Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wolf Hall

The first episode of Wolf Hall, a six-part TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel's prize-winning pair of historical novels, premiers this Sunday, April 5, at 10 pm, ET, on PBS's Masterpiece. Mantel's tempestuous period pieces, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, follow the struggle of England's King Henry VIII to cement his dynastic legacy by siring a legitimate, male heir. Thomas Cromwell, ambitious commoner, political deal-maker, and Henry's hatchet man narrates the action. Expect Sunday's performance, which PBS calls an "unromanticized retelling," to teem with political intrigue, backstabbing, bribery, and seduction. Mark Rylance stars as the wily, enigmatic Cromwell and Damian Lewis plays the handsome, volatile Henry VIII.

Wolf Hall set a 10-year record for viewers when it debuted in the UK on BBC Two.

To learn more about this turbulent period and its players, read Thomas Cromwell:The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious Minister by Robert Hutchinson or The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. And be sure to watch the award-winning film, A Man for All Seasons, about Thomas More's heroic refusal to obey the King.

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