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The stories behind the stories, and the powers behind the throne... BBC Two's Life and Death in the Tudor Court season begins on Thursday 23rd May. Tudor Britain was one of the most extraordinarily compelling periods in history, dominated by giant personalities - but this season isn’t a definitive story of the Tudor kings and queens. This is about life at court, and focuses on the people who made a great dynasty, and then nearly tore it down. These are the fixers, makers and detonators of the Tudor Court - a volatile place where your next move could be your last.
|S01E01||The Last Days of Anne Boleyn||23/05/2013||Anne Boleyn is one of the most famous and controversial women in British history. In 1536, she became the first queen in Britain's history to be executed. The brutal speed of her downfall, and the astonishing nature of the charges against her - treason, adultery, even incest - makes her story shocking even to this day. Yet whilst we know how Anne died, the story of why she had to go and who authored her violent end has been the subject of fiery debate across six centuries. In a radical new approach to televised history, a stellar cast of writers and historians, including Hilary Mantel, David Starkey, Philippa Gregory and others, battle out the story of her last days and give their own unique interpretations of her destruction.|
|S01E02||Henry VIII's Enforcer: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell||24/05/2013||Thomas Cromwell has gone down in history as one of the most corrupt and manipulative ruffians ever to hold power in England. A chief minister who used his position to smash the Roman Catholic church in England and loot the monasteries for his own gain. A man who used torture to bring about the execution of the woman who had once been his friend and supporter - Anne Boleyn. Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, reveals a very different image of Cromwell. The award-winning novels of Hilary Mantel began the revival of Cromwell's reputation, and now Professor MacCulloch presents Henry VIII's chief minister as a principled and pioneering statesman who was driven by radical evangelism. Cromwell's extraordinary career blossomed after a childhood marked by poverty and violence. The unschooled son of a brewer, he travelled across Europe as a young man and mysteriously taught himself to speak several languages in addition to accounting and knowledge of the law. When Henry VIII failed to persuade the pope to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Cromwell engineered an incredible solution. Using his political skills he persuaded Parliament and the people to accept a mythological rewriting of the history of England in which the English monarch was as an emperor whose power superseded that of the pope. Professor MacCulloch describes Cromwell as an evangelical reformer, determined to break the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church and introduce the people of England to a new type of Christianity in which each individual makes direct contact with God.|
|S01E03||Henry VII - Winter King||30/05/2013||Author Thomas Penn takes an extraordinary journey into the dark and chilling world of the first Tudor, Henry VII. From his victory over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, to his secret death and the succession of his son Henry VIII, this programme reveals the ruthless tactics Henry VII used to win - and cling on to - the ultimate prize, the throne of England. Exploring magnificent buildings and long lost documents, Penn reveals the true story of this suspicious, enigmatic and terrifying monarch.|
|S01E04||The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England||06/06/2013||Melvyn Bragg explores the dramatic story of William Tyndale and his mission to translate the Bible into English. Melvyn reveals the story of a man whose life and legacy have been hidden from history but whose impact on Christianity in Britain and on the English language still endures. His radical translation of the Bible into English made him a profound threat to the authority of the Church and state – and set him on a collision course with Henry VIII’s heretic hunters and those of the Pope.|