Monday, 15 July 2013

Anyone With Me On The White Queen?

Edward IV and Elizabeth at Reading Abbey 1464
As a rule, I avoid TV dramas taken from historical novels as the author, and then the producers tend to mess around with the facts too much for me - The Tudors being a case in point. Maybe it's because a scene might linger in my memory and I'll take it for truth instead of an invention of the scriptwriter for dramatic purposes.

I didn't intend to watch The White Queen, mentally writing it off as another of the same, but after the first episode, I have to admit I am hooked.

Perhaps I am blogging this because there have been so many detractors on FB amongst the writing fraternity who have declared it as giving a completely incorrect view of the late fifteenth century - even down to
lambasting the use of a zipper on a dress by history purists - well don't forget the cameras filming the whole thing!

Edward IV Marries Lady Elizabeth Grey

History aside, and there is plenty of accurate history in amongst the dramatic scenes, taking the series as a fact-based drama, I think it's quite impressive.  The characteristion of the three women, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville may not be completely accurate - and maybe the York boys weren't so good looking and healthy, but they all make great TV.

Not being a medieval buff, I only have a hazy background of the Wars of the Roses - other than it went on for a long time, the machinations of the different factions is fascinating and has driven me back to the history books to discover more. 

It's beautifully filmed without being unrealistically glossy, and Ms Gregory's intention regarding her recent interview on the series, of showing the three women as the major players behind the throne, is excellently done. I loved the cleverly filmed witchcraft aspects. No cauldrons or chanting, but subtle knowing looks and silent whistling - magic as it should be. It didn't make me think Jaquetta and Elizabeth were sorceresses - but a bit of wishful thinking never hurt!

Photos from BBC


Petrea Burchard said...

I haven't seen "The White Queen," though I've read some of the bashing and seen some photos from the film.

I think expecting accuracy out of televised entertainment is too much to ask. In order to pay all the extraordinary expenses, the producers have to please a broad audience. If that means stretching the truth, that's what they have to do. They literally can't afford to please only a few history buffs.

Like me!

Jen Black said...

I'm not with you, Anita. If 21st century costumiers make fifteenth costumes with zippers and produce gowns that never look handmade, then I can see why people complain. They could at least film from angles that don't display the zipper full frontal as it were! Also it has to be unrealistic for Elizabeth to keep churning out infants and never look a day older or fatter. As for the king's mother in the last episode, well, really. Down on her knees and then full length on her stomach in a move as supple as a dancer when she was well past 50!
The French series The Returned is much better!

Anita Davison said...

You do have a point Jen - this Sunday's episode has Anne Neville castigating her mother for leaving her when she was a child, and I wanted to shout 'You still look 12!' And yes Elizabeth Woodville is far too pretty and pert to be in her early forties in 15th C England. She would have been a raddled old bag by now!
But I am still enjoying the series - sorry.

Laura Purcell said...

I'm enjoying it too - and the books. A good story is a good story, whether it's true or not. And as for costumes, it's a drama. No one is pretending it's a fly on the wall documentary of how people lived. If it was a re-enactment society I'd feel differently, but it's just TV. I think people need to lighten up.

Ramona said...

This is awesome!