'Versailles' Review: Louis' Lustrous Locks Reign Supreme In Episode 1

The BBC drama tells the story of France's Sun King Louis XIV.

This sumptuous period French romp has, on first inspection, everything desired by those viewers still lamenting the end of the Tudors, those waiting for the next instalment of 'Wolf Hall'.

Instead of Hampton Court, we get Versailles, during the turbulent early reign of Louis XIV, a man determined to turn the grounds of his father's former hunting lodge into the centrepiece of his capricious monarchy. It's early days, but somebody mentioned a vague plan to have a hall. With some mirrors in it.

But never mind all that… what about his hair? Because Louis seems to be reserving the biggest part of his sovereign privilege for his barnet, splendid in all its conditioned finery, setting him apart from his subjects with their greasy dregs. I think we can expect memes.

<strong>Louis's brother Philippe is just one of his courtly challenges</strong>
Louis's brother Philippe is just one of his courtly challenges

There's a lot to enjoy here, even if it does occasionally appear like a children's drama - and the script perhaps best served by subtitles - as these hipsters bonk and battle their way through this golden chapter of history just across the channel.

When he's not dousing his mop in Timotei, Louis is busy lusting after his brother's wife, ruthlessly rooting out traitors both inside court and beyond, and squabbling with his feckless brother. Ah yes, the brother - the louche Philippe, who, thus far, has all the best lines. Slammed by his brother for spending 50,000 on shoes, he twitches his little mouth and retorts, "You haven't seen the shoes." Seemingly a man with the bon mot, whatever the occasion.

'Versailles' Ep 1 is on BBCiPlayer, and continues on BBC Two. Tap the picture below to open the slideshow:

'Versailles' Drama