Their relationship may have been, um, cut short, but Jodie Turner-Smith’s Anne Boleyn and Mark Stanley’s Henry VIII look pretty cosy in the first image of the pair from the upcoming Channel 5 drama.
In Variety’s exclusive first look, Turner-Smith’s Tudor queen is nestled against the formidable Henry VIII, played by “White House Farm” actor Stanley, when times were, presumably, better.
Boleyn is the most notorious of Henry VIII’s six wives (obviously, they were the problem), best known for her untimely demise by execution. The three-part psychological thriller “Anne Boleyn” for ViacomCBS-backed U.K. broadcaster Channel 5 will explore the final months of Boleyn’s life from her perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.
The series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, reflecting her strength, fatal vulnerabilities and determination to be an equal among men.
The show wrapped production on location in Yorkshire in December, and is set to air later this year. Turner-Smith on Wednesday exited her deal to star in “The Witcher: Blood Origin,” Netflix’s prequel series to its buzzy fantasy drama “The Witcher,” citing a scheduling conflict. The actor made a splash in 2019 with her starring role opposite Daniel Kaluuya in Universal’s “Queen & Slim” and will next be seen in A24’s “After Yang,” opposite Colin Farrell, and in Amazon’s “Without Remorse,” starring Michael B. Jordan.
Produced by Fable Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, “Anne Boleyn” garnered headlines last year for Turner-Smith’s casting, which marks one of a handful of times a Black actor has portrayed a major royal figure on a British terrestrial broadcaster. More recently, Sophie Okonedo played Queen of England Margaret, who was married to Henry VI, in the BBC’s “The Hollow Crown.” She starred opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.
“Anne Boleyn” is produced by Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell through the London-based outfit Fable Pictures. The series was commissioned by Channel 5 controller Ben Frow, deputy director of programs Sebastian Cardwell and Sony Pictures Television’s president of international production Wayne Garvie. Historian Dan Jones serves as executive producer.
Full image below: