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  • The life of one of Great Britain's most influential and feared monarchs is dramatized in this lavish production, originally produced for British television. King Henry VIII (Ray Winstone) is a shrewd but ruthless ruler who is determined to sire a male heir who will succeed him on the throne. However, his wife, Catherine of Aragon (Assumpta Serna), after numerous attempts, is only able to bear him a daughter, so the king takes a mistress, Anne Boleyn (Helena Bonham Carter), in hopes she will give him a son. Anne Boleyn cleverly insists that she must wed the king if they are to have a child, and when the Catholic Church forbids Henry's request for a divorce, the king responds by forming his own denomination, the Church of England, which he will oversee himself. One of the king's most trusted advisers, Cardinal Wolsey (David Suchet) attempts to convince Henry that this is folly; Henry sentences him to death, and sends him to the Tower of London to await his sentence. Despite these machinations, Anne Boleyn is unable to give Henry the son he wants, and the king decides she will pay with her life for this failing. As Henry becomes increasingly ruthless in his dealings with those close to him -- as well as other nations -- he leaves a bloody wake as he uses beheading as his favored means of dealing with troublesome wives and untrustworthy allies. The cast also includes Sean Bean, Charles Dance, Emilia Fox, and Emily Blunt; Henry VIII first aired in the United States as part of PBS's award-winning anthology series Masterpiece Theatre.
  • Henry VIII is a two-part British television serial produced principally by Granada Television for ITV. It chronicles the life of Henry VIII of England from the disintegration of his first marriage to an aging Spanish princess until his death following a stroke in 1547, by which time he had married for the sixth time. Additional production funding was provided by WGBH Boston, Powercorp and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It stars Ray Winstone in his first role in a costume drama. His co-star is Helena Bonham Carter who played Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn; her character dominates the first episode and her dramatic death brings the first part of the story to its conclusion. David Suchet also makes an appearance as Henry's first chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey. The second episode, which follows the last eleven years of Henry's life, sees Winstone act opposite Emilia Fox, as his docile third wife Jane Seymour, Sean Bean as Robert Aske, leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace, and Emily Blunt as Catherine Howard, the promiscuous teenager who was coerced into becoming Henry's fifth queen.

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