The Tudors (2007)

The Tudors is a historical fiction television series filmed in Ireland, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable television channel Showtime. The series, named after the Tudor dynasty, is loosely based upon the reign of King Henry VIII of England.


Season One 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, in favour of Anne Boleyn. He also has a string of affairs and fathers an illegitimate son with his mistress, Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount. The son, Henry FitzRoy, later dies.

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, who later gives birth to his second daughter Elizabeth I. 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, the birth of his son Edward VI, his ruthless suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, and the beginnings of Henry’s relationship with the free-spirited Katherine Howard. Henry reconciles with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

Season Four focuses on Henry’s ill-fated marriage to Katherine Howard and his final, more congenial, marriage to Katherine Parr. The ageing king seeks military glory by capturing Boulogne, France. In his final hours, he is troubled by the ghosts of his dead wives.

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