June saw the season finales of both ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Doctor Who’. With both shows now plotting their eventual return next year, you may be looking for another series to jump into. The BBC is premiering ‘The White Queen’ this week and it has all of the deception, sword-fighting, horseback-riding and sexual desires that you may be missing in your lineup now.
Set in 1464, ‘The White Queen’ takes place during a key moment in England’s expansive history, during a time of civil unrest and in the midst of a brutal civil-war. This war was fought between the houses of Lancaster and York, and both factions took up their house-symbols and waged war against one another. The two houses were represented by a red rose and a white rose, which is why this time-period was named ‘The War of the Roses’. The series begins nine years into the war, with both sides locked in combat and both sides claiming a different successor as the true King of England.
The White Queen will be a 10-hour adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical novel series, The Cousin’s War, and it will debut on BBC One later this month. The show will touch on the treacherous politicians, the blood-thirsty war generals and select members of each houses as all of them plot against each other to win favors and secure their place in society. The stories told in the series are imagined through the eyes of three different women, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville.
On one side we have the House of York, with Edward IV (Max Irons, Red Riding Hood, The Host) already crowned King of England with the help of the Earl of Warwick “The Kingmaker” (James Frain, True Blood, The Tudors). Trouble arises when Edward falls in love and secretly marries a beautiful young widow, named Elizabeth Woodville (played by the newly discovered actress Rebecca Ferguson). Warwick and the newly married Queen are instantly at odds with each other as both try to manipulate the King from the shadows of the throne.
Elizabeth Woodville’s mother Jacquetta (Academy & Tony award nominee Janet McTeer) is joined by Elizabeth’s most dangerous and most cunning Margaret Beaufort (played by Amanda Hale, The Crimson Petal And The White). Baufort is a dangerous nemesis, one who will risk everything and everyone if it means her son Henry Tudor would take the throne. The third character in the series is Anne Neville (played by Faye Marsay), who marries the King’s younger brother Richard Duke of Gloucester (played by Aneurin Bernard, Ironclad, We’ll Take Manhattan) an begins to plot her own schemes to bolster her control over the realm.
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama, stated: “One of the most ambitious series the BBC has made, this 10-part series is an epic drama that makes real history as gripping as the best fiction, featuring a cast of extraordinary new talent and some of our finest actors.”
Rounding out the cast is Juliet Aubrey (Countess of Warwick), Veerle Baetens (Margaret of Anjou), Joey Batey (Edward of Lancaster), Leo Bill (Sir Reginald Bray), Emily Berrington (Jane Shore), Ed Brody (Richard Grey), Ashley Charles (Thomas Grey), Elinor Crawley (Princess Cecily), Arthur Darvill (Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham), Shaun Dooley (Sir Robert Brackenbury), Simon Ginty (John Rivers), Caroline Goodall (Duchess Cecily), Andrew Gower (Lord Strange), Rupert Graves (Lord Thomas Stanley), Nick Hendrix (Edmund Beaufort), Michael Jenn (Dr Lewis), Ben Lamb (Anthony Rivers), Michael Maloney (Henry Stafford) and Michael Marcus (Henry Tudor), Freya Mavor (Princess Lizzy), Lizzy McInnerny (Lady Sutcliffe), Tom McKay (Jasper Tudor), Hugh Mitchell (Richard Welles), David Oakes (George Duke of Clarence), Eve Ponsonby (Mary Woodville), Robert Pugh (Baron Rivers), Frances Tomelty (Lady Beauchamp), Eleanor Tomlinson (Isabel Neville) and Rupert Young (Sir William Herbert).
The White Queen was filmed on location in Belgium, a location chosen due to its importance in history during this time-period. Executive Producers include John Griffin, George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Philipp Gregory. The series was written by Emma Frost, Lisa Mcee and Malcom Campbell. As I mentioned earlier, the series is based on the novel-series written by Philippa Gregory.
The White Queen premiers on BBC One on Sunday June 16, 2013.