Sigrid Bernhoerster Staff Writer
It’s going to get hot in the UK and US this summer, maybe!
Since William Shakespeare didn’t write much about the period of Edward IV’s reign (except for as it pertains to Richard III’s disdain and career plans), good thing we have Philippa Gregory to fill in the blanks. Granted, historical fiction does tend to focus more on the fiction bits than accurate historical representation, but choosing this Philippa Gregory book could be viewed as a smart choice by the BBC and Starz, as The White Queen, published in 2008, is the first in a series of books known as The Cousins’ War, covering the period of the Wars of the Roses. There are three books in the series: 2010’s The Red Queen is the second, and The Lady of the Rivers, published in 2011, concludes the story. In other words, lots of material: Edward marrying a commoner Elizabeth Woodville (the titular White Queen), the princes in the Tower (Edward’s sons), House of York vs. House of Lancaster, oh my.
As for this TV version, BBC has chosen The White Queen as one with which it can increase its cultural currency internationally and is collaborating with the American network Starz to help achieve that aim. Casting includes the Swedish and relatively unknown Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville and Max Irons (Red Riding Hood’s Henry and son of Jeremy Irons) as King Edward, as well as David Oakes (Juan Borgia from The Borgias), Juliet Aubrey (Helen Cutter from Primeval), Rupert Graves (Lestrade from BBC’s Sherlock), and James Frain (Thomas Cromwell from The Tudors), just to name a few.
In a recent interview, Irons says that BBC and Starz will be airing slightly different versions of the 10-episode show. Starz appears to have green-lit more nudity etc. than the BBC – Irons: "The cameras kept rolling after the BBC stopped the scene." R-rated elements seem to have worked like a charm for The Tudors, The Borgias, and Game of Thrones, so why the heck not go with some more?Starz viewers will also get more explanatory components, as US audiences will not be as familiar with the “who’s who” of medieval British nobility. Either way, regardless of what the weather does, this summer will get plenty steamy as The White Queen premieres Sunday, June 16 on BBC One and on Starz in the US on August 10.