Blu-rays of the Day: The Tudors, Seasons I-III
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Jeremy Northam, Sarah Bolger, Nick Dunning, James Frain, Sam Neill, Peter O’Toole.
Creator: Michael Hirst.
Score: Trevor Morris.
Cinematography: Ousama Rawi.
This was England 600 years ago, when a young Henry VIII had ascended the throne – or at least how Michael Hirst, the writer of the two Elizabeth movies, imagines it over three seasons (with a fourth to come). He reveals on the first-season Blu-ray how he initially rejected overtures to turn the Tudor dynasty into soap opera. “But it was a long lunch and by early evening I was mellowing … I wanted something that would resonate with American and contemporary audiences, even if my view of Henry and the period would exercise some English historians.” The extras on the other two seasons are of curiosity value only, the best being season three’s fascinating short on Hampton Court. But where are the commentaries, documentaries and behind-the-scenes details, such as why the role of Jane Seymour was re-cast in season three, that befit a costume drama of this calibre? The paltry extras notwithstanding, the Blu-rays are worth it for HD transfers that showcase the programme’s attention to period detail and sumptuous colours far more vividly than the upscaled TV broadcasts.