TV Review: The White Queen

This TV adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen proves rather schlockily enjoyable

“You live in a country that is divided”

Philippa Gregory’s novels have long been a pleasure for me, a guilty pleasure if I believed in such a thing, as her female-focused, historical fictions offer much trashy enjoyment. A miniseries of The White Queen was created in 2013 but though it aired on the BBC and garnered some award success, it proved to be a one-off (for five years at least).

The White Queen is an adaptation of her Cousins’ War series ((The White QueenThe Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter) and uses the Wars of the Roses as its backdrop to explore the roles of some of the most powerful women in the country. Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, Anne Neville – all determined to parlay their dynastic power into a real shot at the English throne.

And Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale and Faye Marsay do a fine job in selling the often soapy plotting, as thirty years of dense history is refined into 10 episodes which also toss real witchcraft into the mix as well for good measure because, you know…history! It is frequently quite daft (and not necessarily always intentionally) but ultimately, it is highly watchable.

Matters are aided by the likes of Janet McTeer and Rupert Graves in a quality ensemble, plus Max Irons, David Oakes and Aneurin Barnard as the dynamic York brothers. The twists on the princes in the tower story are intriguingly done, and it all kinda works for me in terms of undemanding entertainment, just like the books really.

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