Mini Series Review: Wolf Hall

Based on the books by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall details Henry VIII's desire to divorce his first wife and all that that entails, from the point of view of a lawyer - Thomas Cromwell. Here he is portrayed by Mark Rylance.

Cromwell starts (in the pilot) as lawyer to the slowly fading (in power and later health) Cardinal Wolsey, here portrayed by Jonathan Pryce. Both men are quick witted with the other powerful men that they come into contact with, Henry VIII (here portrayed by Damian Lewis), Sir Thomas More (here portrayed by Anton Lesser), among others.
 A more than just essential quality, knowing when and what to say and in what manner often meant the difference in whether your fortunes would rise or fall or - if you were going to get a little more than usual taken off the top.

Hats off to the writers for keeping the pace swift and the barbed and veiled comments coming from all directions - yet you still follow the story with little to no difficulty.

The rest of the (major) cast, Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn, Bernard Hill as her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, David Robb as her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn. Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Rafe Sadler and Mark Gatiss as Bishop Gairdner.

All, plus supporting cast (I'd be at this all day if I list them all) portray their roles with aplomb. I have seen half of the six episodes of this mini series and if they are as high in quality as the second half, I think this will go down as one of the truly great historical dramas of the year.


  1. This quote comes another excellent historical drama.

    Paul Revere: “Word around Boston is that Gage is coming for you. He catches you, you’ll hang.
    Sam Adams: Even if he catches me, that’s one thing. If he finds all this… [Men & arms]
    Paul Revere: Very well. I know a house down the road in Lexington. You can hide out there til we come up with a plan.
    Sam Adams: Good.
    Paul Revere: Sam.
    Sam Adams: Hmmm?
    Paul Revere: What about him?
    Sam Adams: Him who?
    Paul Revere: Hancock.
    Sam Adams: What about Hancock?
    Paul Revere: Gage knows that he’s paying for all this. He’s a fugitive too.
    Sam Adams: Well then, I suppose he’s coming with me, isn’t he? One week. I’ll tell him. [Pause] I might leave out the hanging.
    Paul Revere: Probably a good idea.”


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