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The Tudors Case Study

Rob Miller | Wednesday October 05, 2011

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR AS, Hot Entries, Television, Television Drama

Institutional Factors | Production and Historical Context

The Tudors is a critically and commercially successful Period Drama, (a sub genre of TV Drama), produced by an Independent Production Company, commissioned by the BBC and screened on BBC2 in October 2007 but originally shown on the American cable channel, Showtime. It ran for four seasons until 2010. Screenwriter Michael Hurst created the series, he had previously written Elizabeth, also commissioned by the BBC in 1998 and is noted for his key focus on Period Dramas, also referred to as Historical Fiction TV Series or Costume Melodramas.

Filmed in Ireland The Tudors is a collaboration between Peace Arch Entertainment, a Canadian production company based in Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – UK based Working Title TV acted as Associate Production Company and the series was swiftly acquired for British television. Historical narratives about English cultural heritage are often commercially successful in North America with audiences enjoying the representations of social class and history that American history is unable to provide in such a rich, lavish pageant as The Tudors. UK/US film Period Dramas like Atonement sold well in America for the same reason with Sony Pictures retaining the international distribution rights to the programme. The BBC has a long running tradition of broadcasting quality Period Dramas.

The Tudors stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry V111 – Meyers is a well know character actor whose body of work includes Bend in Like Beckham (2002) and Velvet Goldmine (1998). The programme was a Period Drama much nominated for television awards e.g. the Golden Globe for Best TV Drama in 2007 but only achieving critical success in Ireland unlike its contemporary TV Drama, Downton Abbey who in September 2011 won four Emmys. Downton Abbey also explores English culture heritage. It is written by Julian Fellows, starring Dame Maggie Smith and is...


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