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The BBC Is Telling the Story of the War of the Roses From the Women’s Perspective, and It Looks Amazing


The recently released promo pics from the upcoming BBC drama The White Queen, which tells the story of the War of the Roses from the perspective of the females involved, have really, really made me want to watch the show. Granted, it was announced a few months ago and I’m only hearing about it now, so my excitement comes less from a sense of “Hey, these are cool promo stills” than “OMG, a British history epic from a female perspective! Give it!”

I don’t know much about the War of the Roses, but reading about The White Queen makes me want to find out more. (Even though, to be technical, the show is based not on the history itself but on Phillippa Gregory‘s historical fiction series The Cousins’ War, which isn’t 100 percent historically accurate. But we can’t have it all.) The show will focus on Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a British king (how has someone not made a series about her already?); her political opponent Margaret Beaufort; and Anne Neville, daughter of “Kingmaker” Lord Warwick and political player in her own right, at least if this show (or, er, history) is going where I think it is.

It’s is one of the most ambitious shows the BBC has ever done and was shot over 125 days in Belgium on a budget of just under $40 million. It will consist of 10 hour-long episodes and will start airing next year.

The number one reason I’m looking forward to this show is history geekery. Number two is female political power players, huzzah! Number three is that I’m riding high on a love of British drama after having found and devoured ’50s period drama The Hour over the last several days (I’m addicted now). However, there are a lot of smaller reasons to be excited about The White Queen, too. And they are, in handy list form:

  • The York/Lancaster political rivalry in War of the Roses inspired the Stark/Lannister rivalry in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Rupert Graves, a.k.a. DI Lestrade from Sherlock is in it. Thank you for always pulling from the same pool of actors, BBC. Looks like historical drama is his division.
  • Also putting in an appearance: The wonderful Janet McTeer.
  • …and Robert Pugh, who played creepy very well as Craster in Game of Thrones.
  • And last but not least, it’s being adapted for the screen by writer Emma Frost, like from X-Men except not. That’s actually the writer’s name. Emma Frost.

(via: FemPop)

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  • Anonymous

    Ah! So excited! Those books are so fantastic! Ah!

  • Anonymous

    I really liked this book a lot, totally down for this

  • Calenestel

    Oh, dear Lord. Please let this air in Sweden eventually. Pleeeeeaaaaase. XD

  • Canisa

    Near the top of the article is the line “the War of the Roses from the perspective of the females involved”; That ought to say ‘the women involved’.

  • Anonymous

    I second that!!

  • Anonymous

    “The York/Lancaster political rivalry in War of the Roses inspired the Stark/Lannister rivalry in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.” That’s putting it lightly.

  • louzeyre

    I was interested up until I saw this was based off of Gregory’s novel.
    The thing with Gregory is that while she writes “from the women’s perspective” she doesn’t just twist historical fact to fit with her own views — she does so in a way that
    often takes all of the slander and accusations thrown against strong historical
    women, especially those woman that go against the system, and writes as if they
    are true.
    In her novels Anne Boleyn really is a self-interested schemer and the
    charges against her are based on fact while her sister Mary and Katherine of
    Aragon are good girls, who were pawns of their families, doing what they were
    expected to do, and who Anne wrongs in her climb to power; Elizabeth Woodville is written not only as a seductress in her novels but as if she really is a witch.

  • nathan

    Females include girls and children – who most certainly aren’t women yet.

  • nathan

    Hello Sweden, this is England.

    Technically, “The White Queen” has already been paid for by the British Tax-Payer. Whilst it’s always good to sell BBC DVD’s and TV dramas to other countries, it really wouldn’t be that much of a problem if you just downloaded the show from one of your more popular file sharing sites. Everyone still gets paid, the BBC won’t shut down. That, or use some software to disguise your IP location and watch it on our terrific BBC Iplayer in HD.

    The BBC only relies on UK members of the public to pay for their TV license, feel free to enjoy BBC shows anyway you can.

  • Calenestel

    Hello, England.

    We love you.

    Yours sincerely:

  • Life Lessons

    The War of the Roses is an amazing historical story. I look forward to seeing this. :)

  • you guys

    Spoiler: House of York loses.