Anne Boleyn star Mark Stanley defends Jodie Turner-Smiths casting as the doomed Queen – Daily Mail

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Anne Boleyn star Mark Stanley has defended the casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as the doomed Queen after she became the first black actress to play the historic role.

The actor, who plays King Henry VIII in the three-part drama, insisted such colourblind casting needs to ‘be the way forward’ to improve representation, and said Jodie’s performance was more about capturing the ‘energy’ of the Queen.

It comes after fans were left ‘unimpressed’ and ‘bored’ on Tuesday night when they tuned into Anne Boleyn’s first episode, with many quick to point out ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the Channel 5 drama.

'Moving forward': Anne Boleyn star Mark Stanley has defended the casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as the doomed Queen after she became the first black actress to play the historic role

'Moving forward': Anne Boleyn star Mark Stanley has defended the casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as the doomed Queen after she became the first black actress to play the historic role

‘Moving forward’: Anne Boleyn star Mark Stanley has defended the casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as the doomed Queen after she became the first black actress to play the historic role

Speaking to Digital Spy, Mark, who plays Anne Boleyn’s monarch husband who eventually condemns her to death so he can marry again, explained that if such a series had been made 30 years earlier it would have had an all-white cast.

He continued: ‘You look at people from that period, and of course the world was shaped in a certain way back then. But it’s not shaped like that now. And we’ve got to be able to make sure that people are represented.’ 

Progress: The actor, who plays King Henry VIII in the three-part drama, insisted such colourblind casting needs to 'be the way forward' to improve representation

Progress: The actor, who plays King Henry VIII in the three-part drama, insisted such colourblind casting needs to 'be the way forward' to improve representation

Progress: The actor, who plays King Henry VIII in the three-part drama, insisted such colourblind casting needs to ‘be the way forward’ to improve representation

Defending: Mark said: 'For someone to diminish, take [Jodie's] energy away, simply because of literally a skin-deep aesthetic – what a waste that would be'

Defending: Mark said: 'For someone to diminish, take [Jodie's] energy away, simply because of literally a skin-deep aesthetic – what a waste that would be'

Defending: Mark said: ‘For someone to diminish, take [Jodie’s] energy away, simply because of literally a skin-deep aesthetic – what a waste that would be’

‘But saying that… it was more to do with turning up and finding out what that person’s energy was about. And how they could represent the energy of that person of the time,’ Stanley said of Turner-Smith’s casting.

‘For someone to diminish, take [Jodie’s] energy away, simply because of literally a skin-deep aesthetic – what a waste that would be. And it’s the way to think now, I think, the way to move forward. Long may it continue.’

Anne Boleyn  re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie, 34, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.

The first episode saw Anne share a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew, while it also featured several racy sex scenes between Anne and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley.  

First episode: Anne Boleyn viewers were left 'unimpressed' and 'bored' on Tuesday night as they pointed out 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first episode (Jodie Turner-Smith pictured as Anne Boleyn in show still)

First episode: Anne Boleyn viewers were left 'unimpressed' and 'bored' on Tuesday night as they pointed out 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first episode (Jodie Turner-Smith pictured as Anne Boleyn in show still)

First episode: Anne Boleyn viewers were left ‘unimpressed’ and ‘bored’ on Tuesday night as they pointed out ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first episode (Jodie Turner-Smith pictured as Anne Boleyn in show still) 

Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her ‘brilliant’ portrayal, show watchers were left ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were ‘expecting more’ from the show. 

One person said: ‘Just watched the new #anneboleyn programme and i’m really not sure yet.   

‘There are certain parts I love but certain parts that seem quite out of character. I’ll reserve judgement until i’ve seen it in its entirety but for now..i’m unsure.’

A different account put: ‘Really wanted to like this as I’m an avid Tudor era fan…..but after 30 mins I’d had enough. Henry too feeble, the court felt very flat & boring and no depth to the characters. #disappointed #AnneBoleyn.’

New drama: The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, and the first episode included a tender onscreen kiss between Anne and her love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

New drama: The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, and the first episode included a tender onscreen kiss between Anne and her love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

New drama: The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, and the first episode included a tender onscreen kiss between Anne and her love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew 

Another show watcher claimed that every adaptation of Anne Boleyn is ‘riddled with historical inaccuracies’, they ranted: ‘Every single adaptation of Anne’s story to date – and yes, I’ve seen every one – is riddled with historical inaccuracies.’

A different viewer penned: ‘Well, that episode was disappointing. #AnneBoleyn,’ with another show watcher writing: ‘Good production but nothing new added. Was expecting more.’ 

While a separate account added: ‘Anne Boleyn on @channel5_tv was a slow burn, but @MissJodie was perfect in the role! #AnneBoleyn.’

However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn’t wait to watch the next episode. 

'Disappointed': Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her 'brilliant' portrayal, show watchers were left 'unimpressed' by the 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were 'expecting more' from the show

'Disappointed': Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her 'brilliant' portrayal, show watchers were left 'unimpressed' by the 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were 'expecting more' from the show

‘Disappointed’: Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her ‘brilliant’ portrayal, show watchers were left ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were ‘expecting more’ from the show

One person said: ‘I really enjoyed #AnneBoleyn and was gripped by the brilliant portrayal by @MissJodie . Can’t wait for the next episode!!’

A different account put: ‘Loved it. Loved that they made Anne a fully rounded character. She’s often portrayed as an innocent victim or a malicious scheming vixen. 

‘But this showed her as intelligent, interested in religion and frightened of her powelessness. Love it #AnneBoleyn.’

Another viewer tweeted: ‘All I can say is that @MissJodie is an absolute QUEEN #AnneBoleyn,’ followed by a heart emoji. 

While another show watcher added: ‘Jodie was brilliant in that first episode. Looking forward to the rest. #AnneBoleyn.’

Excitement: However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn't wait to watch the next episode

Excitement: However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn't wait to watch the next episode

Excitement: However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn’t wait to watch the next episode

During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew.

The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display.

During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England. 

Kiss: During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

Kiss: During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

Kiss: During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew 

The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen and the opening scene reads: ‘England 1536, Anne Boleyn has been Queen for two and a half years. 

‘She has one daughter, Elizabeth, but Henry is desperate for a son. Anne has miscarried twice, now she is pregnant again, less than 24 hours after the last queen’s death. 

‘Henry and Anne are throwing a party. Anne is the most powerful woman in England, she has just five months to live.’

Prior to Anne’s kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: ‘Just be sure Jane doesn’t get any ideas in her head, she’s a spiteful little b***h at times….’

Love rival: During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England

Love rival: During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England

Love rival: During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England

Racy! The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, 34, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display

Racy! The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, 34, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display

Racy! The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, 34, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display 

After realising Jane has overheard, Anne reassures: ‘I don’t mean you, my little mouse, the other Jane…’

Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss.

Anne says: ‘I wanted to take a moment to talk to you, woman to woman, I feel like I am uniquely placed to understand what you might feel right now… 

‘I know what it’s like to have all their eyes on you yet never be seen. They make you feel like a piece of meat!’

Warning: Prior to Anne's kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: 'Just be sure Jane doesn't get any ideas in her head, she's a spiteful little b***h at times....'

Warning: Prior to Anne's kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: 'Just be sure Jane doesn't get any ideas in her head, she's a spiteful little b***h at times....'

Warning: Prior to Anne’s kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: ‘Just be sure Jane doesn’t get any ideas in her head, she’s a spiteful little b***h at times….’

Interrogation: Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss

Interrogation: Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss

Interrogation: Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss 

Anne then asks: ‘Are you in love, Jane?’ to which she replies: ‘No…’

The doomed queen continues: ‘You’re lucky, it’s difficult to love a man… especially when he is your husband. Remember who you are, don’t betray yourself and you won’t live to forget.’

Anne then shares a passionate kiss with Jane, to which she responds: ‘Yes, I can see the appeal…’ 

After the embrace, Jane admits: ‘Your grace, I do wish to marry one day… but I know it will not be for love, I perceive little good to come from that.’

Explaining her decision to marry, she continues: ‘Security, honour, safety…’

Oh dear: And things go from bad to worse when the doomed queen walks in on Jane sitting on Henry’s lap where she giggles: ‘My lord!’

Anne then issues a warning to Jane as she replies: ‘You’ll never find security in the king’s bed!’

Later in the episode, Anne admits she wants to send Jane away on ‘another diplomatic mission abroad’.

Anne Boleyn: Who is Jane Seymour star Lola Petticrew?   

Lola Petticrew is starring as Jane Seymour in the new Channel 5 drama Anne Boleyn. 

Lola, 25, is from Belfast and has appeared in the likes of Jed Mercurio’s Bloodlands, BBC’s Three Families and in the critically acclaimed film Dating Amber. 

The star will next be seen in Wolf alongside the likes of Lily-Rose Depp and George MacKay. 

And things go from bad to worse when the doomed queen walks in on Jane sitting on Henry’s lap where she giggles: ‘My lord!’

Anne confronts the two and rips Jane’s necklace off, which has a picture of Henry in it, before slapping her across the face. 

The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby and the doomed queen is left further distressed when she sees Jane and Henry close once again.

Anne, who should be resting, decides to join them outside where she declares: ‘I won’t allow that w***e to take my place while I lie on my back.’

Yet as soon as the doomed queen goes outside, Henry gallops off on his horse as Anne screams: ‘Henry, won’t you say goodbye to your wife!’ 

Anne then falls to the ground while those around her try to call a doctor but she ominously says: ‘No physician can save me now…’

Prior to the first episode, Jodie teased what viewers can expect from the series, she said: ‘I would describe Anne as fierce, passionate and opinionated, all characteristics that for a woman, especially in the British court, would have been very threatening to the men around her. 

‘When we meet Anne she’s really riding high; Katherine of Aragon was put aside for her and has just died, Anne is pregnant with what she is thinking is a son and she already has one healthy child with Henry. So in many ways, she feels untouchable and [is] at the height of her feminine power when we meet her.’

Elsewhere Lola, who plays Jane, said it is refreshing that the series focuses on the female gaze.

Distressing: The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby

Distressing: The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby

Distressing: The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby 

The star said: ‘I think that so often we see ourselves used as a tool or a device on screen for a man’s story, and what’s happening between these two women is so much more interesting. 

‘These are two women that have to clamber and fight for their place at the table. [Despite their differences] I think in a way there’s a mutual respect between the two women – they have to do what they have to do in order to survive.’

Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5’s three-part drama.

Speaking to Radio TimesThe Queen and Slim star admitted that she knew it might be ‘a stretch’ for some viewers to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII, but said she was sure others were ‘finally ready’ to see her in the role.

Jodie is the first black actress to portray Anne, and she follows in the footsteps of Natalie Dormer, Claire Foy and Natalie Portman by playing the historic part. 

'I am aware it's going to be a stretch for some people': Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5's three-part drama

'I am aware it's going to be a stretch for some people': Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5's three-part drama

‘I am aware it’s going to be a stretch for some people’: Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5’s three-part drama

Reflecting on this, Jodie told the publication: ‘It’s much more approachable and appealing to a contemporary audience when you cast this way because we are distilling this down to a human experience.

‘If you ask anyone to watch a film or to observe any art, you are asking them to suspend their beliefs.

‘I am aware it’s going to be a stretch for some people because they will feel too distracted by that, but I think for a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they’re going to see that this is a human story we are telling, and a fascinating one at that.’  

Thoughts: Jodie said while some viewers might find it hard to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII (pictured), she was sure others were 'finally ready' to see her in the role

Thoughts: Jodie said while some viewers might find it hard to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII (pictured), she was sure others were 'finally ready' to see her in the role

Thoughts: Jodie said while some viewers might find it hard to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII (pictured), she was sure others were ‘finally ready’ to see her in the role

Anne Boleyn will explore the final months of Anne Boleyn’s life from the eponymous Queen’s perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her. 

The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength, her fatal vulnerabilities and her determination to be an equal among men. 

The cast also includes I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu, who will portray the role of Anne’s brother and Tudor nobleman George. 

Candid: Jodie said, 'For a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they're going to see that this is a human story we are telling'

Candid: Jodie said, 'For a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they're going to see that this is a human story we are telling'

Candid: Jodie said, ‘For a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they’re going to see that this is a human story we are telling’

Dating Amber star Lola is featured as Anne’s love rival, Jane Seymour, who succeeded her as the Queen of England. 

Jamael Westman, Amanda Burton and Thalissa Teixeira also play roles in the mini-series – which finished production on location in Yorkshire in December 2020. 

Penned by writer Eve Hedderwick Turner and directed by Lynsey Miller, Anne Boleyn aims to ‘challenge all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story.’

Fable Pictures added: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to have the magnetic Jodie Turner-Smith on board to encapsulate Anne’s determination to be an equal among men and to pave a path for her daughter. 

Regal: In the photo, the Queen & Slim star, 34, posed in a traditional Tudor gown and headpiece for new three-part psychological thriller

Regal: In the photo, the Queen & Slim star, 34, posed in a traditional Tudor gown and headpiece for new three-part psychological thriller

Background: The series explores the final moments of the queen’s life from her lens before she is executed by her husband 

‘We feel that history has side-lined the voice of this ambitious Queen in favour of the men who brought her down, and that Lynsey Miller’s beautiful, intimate vision will put Anne’s gaze at the heart of the piece.’ 

Ben Frow, director of programs at ViacomCBS, added: ‘This project re-frames her story as a propulsive psychological thriller, told from a new perspective, with top talent like Jodie Turner-Smith attached. 

‘It was simply too irresistible to say no to and I’m very excited to see the finished product.’ 

Director Miller previously defended the decision to give the role to a black actress, after sparking accusations of ‘blackwashing’.

Challenging conventions: The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength and her determination to be an equal among men

Challenging conventions: The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength and her determination to be an equal among men

Challenging conventions: The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength and her determination to be an equal among men

The TV executive said: ‘I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it. I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. 

‘There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them.’  

It is the second time a BAME actress has played the role of Anne Boleyn on screen, after Merle Oberon, an Anglo-Indian actress who played the royal in Alexander Korda’s 1933 film The Private Life of Henry VIII. 

Queen: Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role of Anne Boleyn alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer's Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors

Queen: Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role of Anne Boleyn alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer's Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors

Queen: Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role of Anne Boleyn alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors

All the stars: Natalie Portman  took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008

All the stars: Natalie Portman  took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008

Star: Claire Foy played her for the BBC's £7 million series Wolf Hall in 2009

Star: Claire Foy played her for the BBC's £7 million series Wolf Hall in 2009

All the stars: Natalie Portman took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008, left, while Claire Foy played her for the BBC’s £7 million series Wolf Hall in 2009, right 

Though she claimed she was Australian, in order to avoid prejudice at the time, Oberon was born in India to a British army officer father and Indian mother. She was nicknamed ‘Queenie’ in honour of Queen Mary and King George V’s visit to India in 1911. 

On her role, an excited Jodie, who was born in Peterborough to Jamaican parents, said: ‘Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination. 

Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII’s second wife whose historical significance is often overlooked due to her brutal death

Though perhaps best known in English history for the brutal way in which she met her end, Anne Boleyn’s mark on the country’s history is far more significant.

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn 

Born the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, in 1501, she first came into the eye-sight of Henry VIII in 1522 when she secured a post at court as maid of honour to the king’s first Catherine of Aragon.

It was not until 1526 that Henry began his pursuit of Anne – a pursuit which was initially resisted.

Her refusal to be a mistress sparked Henry to approach the then-Pope to have his marriage annulled.

When it became clear this would not be allowed, Henry began his drive to break the power of the Catholic Church in England – what later became known as the English Reformation.

Henry and Anne formally married in January 1533 – a move which resulted in the Pope excommunicating Henry and him consequently taking control of the Church of England.  

But it was ultimately not a happy marriage after Boleyn failed to produce a male heir. 

In order to marry again he needed a reason to end his marriage to Anne and she was investigated for high treason and sent to the Tower of London.

Her beheading in the tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Boleyn’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Cromwell before he turned on her.  

And her execution immediately followed the death of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die.   

She was convicted on 15 May 1536 and beheaded four days later. 

Henry began courting Jane Seymour in 1536. 

Anne did leave one more mark on English history though, her daughter, Elizabeth, who was crowned as queen in 1558.

During her daughter’s reign, Anne became venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation.

‘In the hands of Lynsey Miller, the legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today.

‘I look forward to bringing my heart and spirit into this daring retelling of the fall of this iconic woman.’  

Henry’s second wife, who was the daughter of English nobility, is also one of the key causes of the English Reformation and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. 

Anne was famously beheaded in 1536 for high treason after failing to produce a male heir. 

Her execution in the Tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell – who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Anne’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. 

She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Thomas before he turned on her. 

Her killing immediately followed the death of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. 

That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Anne’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die. 

Jodie is the latest in a line of Hollywood stars who have taken on the role in recent years.  

Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors.   

The series was panned by critics for its ‘sexed-up, dumbed down’ version of English history, and received hundreds of complaints from viewers and academics who claimed to spot modern radiators, Tarmac driveways, concrete bollards and Victorian carriages.

With its raunchy explicit sex scenes the drama, which ran for four series, was part of a bid to interest younger audiences in history. 

Natalie Portman then took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl – directed by Justin Chadwick – which was moderately successful at the box office when it was released in 2008.

She starred alongside Scarlett Johansson, who played her sister Mary. 

The film followed the plight of Anne Boleyn and her marriage to Henry VIII, played by Eric Bana, as her sister Mary muscled in on the King’s affections with the help of David Morrissey’s character, their uncle The Duke of Norfolk.  

In 2009, Claire Foy took on the role for the BBC’s £7 million series Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novel. 

The show – which also starred Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII – charted the rise of Cromwell from blacksmith’s son to one of the most powerful men in King Henry VIII’s court. 

While viewers praised the cast and their acting abilities, some said the slow pace had sent them to sleep and complained there was too much complex Tudor history to make for entertaining viewing   

Meanwhile, news of Jodie’s role came after months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42.

In the October 2020 issue of Vogue, the British model confirmed her child’s name for the first time in print, and reflected on what it’s been like to parent a newborn in the midst of the pandemic. 

The thespian explained: ‘I had to learn how to breastfeed and how to be a mum—it really worked out for my baby.’

New mum: British model Jodie welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42, in April 2020 (pictured November 2019)

New mum: British model Jodie welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42, in April 2020 (pictured November 2019)

New mum: British model Jodie welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42, in April 2020 (pictured November 2019)

The article reported that after giving birth in April, Jodie’s mother Hilda came to stay with them for three months amid the pandemic, and while protests began erupting around the world in the fight of social justice and racial equality. 

The Queen & Slim star reflected that it was a ‘comfort’ to have both her mother and husband with her and the baby during that time, without the outside pressures of work and amid a time of change and upheaval.  

After THAT kissing scene, how much of new drama Anne Boleyn can you trust? From a party to mark Catherine of Aragon’s death to tricking Henry VIII into marriage by witchcraft, FEMAIL separates historical fact from fiction 

By Bridie Pearson-Jones for MailOnline 

Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn debuted last night to mixed reviews, with some praising the diverse casting and impeccable acting while other complained of boring and metaphor-heavy writing.

The very racy series opener – which saw several sex scenes and a kiss between Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour –  claims to be  ‘inspired by truth and lies’ but how historically accurate is it? 

It already plays with historical accuracy in casting black actress Jodie Turner Smith as Henry VIII’s second wife, who was most definitely white, with the star previously admitting that she knew it might be ‘a stretch’ for some viewers.

Set in January 1536 at Greenwich palace,  the episode shows the last five months of Anne Boleyn (played by Jodie Turner-Smith) life, opening with King Henry and Anne throwing a party, 24 hours after the death of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

It goes on to document Henry’s courting of his third wife Jane Seymour, his jousting accident and journey into a tyrant and Anne Boleyn’s miscarriage. 

So, how much of the first episode is fact and how much is simply royal fiction? Here FEMAIL fact-checks just how accurate Anne Boleyn really is… 

The claim: Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII threw a party 24 hours after Catherine of Aragon’s death

The show is set in January 1536, and opens on a party being thrown by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn ‘less than 24 hours after the death of Catherine of Aragon’.

Henry VIII’s first wife – and mother of Mary I – had passed away aged 50 after being banished from court following their divorce three years earlier.

Jodie Turner-Smith is pictured in yellow dress and famous ‘B’ necklace, at court celebrating, while Henry (played by Mark Stanley) is pictured in black and yellow robes.

The couple drink and eat with courtiers, with a pigs head being served, and Anne describes Elizabeth as ‘a perfect little monarch in the making’ while Henry rebuffs ‘our boy will be a great ruler, one for the history book,’ gesturing towards her baby bump.

Afterwards, Anne is seen playing cards with ladies in the court, referring to Jane Seymour as a ‘spiteful little b****’. 

The show is set in January 1536, and opens on a party being thrown by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn 'less than 24 hours after the death of Catherine of Aragon. Henry VII's first wife - and mother of Mary I - had just died aged 50 after being banished from court following a divorce three years earlier. Jodie Turner-Smith is pictured in yellow dress at court celebrating

The show is set in January 1536, and opens on a party being thrown by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn 'less than 24 hours after the death of Catherine of Aragon. Henry VII's first wife - and mother of Mary I - had just died aged 50 after being banished from court following a divorce three years earlier. Jodie Turner-Smith is pictured in yellow dress at court celebrating

The show is set in January 1536, and opens on a party being thrown by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn ‘less than 24 hours after the death of Catherine of Aragon. Henry VII’s first wife – and mother of Mary I – had just died aged 50 after being banished from court following a divorce three years earlier. Jodie Turner-Smith is pictured in yellow dress at court celebrating

How accurate is Anne Boleyn? FEMAIL fact checks the Channel 5 biopic 

The claim: Anne Bolyen was black. FALSE

The claim: Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII threw a party 24 hours after Catherine of Aragon’s death: MOSTLY TRUE

The claim: Anne Boleyn kissed Jane Seymour and told her to ‘stay away from Henry VIII’l FALSE

 The claim: A jousting accident turned Henry VIII into a tyrant. PROBABLY TRUE

 The claim: Anne walk ins on Jane Seymour sitting on Henry VIII’s lap and slaps her and pulls her necklace off, leading to a miscarriage. PARTLY TRUE

The claim: Thomas Cromwell plotted against Anne Boleyn. TRUE

 The claim: Henry believed he’d been tricked into his marriage by witchcraft. FALSE 

 The claims: Anne Boleyn was responsible for the first English language bible. MOSTLY FALSE

The facts:  Anne and Henry had festivities following the death, but may have privately mourned

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn did have festivities following Catherine of Aragon’s death – but historians believed they may have both privately wept. 

Anne, who had worked as a maid for Queen Catherine wore yellow following Catherine’s death but historians re divided on the significance of this.    

Many believe it was a show of joy, as yellow was a symbol of celebration in England. This would mean the King and Queen were blatantly celebrating the death of a former monarch – perhaps showing relief at the passing of a perceived enemy. 

Eustace Chapuys, who served as the ambassador to England in Henry VIII’s court  wrote that ‘Henry dressed in yellow, stuck a white feather in his cap and went dancing with Anne Boleyn’s ladies.

However some believe it was a sign of sombre as yellow was a colour of mourning in Spain – where Catherine was born. 

Anne’s biographer Eric Ives says that the news of Catherine’s death was met ‘by an outburst of relief and enthusiasm for the Boleyn marriage’. He added that Anne was said to be ‘overjoyed’  and rewarded the messenger who brought the news to Greenwich a ‘handsome present’ 

Ives also believed Henry exclaimed  ‘God be praised that we are free from all suspicion of war!’

VERDICT: MOSTLY TRUE 

The claim: ‘Bastard’ Mary mourns Catherine of Aragon’s death, Anne Boleyn offers to become a ‘second mother’ to her

In a later scene Anne Boleyn asks a lady-in-waiting to take her to Hatfield with her daughter Elizabeth. While in her bedchambers Anne asks the assistant: 'Tell me, the bastard, is she behaving herself' to which she replies 'Mary is the same as ever, consistently ungrateful for all the luxuries afforded to her'. She added that the King had sent her a 'generous sum'. 'You may pass my deepest sympathy to Mary on your return to Hatfield. Tell her if she wishes to come to court we would welcome her, I would happily be her Queen and second mother,' Anne says.

In a later scene Anne Boleyn asks a lady-in-waiting to take her to Hatfield with her daughter Elizabeth. While in her bedchambers Anne asks the assistant: 'Tell me, the bastard, is she behaving herself' to which she replies 'Mary is the same as ever, consistently ungrateful for all the luxuries afforded to her'. She added that the King had sent her a 'generous sum'. 'You may pass my deepest sympathy to Mary on your return to Hatfield. Tell her if she wishes to come to court we would welcome her, I would happily be her Queen and second mother,' Anne says.

In a later scene Anne Boleyn asks a lady-in-waiting to take her to Hatfield with her daughter Elizabeth. While in her bedchambers Anne asks the assistant: ‘Tell me, the bastard, is she behaving herself’ to which she replies ‘Mary is the same as ever, consistently ungrateful for all the luxuries afforded to her’. She added that the King had sent her a ‘generous sum’. ‘You may pass my deepest sympathy to Mary on your return to Hatfield. Tell her if she wishes to come to court we would welcome her, I would happily be her Queen and second mother,’ Anne says.

In a later scene Anne Boleyn asks a lady-in-waiting to take her to Hatfield with her daughter Elizabeth. 

While in her bedchambers Anne asks the assistant: ‘Tell me, the bastard, is she behaving herself’ to which she replies ‘Mary is the same as ever, consistently ungrateful for all the luxuries afforded to her’. 

She added that the King had sent her a ‘generous sum’. 

‘You may pass my deepest sympathy to Mary on your return to Hatfield. Tell her if she wishes to come to court we would welcome her, I would happily be her Queen and second mother,’ Anne says.

The facts: Mary was deemed a bastard after Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth was annulled and Anne Boleyn invited Mary to court  

Mary – Henry VIII’s first child that lived past infancy – was born declared a bastard and demoted from ‘Princess Mary’ to ‘Lady Mary’ after her parents marriage was annulled, with her younger half sister Elizabeth taking her place in the line of succession. 

As a teenager, she was sent to live at Hatfield House to work as maid for Elizabeth (who had been sent to live there at just three months old) and not allowed to see her mother.        

While Anne often visited her daughter at Hatfield, she is believed to only have met Mary on a handful of occasions – although the tension was been said to be extreme. 

In 1534 – two years before the show is set  – Anne attempted to reconcile with Mary, inviting her back to court and promising better treatment,  if she would accept Anne as Queen.

But Mary responded with, ‘she knew of no Queen in England except her mother, but if Madame Anne Boleyn would speak to her father on her behalf, she would be much obliged’. 

Following Catherine of Aragon’s death, Anne tried again to make amends with ‘inconsolable’ Mary -to no avail, although it’s unclear if she went as far as offering to be her ‘second mother’.

VERDICT: MOSTLY TRUE 

The claim: Anne Boleyn kissed Jane Seymour and told her to ‘stay away from Henry VIII’

In the opening episode of the racy drama, Anne Boleyn asks Jane Seymour to go for a walk with her. Jane is alleged to be Henry's mistress at the time. In an earlier scene Anne refers to her as a 'spiteful little b***h'. On the walk, Anne asks Jane is she's in love and says it's 'difficult to love a man'. 'Remember who you are, don't betray yourself and you won't live to regret' she says before kissing her and declaring 'yes, I can see the appeal'.

In the opening episode of the racy drama, Anne Boleyn asks Jane Seymour to go for a walk with her. Jane is alleged to be Henry's mistress at the time. In an earlier scene Anne refers to her as a 'spiteful little b***h'. On the walk, Anne asks Jane is she's in love and says it's 'difficult to love a man'. 'Remember who you are, don't betray yourself and you won't live to regret' she says before kissing her and declaring 'yes, I can see the appeal'.

In the opening episode of the racy drama, Anne Boleyn asks Jane Seymour to go for a walk with her. Jane is alleged to be Henry’s mistress at the time. In an earlier scene Anne refers to her as a ‘spiteful little b***h’. On the walk, Anne asks Jane is she’s in love and says it’s ‘difficult to love a man’. ‘Remember who you are, don’t betray yourself and you won’t live to regret’ she says before kissing her and declaring ‘yes, I can see the appeal’.

In the opening episode of the racy drama, Anne Boleyn asks Jane Seymour to go for a walk with her. 

Jane is alleged to be Henry’s mistress at the time. In an earlier scene Anne refers to her as a ‘spiteful little bitch’.

On the walk, Anne asks Jane is she’s in love and says it’s ‘difficult to love a man’.

‘Remember who you are, don’t betray yourself and you won’t live to regret’ she says before kissing her and declaring ‘yes, I can see the appeal’.

The facts: There is no evidence the pair kissed  

While Jane worked as a servant in both Catherine of Aragon’s and Anne Boleyn’s courts, there is no evidence that Anne and Jane ever kissed – although historians believe there was tension between the pair after Henry began courting Jane following Anne’s third miscarriage. 

VERDICT: FALSE   

Henry has an accident while jousting and Anne comes running back to his bed. While still in his sickbed Anne and her brother George discuss what would happen to them if Henry died. But he wakes up and shortly after, he snaps at Anne after she offers to visit bedchamber, saying: 'What would be the point? Until that boy is born you have but one job. Concentrate on that if your so concerned about being a good wife.

Henry has an accident while jousting and Anne comes running back to his bed. While still in his sickbed Anne and her brother George discuss what would happen to them if Henry died. But he wakes up and shortly after, he snaps at Anne after she offers to visit bedchamber, saying: 'What would be the point? Until that boy is born you have but one job. Concentrate on that if your so concerned about being a good wife.

 Henry has an accident while jousting and Anne comes running back to his bed. While still in his sickbed Anne and her brother George discuss what would happen to them if Henry died. But he wakes up and shortly after, he snaps at Anne after she offers to visit bedchamber, saying: ‘What would be the point? Until that boy is born you have but one job. Concentrate on that if your so concerned about being a good wife.

The claim: A jousting accident turned Henry VIII into a tyrant

Although he keeps mistresses.  in the early part of the episode Henry is seen as affectionate and kind towards Anne, praising her for being pregnant and looking admirably at his daughter Elizabeth.

But off screen, Henry has an accident while jousting and Anne comes running back to his bed.

While still in his sickbed Anne and her brother George discuss what would happen to them if Henry died.

But he wakes up and  shortly after, he snaps at Anne after she offers to visit bedchamber, saying: ‘What would be the point? Until that boy is born you have but one job. Concentrate on that if your so concerned about being a good wife.

The facts: Historians believed his jousting accident may have been a turning point 

While jousting at Greenwich Palace on 24 January 1536, Henry, then 44, was in full armour when he was thrown from his horse, itself in full armour, which fell on top of him.

He was unconscious for two hours and doctors thought he was fatally injured. 

Historians believe the injury ended his sporting career due to life-long leg injuries, which also caused him to gain substantial amount of weight.

Many believe there many have also been an undetected brain injury which changed his personality.

Historian Lucy Worsley previously told the History Channel: ‘We posit that his jousting accident of 1536 provides the explanation for his personality change from sporty, promising, generous young Prince, to cruel, paranoid and vicious tyrant.

‘From that date the turnover of wives really speeds up, and people begin to talk about him in quite a new and negative way.

‘After the accident he was unconscious for two hours; even five minutes of unconsciousness is considered to be a major trauma today.’

However, there is no evidence the Queen tried to keep Mary away from the king. 

VERDICT: PARTLY TRUE  

The claim: Anne walk ins on Jane Seymour sitting on Henry VIII’s lap and slaps her and pulls her necklace off, leading to a miscarriage  

After gossip around the court that Henry is unhappy with Anne, she tracks him down and walks in on him with Jane.

The pair are flirting with Jane sitting on his lap. 

Anne then swiftly pulls her necklace off – a locket with a picture of Henry inside – and slaps her.

The stress from this leads to her collapsing on the floor and miscarrying for the third time.

Wake up after the miscarriage and see Henry with Jane Seymour, says ‘I won’t allow that whore to take my place’ – 

The facts: Anne DID walk in on Jane Seymour and Henry VIII but the snatching of the necklace was a different incident – and the miscarriage could have been caused by several stresses

Accounts from the time and modern accounts say that Henry did gift Jane a locket with a portrait of himself inside, and that Anne did walk in on Jane while sitting on Henry’s lap – but the show falsely amalgamates these events.

Shortly after Catherine of Aragon’s death,  Henry began courting Jane Seymour – one of Anne’s servants.

Henry gave her a locket with a miniature portrait of himself inside. 

Often, in the presence of Anne, began opening and shutting it to taunt Anne, who  ripped it off her neck so hard it made her fingers bleed.

In another incident, Anne is said to have flown into a rage after seeing Jane sitting on Henry’s lap.

While the drama shows her immediately miscarry after this, it’s likely there was a combination of events which lead to her losing the baby. 

It came just five days after the King was knocked unconscious in a  boating accident, and also on the same day as Catherine of Aragon’s funeral. 

It’s also likely Anne did slap – or have a physical altercation with Jane.

Maid Jane Dormer who served in the court claimed that there was often ‘scratching and blows’ between Anne and Jane

VERDICT: PARTLY TRUE  

Another scene shows Anne walk ins on Jane Seymour sitting on Henry VIII's lap and slaps her and pulls her necklace off, leading to a miscarriage. Anne Boleyn (Played by Jodie Turner-Smith)Jane Seymour (Played by Lola Petticrew) are pictured

Another scene shows Anne walk ins on Jane Seymour sitting on Henry VIII's lap and slaps her and pulls her necklace off, leading to a miscarriage. Anne Boleyn (Played by Jodie Turner-Smith)Jane Seymour (Played by Lola Petticrew) are pictured

Another scene shows Anne walk ins on Jane Seymour sitting on Henry VIII’s lap and slaps her and pulls her necklace off, leading to a miscarriage. Anne Boleyn (Played by Jodie Turner-Smith)Jane Seymour (Played by Lola Petticrew) are pictured

The claim: Thomas Cromwell plotted against Anne Boleyn 

The episode shows Thomas and Anne arguing about the dissolution of the monasteries and Anne confiding in her brother: ‘Cromwell is taking advantage of Henry’s mood to exclude me. He’s taking secret meetings with my husband.

Thomas also tells: ‘Make no mistake, your influence lies in your belly, not your brain’  

The episode shows Thomas and Anne arguing about the dissolution of the monasteries and Anne confiding in her brother: 'Cromwell is taking advantage of Henry's mood to exclude me. He's taking secret meetings with my husband.

The episode shows Thomas and Anne arguing about the dissolution of the monasteries and Anne confiding in her brother: 'Cromwell is taking advantage of Henry's mood to exclude me. He's taking secret meetings with my husband.

The episode shows Thomas and Anne arguing about the dissolution of the monasteries and Anne confiding in her brother: ‘Cromwell is taking advantage of Henry’s mood to exclude me. He’s taking secret meetings with my husband.

The facts: Thomas as instrumental in Anne’s downfall

Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s chief minister – one of the most ruthless and powerful operators ever to dominate the politics of this country

 In a reign of unadulterated terror against the Church, he masterminded the dissolution of the monasteries and the biggest land grab since the Norman invasion of 1066 – seizing one-sixth of the nation’s wealth and turning it over to his master, the King.

While Catherine of Aragon was Queen,  Cromwell helped end the marriage and install Anne as Queen.

But after Anne’s miscarriage at 14 weeks, Henry believed God’s wishes were for him to not be married to Anne, and Cromwell conspired to get rid of her.  

Eric Ives, Anne’s biographer, said that her fall and execution were primarily engineered by Cromwell despite being a former ally.

VERDICT: TRUE 

The claim: Henry believed he’d been tricked into his marriage by witchcraft 

After Henry coldly rejected Anne, she then travels into his bed chambers anyway.

She then seduces him, before he stops saying it could hurt the baby before the pair proceed to have oral sex.

The next morning, Anne is expecting Hannah to be in a great mood but is told by her sister-in-law, he’s in a ‘fury’.

Jane Boleyn, the wife of her brother George, says: ‘He’s in a fury apparently, no one can shake it from him, we all know he’s been unpredictable since his fall. I know we shouldn’t believe idle gossip but i’m told..

‘Apparently he was walking with his uncle and he complained of being seduced and bewitched into his current marriage

‘All nonsense i’m sure, there was even talk of sorcery, can you imagine?’

The fact: Anne being charged witchcraft is a common misconception   

The scene here is clearly alluding to Anne later being charged with witchcraft – and beheaded.

But Anne was never charged with witchcraft, and adultery, incest and treason.

Mark Smeaton, a Flemish musician in the court, confessed to adultery after being tortured, while a handful of others were arrested but not charged for their involvement with the Queen. George Boleyn, the Queen’s brother, was also arrest on charges of incest.

Although little evidence any of this was true, Anne was also accused of treason as  adultery on the part of a queen was a form of treason (because of the implications for the succession to the throne). 

George, and three other men accused, were killed on 17th May, Anne was beheaded two days later. 

VERDICT: PROBABLY FALSE

The claims: Anne Boleyn was responsible for the first English language bible 

The episode shows Anne overjoyed as she’s gifted a bible published in English by her brother George.

‘It arrived late last night of the boat from Antwerp, I had the pastor bring it straight to you,’ he says.

‘The first full English language bible, now everyone can read the word of god in their own tongue,’ she says.

‘Thanks to you,’ George adds.

The facts: Anne Boleyn was a supporter of  translation William Tyndale

Anne was an ardent supporter of William Tyndale, the person responsible for translating the bible into English.

Tyndale’s Bible was published at a time where an English language bible would have been seen as shocking as for centuries they were in Latin – but Henry and Anne were sympathetic as they saw this as a support as a step toward independence from Rome.

However, the claim it’s ‘all to thanks so Anne’ is unlikely.

VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE 

 

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