On 19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed on charges of adultery, incest and conspiring King Henry VIII’s death. But what happened in those last days before her death? Why did Anne, and the five men accused with her, have to die? This in-depth drama-documentary on BBC TWO explores the continuing controversy among historians. Rather wonderfully, rather than giving a single linear account, it recreates the historical debate that rages on. It makes for history at its most contentious and exciting.
It features seven historians and historical novelists: Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, Dr David Starkey, Hilary Mantel, Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Prof. George Bernard, and Prof. Greg Walker.
For anyone interested in Tudor history and in the extraordinary character of Anne Boleyn, this is unmissable.
It aired on 23 May 2013 at 9pm on BBC TWO. Its repeat in January 2015 attracted 1.75 million viewers, and it was long listed for the Grierson Historical Documentary of the Year 2014.
And if you want to know more, in progressively greater depth, do consult the following:
- Suzannah wrote a blog post for the BBC which you can read and comment on here
- You can read more in Suzannah article about the disputed theories concerning Anne’s death in the April 2013 edition of BBC History Magazine
- In Henry VIII and the Court: Art, Politics and Performance, edited by Suzannah Lipscomb and Thomas Betteridge, Suzannah wrote a more academic article on this called ‘The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Crisis of Gender Relations?’
- And if you’re really keen, Suzannah has also written a book on the year of Anne’s death that examines the matter forensically: 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII
Made by Oxford Film and Television.