Thursday, 19 February 2015

Wolf Hall

Oh my God this is just so boring.  But not only is it tortuously slow and dull TV but it is bad history, added with a script which tries, pathetically, to be 'relevant' and to 'connect' with modern audiences by sprinkling modern idioms about and making the 'hero' Thomas Cromwell behave in a 'modern' way.

Perhaps I should not surprised at how awful this series is as I did try to read the book - yes I really tried - but it was just so badly written I gave up.  Now actually I am a bit of an expert on historical novels having been bought up in a house with no TV and by a father who considered that the only books worthy of being read by his children where those which contained masses of bloody thirsty scenes where plucky English lads whacked smelly foreigners.  This love of GOOD historical novels continues to this day - sadly though - with the odd exception like Robert Harris - really good historical novelists are very scarce

As with historical novels so with historical TV and films.  If you want to see what I mean get the box set of the superb Henry VIII and his Six Wives TV series of 1970 starring Keith Michell or the follow up, Elizabeth R, starring Glenda Jackson to see just how good historical drama can be with a decent script or give yourself a treat and settle down to watch the superb film Man of all Seasons  starring the incomparable Paul Schofield as Sir Thomas Moore.  Because it is by these yardsticks that Wolf Hall needs to be measured and - when it is - you see just how dreadful it is.

Still - I suppose I will keep watching it - if only because my wife enjoys it and I don't want to miss out in him getting his come uppance and having his head chopped off.


  1. Hello

    I've been watching Wolf Hall and although I felt bored at first, the stunning settings and gentle lighting drew me in. And so I fell, with the help of the music and found myself seeing things in a rather upside-down way. You see I was brought up on Robert Bolt's "A Man For All Seasons' and because of this I always thought Thomas More to be a man of conscience, rather like John Proctor in The Crucible. However since recently seeing The Crucible I have changed my mind about John Proctor and am beginning to see Thomas Cromwell in a different light - if not a poorly lit one! I rather like the fellow, in fact I more than like him - i feel I can see him and understand him. I used to think him a despicable character but watching the interpretation of his character in Wolf Hall I understand his movements. Learning about Sir Thomas More has made me think him despicable.
    And so I am enjoying Wolf Hall as it is altering my thoughts. I also think the filming of it is extraordinary as there are moments of still beauty where I feel I am looking at an oil painting. I think I may cry if I see Thomas Cromwell having his head chopped off. If only I could turn my bath into a time travelling machine, set the taps for the 1500's and watch the drama unfold first hand.

  2. ....and what about the dreadful Downton Abbey. What a load of cods wallop!