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'The White Queen' Episode 1 Review - Rebecca Ferguson Shines In This Regal Romp

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'The White Queen' stepped confidently into the Sunday evening drama slot, ready to take a Downton-like grip on our imaginations.

Judging by this first episode, it shouldn't be too difficult. 'The White Queen' shares the mystical mystery of 'Game of Thrones' with the courtly pageantry - and clunky dialogue, it has to be said - of 'The Tudors'. What's not to like?

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Rebecca Ferguson plays commoner Elizabeth Woodville, destined for the throne of England

It's been reported that historians will grimace at this re-telling of the Wars of the Roses, but novelist Philippa Gregory, on whose book the series is based, has made the point that, bearing in mind we're talking about events of 1464 here, it's pretty much anyone's guess.

You could see the whole thing as a contemporarily relevant feminist polemic, with Lancastrian commoner Elizabeth Woodville (newcomer Rebecca Ferguson - no, another one) forced to use her womanly wiles to climb her own social ladder once her husband's death deprives her of all status.

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The BBC has spent a reported £1 million an episode on 'The White Queen'

Or a slightly supernatural tale with Elizabeth's mother (fabulous Janet McTeer) spinning her own gothic spell with daughter as mere puppet. Or a royal romance where even a York King (Max Irons, son of Jeremy) with a war going on can't resist a "roadside strumpet" with the face of an angel, much to cousin Warwick's despair and mother Cecily's cartoonish contempt.

At an estimated £1 million spent on each of the 10 episodes, the BBC will be praying that many eyeballs will be coming to this regal romp. For sure, whatever their people politics, there's loads to feast on for those who do - particularly the gorgeous Rebecca Ferguson, obviously a star in the making, reeling in the young King, and keeping us all guessing as to what she will do now she's convinced him to put a ring on it, and incite in Warwick a tantrum of Malcolm Tucker-esque proportions.

Around the Web

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory: review - Telegraph

The White Queen (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sex, skulduggery and magic in BBC One's The White Queen