Just a few days ago, the Guardian newspaper produced a review of “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” and the history lovers of social media kicked up a storm. I became aware of the ‘review’ when Dan Jones posted something about it on facebook so, me being me, I decided to satisfy my curiosity about just why everyone was getting their knickers in a twist about this review. I kind of wish I hadn’t gone and read it now – it was full of complete and utter tripe from someone who obviously doesn’t enjoy history of any kind and who doesn’t understand that TV history like this is here to stay. The author of the piece seems to be convinced that Worsley’s latest work is going to herald the end for TV history and really didn’t like the fact that “Six Wives” had – hold on to your chairs, kids – acting in it. I sat there for a bit, stewed on what I had read and then posted about it on facebook.
I have to say I disagree with absolutely everything that the ‘review’ states. In all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever watched a documentary with Lucy Worsley that has proven to be a disappointment, and this one was no different. Whilst the story of Henry VIII’s wives has been told over and over again, I found Worsley’s offering to be a refreshing change. Rather than being spoken at for an hour by some dull as dishwater bloke in tweed, you had a wonderful mix of drama and fact giving. The acting provided the perfect accompaniment to the story that Worsley was telling – in this episode we had Henry VIII’s first marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the beginnings of his passion for Anne Boleyn – and Worsley herself got involved. She watched as the story unfolded as if she were a lady in waiting to the Queen, explaining key events and even doing a little bit of acting herself.
I was thoroughly impressed with this retelling of Catherine of Aragon’s story and the way Worsley made it fresh and accessible. It’s history like this which will awaken the love of the subject in the younger generations, something which I 110% will get behind. Lucy Worsley has done a fantastic job here and I cannot wait to watch the next episode.
And let me tell you, TV history is far from being finished.