I know, it's TV. And is therefore crap by default. But I started watching it, under the misapprehension that Henry VIII was played by The Blessèd Brian. I was wrong, he instead appears in Henry 8.0, which, incidentally, is jolly good and you should watch it.
But The Tudors is pretty good too. So far I've only watched the first series, and I do expect it to go downhill in subsequent ones, but overall it was enjoyable, and I recommend it. While there are some "departures from history", it is overall reasonably accurate, in particular in its portrayal of the King and his confidantes Wolsey, Cromwell, and the clever, erudite but nasty "saint" Thomas More. How you can declare someone to be saintly when he imprisoned people merely for their beliefs or who approved of burning people to death is beyond me. I suppose it requires the same sort of perverted mindset that thinks it's OK to hide rapists.
It was only spoilt a teensy bit for me by some glaring anachronisms, all of which could have been avoided without changing the story one iota:
- there's a shot of St Peter's church in Rome, complete with dome, in episode 2, but it's clearly of the new St Peters. The dome wasn't completed until 80 years later. They've used CGI for lots of views of Whitehall Palace, so there's no reason they couldn't have done the same for St Peters;
- episode 3 contains some large sheets of flawless glass, made using a process not invented until the 1950s;
- in episode 9, the King is playing "Greensleeves" on a lute. It is not thought to have been written until the reign of his daughter Elizabeth, and especially not the version he was playing, which was a melody from Vaughan Williams's 1934 "Fantasia on Greensleeves";
- all church interiors date from, at the earliest, the reign of Henry's son Edward. We know this because they have plain white walls devoid of the colourful murals, decorations, painted statues etc that festooned mediaeval English Catholic churches.
Do I win a gold star for pedantry?