Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty, TV review: Dan Jones's series has turned history into an episode of Game of Thrones

 

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The Independent Culture

A feminist Eccles cake and a cup of tea – what better accompaniment to the enjoyably lightweight documentary Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty on Channel 5?

There's nothing wrong with turning British history into a family drama – Shakespeare did it, after all – yet historian Dan Jones's four-part series about the Plantagenets still runs the risk of being dismissed by purists, especially as it comes so soon after Professor Robert Bartlett's authoritative BBC2 programme.

What with all the buzz words in Jones's narration and the flashy reconstructions of Henry II's court, this series hasn't just turned history into any drama, it's turned it into an episode of Game of Thrones.

That's no bad thing for us GoT fans, although the trendy turn of phrase grew a little wearing. As Jones told it, Henry had never meant to order the murder of his "drinking buddy" Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral, he was "just venting" and when "outrage at this sacrilege went viral" he was duly horrified.

Jones's point was that Henry's ill-chosen words have caused his achievements to be overlooked by history. It would be a shame if the same fate befell this otherwise entertaining series.

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