A Tale of Two Henries

To the British Library and the Henry VIII Man and Monarch exhibition. Rather an old-fashioned show, with no electronic trickery or interactive stuff, no video recreations and definitely no guides in dublets and codpieces (thankfully). Yet the story, simply told by portraits, original documents and letters (including those from wives and courtiers Henry beheaded) was strangely gripping and doing good business. Hurry – it closes on 6 September! But now I’m braced for the new BBC2 series The Tudors, described as a ‘blood and bonkfest’ and ‘gratuitously awful’ by purists. Tracy Borman, Head of the Heritage Education Trust, notes the unfeasibly beautiful actors, dodgy costumes and improbable storylines, but admits the show ‘undoubtedly stimulated interest in British History’. Like her I suspect I’m going to be strangely addicted.