It can be said sometimes that politics, whether in our time or in another era is often the most compelling drama.
Wolf Hall, based on the 2010 book by Hilary Mantel, premiered on PBS last night.
Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) is the son of a blacksmith. As an adult, he he has risen above the station that he was born into, using a unusual combination of intelligence and deceit. What is about to happen will pull him even farther from his roots and close to to the most powerful man in England, King Henry the VIII (Damian Lewis).
Henry has been married to Katherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley) for twenty years. But the marriage has not produced a son and Henry is anxious about the succession of his line. Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) has been give one task by the king: convince the Pope to annul Henry’s marriage to Katherine so he can marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy). But so far, the Cardinal has failed to convince Rome to allow the annulment. Enter Master Cromwell, who will become Henry’s closest adviser. Through his efforts, Henry will be able to annul his marriage to Katherine and marry Anne.
As Master Cromwell rises in the ranks, the tricks he uses become questionable. In the process of becoming King Henry’s closest adviser, what will be sacrificed to achieve his goals?
Broken up into six individual episodes, Wolf Hall is a master class in television. Even those who are well versed in period and the stories of the characters will be blown away. I was mesmerized by this program. The acting is top notch, the details are everywhere and the story, even though it is set in 16th century England is as old as time.
I absolutely recommend it.
Wolf Halls airs Sunday nights on PBS.