After spending six weeks watching Mark Rylance do the best "I'm glum but determined and actually a lot smarter than you imagine" face, whilst also never fully closing his eyes, I now feel totally qualified to pass comment on all things Tudor. I must stress that those six weeks were watching the superb Wolf Hall, not following him about in real life, as a niche hobby.
For me, the best thing about Wolf Hall is that I was never, at any point, totally convinced that I knew what was happening, but I still loved spending time with the gang. There was the episode where it seemed like Wolsey had given birth to kittens and then fell ill, there was the episode where Henry pretended to die, as a prank, and there was the episode where Anne spilt lots of red paint all over the floor. Loved it. So, in honour of my newfound knowledge, here are my top five Tudors.
5. John Dee
He was a pretty sweet alchemist and wore a ruff with the best of them. Despite being one of the most learned men of his age, a promoter of maths and an astronomer he was also a bit of a nerd. He had the biggest library going and was very zealous with the charging of late fees. A notorious figure for conspiracy theorists because he did magic and science, so obviously is evidence of the supernatural.
4. Anne of Cleves
A bloody German, and one from the top drawer. Henry VIII decided he wanted to marry her, rather than her sister, based on a painting someone did of the two of them. He was a real class act. But Anne was there for Henry when he was mourning Jane Seymour, even though he didn't really fancy her that much. Or at all in fact, because they got divorced without having consummated the marriage. Then she lived out her days, rich and happy, pretty pleased that she'd played the bloody Tudors at their own game, and won.
3. Barnaby Fitzpatrick
Apparently he was the Royal Whipping Boy for Edward VI. Staggering what some people will do for work. Was described as being very naughty, killed a rebel like they do in Star Wars and then died on September 11th 1581. The original 9/11.
2. Mary Stuart
Mary was the Queen of Scotland at six days old. SIX. And by all accounts* she was real good at it. She married her first cousin, her house got blown up, she claimed to be the Queen of England, Scotland and France at the same time and when being executed she was totally chill about it. Then, plot twist, her famous red hair was revealed to be a wig when the executioner held her head aloft and it dropped to floor, leaving the wig in his hands. The original prankster.
*by no accounts
1. Walter Raleigh
An explorer, a bounder and a spy. He absolutely nailed bringing tobacco back to England and getting everyone hooked - the ultimate cool kid at school. "Oh go on, one won't hurt, come one, everyone's doing it, go on, I sailed the distant oceans to bring this back, least you could do is blaze one up for me." He was really hot as well, like "young actor working in a café" hot, he also went in search for El Dorado a few times and got executed for being too badass for the Spanish to deal with. The original Arjen Robben.
Do you agree with this list? I'm sure this will have stirred up some debate with everyone out there, so let me know your top five Tudors. Before you finalise your list, take a look at this comedy sketch I directed; unofficially (legally: not at all) part of the Wolf Hall universe.