For Channel Five, I have written and presented a two-part series on the love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – its rise and its terrible fall.
The first episode airs on Thursday 20 February 2014 at 8pm and it concludes a week later.
Although – or perhaps because – this is a much-studied period of history, Henry and Anne’s relationship is a fiercely debated subject. Historians are divided about why and when the couple formed and, above all, why their relationship fell apart so spectacularly and with such fatal consequences.
For this series, I travelled in the footsteps of the couple – from Hever Castle in Kent to Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire, from the Château Royal de Blois to Hampton Court Palace. Above all, I looked carefully at the surviving manuscripts and sources, the most touching of which are Henry’s love letters to Anne, and two Books of Hours owned by Anne herself. These seem to me to give an amazing insight into a 500-year-old relationship.
I have tried to present my view of Henry and Anne, as a partnership based on mutual respect and attraction, and driven apart by the most terrible of misunderstandings.
I have written more about this for BBC History Magazine: (link to follow)
The programme was chosen as a Pick of the Day or TV Highlight on 15-16 February 2014 by: Radio Times, The Sunday Telegraph (Seven), The Observer (The New Review), The Mail on Sunday (Event), The Sunday Times (Culture), The Guardian (The Guide), The Times (Saturday Review), Daily Express (Saturday Magazine), The Sun (TV Magazine), The Daily Telegraph (Review), and The Daily Mail (Weekend).
The series was made by Chris Mitchell and Bill Locke at Lion TV. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are played by Jack Hawkins and Emma Connell.