan Rhys Meyers - <a class="external" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1180855/Question-time-Jonathan-Rhys-Meyers.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="MailOnline">MailOnline</a>
By <a class="external" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Gabrielle+Donnelly" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gabrielle Donnelly</a> Last updated at 1:50 AM on 16th May 2009

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Easy ride: Actor Jonathan Ryhs Meyers says he got into the industry because it was 'soft money'
Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, 31, is best known for his roles in The Tudors, in which he played Henry VIII, Bend It Like Beckham and Mission: Impossible III. He lives between London, Los Angeles and Dublin, and is currently single.Why did you want to act? Because it was soft money. What was your first acting job? A Knorr soup commercial. I was 15 years old and I got �500 for two hours work. The next thing was my first lead role in the film The Disappearance Of Finbar. I got a big cheque for hanging out on a film set and acting. I was 17. What boy is not going to say, 'I'll do this?'When did you realise that you actually liked it? When I was on the set of Michael Collins, in which I played the Irish rebel leader's assassin. It wasn't the acting, it was the atmosphere. I was on the set with the film's director, Neil Jordan, and it's leading men, Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman – and there was such a buzz about it. You've said you've never taken any acting lessonNo, and I never would. The reality is that you either have it or you don't. You can't learn it.What does it take to be a good actor?You don't have to be the best looking person; you don't even have to be the most talented, you just have to be interesting. That's what it comes down to, you're either interesting or you're not. But you also need luck.If Al Pacino was starting out in the industry today, do you think he'd be successful as he is? I don't. In the 1970s, when he made his name, he was able to play characters that allowed him to shine.
These days, you just don't get chances like that. At the same time, it's easier to become famous. Celebrity has lost its value – all you have to do is go on a reality TV show for six weeks and everybody knows your name.Did you enjoy playing Henry VIII? It was difficult because I'm never going to look like him. I told the producers that if they wanted me to put on weight, dye my hair red and put on a big beard, then they'd better get someone else. The reality is that viewers don't want to see an obese, red-haired guy on a TV series. I mean, I wouldn't like to see somebody who looked like Henry when he was older having sex.
Now, certain people such as historians have a problem with that, and that's fair enough, but nobody can tell me that how I played Henry isn't right, because I think that the way I played him is probably a hell of a lot closer to history than many people would like to admit – he was an egotistical, spoilt brat.The next instalment of the series is just as Henry is about to marry his third wife, Jane Seymour. Yes, he's marrying the perfect wife for him, and he's learned that he doesn't need an Anne Boleyn – another partner in crime to help him take over the world. He just needs a wonderful, supportive wife to take care of him when he comes home from a hard day beheading people.Jane is all of that: amiable, sophisticated, beautiful, and he's very happy with her. But then fate comes into it, and she dies in childbirth, which was Henry's fault – not because he gave her a child, but because he gave her syphilis.Like Henry, you're known for being a bit of a bad boy… Oh, I'm nothing like as naughty as people think I am. I don't hang out with movie stars, and you won't see me going to many Hollywood parties. I'm actually quite boring.What's your idea of a good time? You know what I like to do on a Sunday morning? Clean my house. I really enjoy it; it's my ritual. I require tidiness, actually. I have to have everything spotless before I can relax. It's probably a bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder in me – but it's just part of who I am. Have your good looks held you back as a character actor?I don't think people ever saw me as a character actor. I'm a pretty boy. I've never done a film where they uglied me up, unlike Jude Law, who will hunt for a role that makes him ugly because he has to get away from his matinee idol look. Do you need a certain amount of vanity to be an actor? Of course. All acting is narcissism in some way. Am I a narcissistic person? Absolutely. Am I vain? Absolutely. It's not brave to admit that, it's reality. Any actor tells you they're not vain is lying.What do you think about marriage? I think the saying that a man is only as good as the woman on his arm is true, and so, if you have a good partner, one who is supportive, smart, caring, and loving, then, yeah, you can become a much better man for it. No six wives for you, then? Good lord, no. I'm a one woman guy. I think that if you can find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, you should marry them instantly, and try to stay married. All those times Henry got married just ended up ruining his life in the end. I'd rather be happily married than be a king, any day.

Date: April 10th, 2009
Source: TV Guide
Title: The Tudors: Playing Dirty, Renaissance Style
Author: Anna Dimond

<a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/tudors/285400" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NEWS of The Tudors - The Tudors Wiki</a><a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/tudors/285400" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Tudors</a> has returned to Showtime (Sundays, 9 pm/ET) for a third season of lust, intrigue, murder and more. As the royals arrive, Henry VIII (<a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/jonathan-rhys-meyers/158629" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Jonathan Rhys Meyers</a>) makes Jane Seymour (<a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/annabelle-wallis/295147" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Annabelle Wallis</a>) his new queen, and a surprise rebellion undermines the King's efforts to sever ties to Catholicism. Thomas Cromwell (played by U.K. native <a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/james-frain/155400" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">James Frain</a>), meanwhile — Henry's closest adviser and the architect of the Reformation — is on the hot seat, and things only get worse when he brokers a new marriage for the King that goes terribly wrong. In a chat that was part history lesson and part Season 3 preview, TVGuide.com got the scoop from Frain on what it was like playing a man who incurs Henry's wrath, working with Tudors newbie <a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/joss-stone/196652" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Joss Stone</a> and how it feels to wear all that heavy royal garb... in the middle of summer.

TVGuide.com: Cromwell has a lot on his shoulders in Season 3. Where are we picking up?
James Frain: From Cromwell's point of view, the season begins with him at the height of his power. And it ends with him right at the bottom. It's kind of similar to the trajectory of Anne Boleyn's story in the last season, where she starts out as queen, and then ends up being beheaded. It's about as dramatic a fall from grace as you can imagine, to be at the apex of power, and then to be totally excluded. It all revolves around the events to do with this burning rebellion, and then the unfortunate death of Jane Seymour.

TVGuide.com: As the season unfolds, how will Cromwell's dynamic change with Henry and the others in the royal court?
Frain: Well, Henry is really mad at him, that this rebellion had happened. And when they started seizing the wealth of the monasteries — which, to Cromwell, was taking back land that he believed was owned by a colonial power ... it was devastating. I don't think even Cromwell knew how unpopular these reforms were, and how dangerous the situation was going to become.

TVGuide.com: Cromwell was the architect of the Reformation, but what's your view of him as a man? Do you have empathy for him?
Frain: Well, after three years, you start to become really attached to someone. [W]hat I can see in Cromwell is someone who deeply believed in what he was doing. So I became sympathetic to his story, and I didn't really want him to be just the bad guy. And whether that's been successful or not, I don't think we're really going to know until the end of Season 3, because [creator] Michael [Hirst] brings in other elements of the character quite late in the story.

TVGuide.com: So we'll see another side to him?
Frain: We see his son; we see more of his human side. We discover more about what motivated him. And then we watch him fall from power. So it'll be interesting to see if the audience's perspective on that character changes.

TVGuide.com: The tautness of your scenes with Henry in his inner sanctum is striking. Will we get beneath the surface of Cromwell's stoic exterior? Is he going to unravel, just a little bit?
Frain: Absolutely. It really impacted me when we were shooting the earlier seasons, just how dangerous Cromwell's position was. And how much of the time he was effectively an enemy of the state, yet working within the state, and how carefully he had to play his hand. But basically, does he lose his grip? Yeah, he does. He'll lose his s--t.

TVGuide.com: But in the meantime, he brings in Anne of Cleves, a new wife for Henry.
Frain: Yeah, [played by] Joss Stone. You might not like her, but her music's great! [Laughs] She's fantastic in this actually. She surprised everyone.

TVGuide.com: What was it like working with her?
Frain: She was a real joy. She's a very, very sweet, decent person. And she came in with enthusiasm. And excitement. And she was nervous, obviously, because it was a new challenge. But she's a very good soul. I didn't have that much to do with her, but our stories kind of intertwine, because I'm trying to hook up this marriage.

TVGuide.com: Along with The Tudors, you have a movie coming out...
Frain: Everybody's Fine, with Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore. [Mine] is a small role, Kate Beckinsale's boyfriend. It's a story with a lot of characters, because it follows De Niro's trip across America as he tries to reconcile with his family.

TVGuide.com: And you also have a guest role coming up on <a class="external" href="http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/plain-sight/293658" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">In Plain Sight</a>. What will that entail?
Frain: It's one of these stories where you think the character's one guy, and then you realize he pretends to be someone else. There's lots of deception and lies. You don't know if he's a good guy, or a bad guy. You have to watch the show to find out. I don't want to ruin the story. I've already ruined The Tudors. I've got to keep one in the bag!
Date: April 4th, 2009
Source: NYDaily Times
Title: Rhys Meyers rises again as reign man in 'The Tudors'

Author: Mark Ellwood

Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers arrives at the Showtime party for the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Los Angeles.
Steinberg/AP Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers arrives at the Showtime party for the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, 32, returns to Showtime this week in “The Tudors” as the lusty, cranky British king Henry VIII. The sex-soaked series isn’t a stretch for the Irish-born actor and model. He broke out playing an androgynous rock star in “Velvet Goldmine” and cemented his A-list status as the sociopathic gigolo-***-tennis-pro in Woody Allen’s “Match Point.” Rhys Meyers talks about ruling as Henry, rocking out in his spare time and reuniting after filming with his girlfriend, cosmetics heiress Reena Hammer, with whom he’s had an on-off relationship the last five years.
Henry VIII is notorious for getting increasingly crazy as he got older. How do you handle that as an actor?
He’s a pretty volatile character, but I play him my way. Nobody can actually really tell anybody what Henry was like, so everything’s open to interpretation. I don’t think he’s a hero and I don’t play him that way. Henry has his heart broken in season three … and that spills over into an incredible rage. I always knew season three would be difficult, because he’s got to go through a lot of pain. So I never left the character for the whole 5½ months I shot it.
You never break character?
What I do is I isolate myself while I’m shooting it. I lived in a house on my own. It’s very Spartan, I don’t have luxuries. I go to the gym, all of this almost physical meditation. That’s what it takes, because I don’t look like Henry, so I have to do more to be Henry VIII. And when I saw the first episode of season three, it was the first time I really felt I’d become the character.
You even turn the phone off?
Exactly. I don’t phone people up, don’t see people, don’t see my friends.
Your girlfriend must be very patient to tolerate your not calling for six months. How does she handle that?
You’d have to ask her. Look, I talk to her but I just don’t engage in life that much. You know, when you’re working on a TV show, especially one as stressing as “The Tudors,” you’re working for 14 or 15 hours a day. So you really don’t want to see many people after that.
It must be hard to shed a character like Henry VIII. Do you walk off set and start ordering beheadings or at least bark out orders?
I don’t snap at people very much. I don’t think you ever really shed a part, though — you just carry it a little.
How do you detox from five months of isolation in Ireland?
I usually go to a spa for about a week, a week and a half and sleep, then go on to the next thing. But after season three, I only had one day before I had to go on to “From Paris With Love” with John Travolta. I went straight into it from playing King Henry VIII to, ahem, playing an embassy worker in Paris — an American.
Speaking of accents, Joss Stone plays wife No. 4, Anne of Cleves, complete with a thick German accent. I know your three brothers are all professional musicians and you play guitar. Are you planning an album or at least a duet with Joss?
I play music for personal pleasure. I don’t want it to become a business. That takes the fun out of it. It starts becoming something different. I don’t write music, I write ­poetry. That’s something very private, though. Maybe when I’m a lot older and I won’t be so embarrassed, I’ll publish it.
You just got back from a vacation in the Caribbean. Were you reading or writing on the beach?
What I’m reading now is extraordinary. For my birthday last year, my girlfriend Reena bought me a first edition of “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy.
I read that you’re not a big swimmer.
I’m a terrible swimmer. It’s really surprising, as my mother, when she was 16 years old, won a gold medal at the European Championships. The gene skipped a generation — my brother Jamie is quite good, but I’ll just paddle.
I thought all actors were inherently athletic. You played a tennis pro in “Match Point”: Are you any good at that?
No. I was terrible at tennis then, too. But I gained an interest over the last couple of months, so I’ve been playing a lot. I’m still terrible, but I like the exertion.
Whatever it takes, you have to keep in incredible shape for your modeling as much as your acting. You’ve shot several fashion campaigns, most recently for the brand Energie.
Modeling I actually find more ­difficult than acting. You really have to have an amazing ego to be able to sort of stand there and pose for 10 hours. I think someday I’m going to get older and, you know, I look very good in photographs — so I might as well do it.

Date: April 3rd, 2009
Source: TV guide Magazine
Title: Jonathan Rhys Meyers' Favorite TV Show
Author: Ileane Rudolph

Jonathan Rhys Meyers' Favorite TV Show
Florian Schneider/Showtime

TV Guide Magazine ran into Jonathan Rhys Meyers at Showtime's party saluting The Tudors' third season, debuting April 5th. He told us that he's due to start filming the fourth and final season - King Henry VIII takes another two wives and then dies - in June.

He talked about "the incredible people" he works with on the costume drama and said "[Producer] Morgan O'Sullivan is awesome." Rhys Meyers probably would not turn down O'Sullivan's upcoming series for Showtime about King Arthur and his court, especially if you take his mock angry screaming across the room - "Apparently Morgan O'Sullivan won't have me in Camelot!" - seriously.

The actor shared that he "hates computers" and only uses it for iTunes. "I'm into world music," he said. "Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan is the greatest singer of all time."

But he admitted that he "loves television" and his favorite show is Law & Order: SVU. "Mariska Hargitay," he says, placing his hand on his heart, "is my crush." Since a large percentage of his crushes seem to end up dead on the show, we'd advise this lovely actress to stay far, far away.

Date: 2nd February 2009
Source: <a class="external" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1134222/King-size-Henry-VIIIs-armour-reveals-52in-girth--paid-terrible-price.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Daily Mail Online - UK Newspaper">Daily Mail Online - UK Newspaper</a>
Title: King size! Henry VIII's armour reveals he had a 52in girth - for which he paid a terrible price

Author: <a class="external" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Philippa+Gregory" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Philippa Gregory</a>

He was an immense figure in the history of England. Just how immense, however, has finally been revealed after a study of his body armour exposed Henry VIII's extraordinary vital statistics.

It found that by the end of his reign the 6ft 1in Tudor king had a whopping 52in waist and 53in chest - enough to make him severely obese by modern standards.
The study by the Royal Armouries coincides with a forthcoming exhibition of his supersized battle dress at the Tower of London to mark the 500th anniversary of him taking the throne. Here, Philippa Gregory reveals the heavy price he paid for being a very tubby Tudor.
He was a lithe and handsome lothario who went on to acquire a truly legendary waistline.
Until now, however, we haven't quite appreciated just how much larger than life Henry VIII really became.
But as we approach the 500th anniversary of his coronation, new research by the Royal Armouries in Leeds reveals the full scale of his gargantuan girth.

Analysing his suits of armour, many of which will be brought together in a new exhibition at the Tower of London in April, the researchers discovered that by the final years of his life, the 6ft 1in Tudor boasted a whopping 52in waist.
In other words, the one-time royal pin-up was now barely taller than he was round.

Of course, years earlier, life had started rather well for young Hal.The twentysomething Henry VIII was tall, muscle-bound and supremely fit - a talented athlete and a courageous jouster at the grand tournaments of the age.His armour from that period reveals some impressive dimensions: a 32in waist and a 39in chest.

According to the Venetian Ambassador, he was 'the handsomest potentate I ever set eyes on, with an extremely fine calf to his leg . . . and a round face so very beautiful that it would become a pretty woman'.But not even Henry, who believed himself directly favoured by God, could stay young for ever.Indeed, physically and mentally, the final 15 years of his life saw the most astonishing deterioration.
The golden Prince Hal became old, very likely mad - and monstrously fat.

By his late 40s, he measured 48 inches around the middle and soon expanded to the colossal measurements of his twilight years.Peter Armstrong, the director of the Royal Armouries, describes him simply as 'an absolute monster'.
Not that you would have known that from his portrayal by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the recent hit TV series The Tudors.

The final episode reached the mid-1530s, which meant that Henry was in his mid-40s and courting his future third wife, Jane Seymour, while still married to his second, the doomed Anne Boleyn.

But Rhys Meyers looked as slim and fresh-faced as he had at the start of the first series.In the 16th century, the life expectancy of the average man was 45.

As for Henry, the new research confirms, by this age his weight had started to balloon as he suffered increasingly from chronic constipation and his body succumbed to hideous sores and repeated infections.

Mentally, he was also beginning to show the first signs of madness.However, he probably did not have syphilis, as is often alleged. Nor is there any record of him being prescribed mercury, the highly toxic metal that was used to treat the disease.But he may have had Cushing's syndrome (a rare hormonal disorder) which could account for the obesity and the mental instability.
And there were a host of other problems, too. I would think it likely that Henry was also experiencing bouts of impotence during his marriage to Anne Boleyn; certainly, she is said to have complained of such a problem to her brother.
And while he successfully sired a son - the future Edward VI - with Jane, he never managed intercourse with wife number four, Anne of Cleves.

Not surprisingly, his next marriage - to the young and sexually active Catherine Howard - was said to have rejuvenated and exhausted him. But she was executed by him for no good reason other than malice in little over a year. By this time, the King weighed more than 20st, was enduring regular and very painful enemas and had a foul-smelling open wound on his leg that the royal physicians - based on the then accepted medical knowledge - refused to let heal, believing that illness must be allowed to flow out of the body.
Whenever it threatened to close up, the wound would be cut open, the flesh pulled apart and tied open with string and the abscess filled with gold pellets to keep the sore running.
The constant pain must have been unimaginable and certainly goes some way to explaining the legendary royal rages that characterised Henry's later years. Armed with modern medical knowledge, historians now believe this wound, which marked the onset of Henry's long decline into chronic ill health, was the result of a varicose ulcer he developed on his left thigh in his mid-30s, probably brought on by his habit of wearing tight garters on his famously handsome legs.
Alternatively, it could have been caused by a condition called chronic osteitis, a bone infection that certainly fits reports of constant ulcers opening up.
In 1536, Henry also suffered a particularly nasty fall from a horse while participating in one of the tournaments he so enjoyed. He was unconscious for about two hours - a period long and worrying enough for Anne Boleyn later to blame for the miscarriage she suffered soon afterwards. Some medical historians now believe his head injury was severe enough to cause permanent brain damage.
Certainly, from that time, Henry's furious temper and unpredictability got even worse.
He would issue orders in the morning and then countermand them in the afternoon - then plunge into an ever darker rage on discovering his instructions had already been carried out. My own research makes me believe that some sort of brain damage also goes a long way to explaining his persecution of Anne Boleyn - accusing her of adultery (not with just one man but five), witchcraft, treason and even incest, and then insisting on her execution when almost everyone, Anne included, expected her to be granted a royal pardon. Typically, at the hour of the execution of the woman he had so adored, the King was dancing with Jane Seymour. Just a few years later, in 1540, the onset of madness could also explain the savage humiliation and botched execution (carried out by a nervous teenager with a blunt axe) of Thomas Cromwell, once the King's closest adviser. Within months, Henry bitterly regretted the execution - an irrational about face that was becoming all too common. By this time, Henry was becoming a tyrant.
In writing my historical novels, I apply very strict rules of accuracy to facts when they are known. But when it comes to Henry VIII, there's just no need to invent or significantly change events to improve the story.
We are faced with this extraordinarily charismatic king who married six times, who broke with the Roman Catholic Church and then went mad, all before his death at the age of 55.
Indeed, it is the question of human mortality that makes history so interesting.
The true story of Henry VIII is a parable of the corruption of power and the frailty of the body. He got old, he became disgusting and dangerous and he grew enormously fat. But in many ways, England's most enigmatic king remains all the more interesting for his viler features.

Philippa Gregory is author of The Other Boleyn Girl (HarperCollins).* Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill opens to the public on April 3 at the Tower of London.
Date: January 14, 2009
Source: <a class="external" href="http://tv.ign.com/articles/945/945038p1.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="IGN.com">IGN.com</a>
Henry VIII Is Back for The Tudors' Third Season
Author: Matt Fowler

Rhys Meyers Talks about his upcoming marriage to Joss Stone.

Get ready for wives 3 and 4! That's right, <a class="external" href="http://tv.ign.com/objects/873/873067.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Tudors </a>
is back for <a class="external" href="http://tv.ign.com/objects/142/14249247.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Season 3</a> and this time Henry's burning through two wives, with both marriages being immensely tragic in their own way. The madness of Henry VIII, who's played by <a class="external" href="http://stars.ign.com/objects/911/911786.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Jonathan Rhys Meyers</a>, is ever-growing, but not without a bit of a pause, which comes in the form of wife number three, Jane Seymour. After the obsessive passion that Henry felt with Anne Boleyn, Henry now finds himself with a bit of a soul-confident in the role of Seymour. He's able to feel calmer and deeper emotions with her, and then with her sad end comes more madness and the marriage of power to Anne of Cleaves, who will be played by music star <a class="external" href="http://music.ign.com/objects/877/877317.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Joss Stone</a>. "A lot of the trauma that Henry has experienced in his life sort of starts to snowball into his 30s," said Rhys Meyers. "He can't trust anybody." When trying to explain the more endearing qualities of Henry back in Season 1, Rhys Meyers stated "young men have redeeming qualities and virtue. A lot of tension happened with Anne Boleyn and now he's found sort of a comfortable family life."

If you've read your history you know how Henry's marriage to Seymour ends on a solemn note, and that just leads Henry into a bit of a cataclysm. "There's the rebellion in the North and the ill-advice that he gets from Thomas Cromwell and then…more ill-advice he gets from Thomas Cromwell with the marriage to Anne of Cleaves" said Rhys Meyers and it all just serves to disconnect Henry from both his people and his own personal spirituality. Henry is trying "to show his own power," said Rhys Meyers. "He's determined to rule, but he's still the victim of his advisers." The role of Thomas Cromwell, played by James Frain, becomes more impactful this season and James himself found that he had to "end up doing a fair bit of reading." Frain had really no concept of who Cromwell was as a man since there were so many different opinions written about him. He had to talk it through with Creator/Writer Michael Hirst to try and figure out how to portray Cromwell.

There are certainly parallels that one can draw from Cromwell's influence over Henry and certain modern day leaders and their advisers. Hirst stated that it was a vastly interesting topic for a writer – "the relationship between presidents and their advisers and kings and their advisers. People start to push their own agendas. How they do it may differ of course." Cromwell's own agenda intensifies this season. "He's a man of genuine reforming zeal. He wants England to be on the side of the angels."

Joss Stone might seem like an "out of left field" choice for this show, seeing as how she's never acted before, but she actually auditioned for a different role on The Tudors last year but couldn't do it due to a touring conflict. The producers were still very high on her and brought her back for the role of Anne. When asked why she chose to start her acting career with such a complex role, Stone replied "I prefer to do that. I like to go head first and give it a go. It's good to scare yourself if it makes you work harder." Executive producer Morgan O'Sullivan did say that he was worried that Joss wouldn't be able to pick up Anne's German accent. "Same here, man," Joss laughed. Is Rhys Meyers comfortable with all the naked love scenes on The Tudors? "Very comfortable," answered Rhys Meyers. "There are worse things you could do with yourself on a rainy Tuesday morning in Dublin."

Links to Interviews:

See also:
Tudors in the Media 2008