I hadn't realised – until I read this book – how much work Henry VIII's marital problems caused the stonemasons of Hampton Court. After years of carving the letters H&C all over the place, Henry got rid of Catherine of Aragon, so the Cs had to be reworked as As. But, no sooner was the last A in place than Anne Boleyn was executed on Tower Hill and the As had to become Js to suit Jane Seymour, who promptly died in childbirth. And there were still three more queens to go, so, lots more chiseling, presumably.
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Charles Jarrott: Film director best known for 'Anne of the Thousand Days' and 'Mary, Queen of Scots'
Wednesday 09 March 2011
Charles Jarrott's most successful films were the first two he directed in Hollywood, the Elizabethan dramas Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots. He won a Golden Globe for the former, but perhaps tellingly, he was not nominated for an Oscar for either film, though Anne of the Thousand Days received 10 nominations, including Best Actor and Best Actress. Subsequently he had to live down the dubious distinction of having directed one of the worst screen musicals ever made, the ludicrous Lost Horizon (1973). But before taking up a Hollywood contract Jarrott worked for many years in television, and if his film career was not distinguished, his work on television included notable collaborations with such writers as Harold Pinter, Arnold Wesker, Alun Owen and Johnny Speight.
Monday 14 February 2011
Wednesday 09 February 2011
Sunday 19 December 2010
Hilary Mantel's portrait of the blacksmith's son who rose to become Henry VIII's right-hand man, and for a time, the most powerful individual in the country, is a tour de force. It seems unfair to cite this book in a "best of" list once again, after it dominated so many of last year's selections, but it still outclasses almost anything else (and costs less than half as much in paperback, out this year).
Thursday 11 November 2010
Cronyism (noun, abst): the divvying up of the decent bits and the giving of them to one's mates. If you want the most enduring image of cronyism, think not of Iraq and Halliburton or Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole's stellar career. Instead, go all the way back to the Domesday Book, which catalogues the land shared out by William the Conqueror to the feudal lords that helped him win.
Friday 06 August 2010
Theatre: I went to see my friend Hannah Stokely in 'After the Dance' at the National. It is a seldom-done Terence Rattigan play that I had never heard of, let alone seen before, and it is an absolutely sublime production. Han and I were at drama school together and were laughing about what a relief it is when a friend's show is good and you don't have to rehearse a believable compliment on the way up to the dressing room.
Wednesday 04 August 2010
Yet another example this week of the fatally divergent galaxies inhabited by men and women. While the latest trend reports have women hotfooting it to the local salon to get their hair dyed grey, a survey reveals that 51 per cent of men find encroaching silver strands one of the scariest prospects in the canon of depressing inevitabilities.
Anne Boleyn, Shakespeare's Globe, London<br/>The Prince of Homburg, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>The Railway Children, Waterloo Station, London
Sunday 01 August 2010
Wednesday 28 July 2010
Tuesday 29 June 2010
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Friday 18 June 2010
In a court crammed with charismatic figures, Anne Boleyn was probably its most captivating player.
Thursday 27 May 2010
Henry VIII is notorious as the play which burned down the original Globe when its thatched roof was set on fire by the cannon shot saluting the entrance of the King in an early scene. To modern taste, that disaster has come to look like a shrewd critical verdict on the play. It's no surprise that the reconstructed Globe has only now got round to presenting the play in a vivid, robust, and winningly well-conceived production by Mark Rosenblatt.
Friday 09 April 2010
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
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Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
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