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Anne Boleyn viewers are left ‘unimpressed’ and ‘bored’ during first episode

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Anne Boleyn viewers were left ‘unimpressed’ and ‘bored’ on Tuesday night as they pointed out ‘historical inaccuracies’ during the first episode.

The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.

The first episode saw Anne share a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew, while it also featured several racy sex scenes between Anne and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley.  

First episode: Anne Boleyn viewers were left 'unimpressed' and 'bored' on Tuesday night as they pointed out 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first episode (Jodie Turner-Smith pictured as Anne Boleyn in show still)

First episode: Anne Boleyn viewers were left ‘unimpressed’ and ‘bored’ on Tuesday night as they pointed out ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first episode (Jodie Turner-Smith pictured as Anne Boleyn in show still) 

Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her ‘brilliant’ portrayal, show watchers were left ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were ‘expecting more’ from the show. 

One person said: ‘Just watched the new #anneboleyn programme and i’m really not sure yet.   

‘There are certain parts I love but certain parts that seem quite out of character. I’ll reserve judgement until i’ve seen it in its entirety but for now..i’m unsure.’

A different account put: ‘Really wanted to like this as I’m an avid Tudor era fan…..but after 30 mins I’d had enough. Henry too feeble, the court felt very flat & boring and no depth to the characters. #disappointed #AnneBoleyn.’

New drama: The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, and the first episode included a tender onscreen kiss between Anne and her love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

New drama: The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, and the first episode included a tender onscreen kiss between Anne and her love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew 

Another show watcher claimed that every adaptation of Anne Boleyn is ‘riddled with historical inaccuracies’, they ranted: ‘Every single adaptation of Anne’s story to date – and yes, I’ve seen every one – is riddled with historical inaccuracies.’

A different viewer penned: ‘Well, that episode was disappointing. #AnneBoleyn,’ with another show watcher writing: ‘Good production but nothing new added. Was expecting more.’ 

While a separate account added: ‘Anne Boleyn on @channel5_tv was a slow burn, but @MissJodie was perfect in the role! #AnneBoleyn.’

However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn’t wait to watch the next episode. 

'Disappointed': Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her 'brilliant' portrayal, show watchers were left 'unimpressed' by the 'historical inaccuracies' in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were 'expecting more' from the show

‘Disappointed’: Yet despite viewers praising Jodie for her ‘brilliant’ portrayal, show watchers were left ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘historical inaccuracies’ in the script during the first instalment and claimed they were ‘expecting more’ from the show

One person said: ‘I really enjoyed #AnneBoleyn and was gripped by the brilliant portrayal by @MissJodie . Can’t wait for the next episode!!’

A different account put: ‘Loved it. Loved that they made Anne a fully rounded character. She’s often portrayed as an innocent victim or a malicious scheming vixen. 

‘But this showed her as intelligent, interested in religion and frightened of her powelessness. Love it #AnneBoleyn.’

Another viewer tweeted: ‘All I can say is that @MissJodie is an absolute QUEEN #AnneBoleyn,’ followed by a heart emoji. 

While another show watcher added: ‘Jodie was brilliant in that first episode. Looking forward to the rest. #AnneBoleyn.’

Excitement: However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn't wait to watch the next episode

Excitement: However, other viewers were quick to praise the Channel 5 three-part drama and exclaimed that they couldn’t wait to watch the next episode

During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew.

The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display.

During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England. 

Kiss: During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew

Kiss: During the first episode, Jodie as Anne shared a tender onscreen kiss with love rival Jane Seymour, played by Lola Petticrew 

The new Channel 5 three-part drama re-imagines the final months of the doomed queen and the opening scene reads: ‘England 1536, Anne Boleyn has been Queen for two and a half years. 

‘She has one daughter, Elizabeth, but Henry is desperate for a son. Anne has miscarried twice, now she is pregnant again, less than 24 hours after the last queen’s death. 

‘Henry and Anne are throwing a party. Anne is the most powerful woman in England, she has just five months to live.’

Prior to Anne’s kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: ‘Just be sure Jane doesn’t get any ideas in her head, she’s a spiteful little b***h at times….’

Love rival: During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England

Love rival: During the first episode, it sees a pregnant Anne blindsided by the realisation that Henry has an eye on one of her ladies, Jane Seymour, who eventually goes on to succeed her as the Queen of England

Racy! The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, 34, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display

Racy! The opening instalment also involved racy sex scenes between Anne, played by Jodie, 34, and Henry VIII, played by Mark Stanley, with one moment seeing the doomed queen strangle her husband before putting on a passionate display 

After realising Jane has overheard, Anne reassures: ‘I don’t mean you, my little mouse, the other Jane…’

Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss.

Anne says: ‘I wanted to take a moment to talk to you, woman to woman, I feel like I am uniquely placed to understand what you might feel right now… 

‘I know what it’s like to have all their eyes on you yet never be seen. They make you feel like a piece of meat!’

Warning: Prior to Anne's kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: 'Just be sure Jane doesn't get any ideas in her head, she's a spiteful little b***h at times....'

Warning: Prior to Anne’s kiss with Jane, the doomed queen is seen sending a warning as she says loudly in ear shot: ‘Just be sure Jane doesn’t get any ideas in her head, she’s a spiteful little b***h at times….’

Interrogation: Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss

Interrogation: Trying to suss out her love rival, Anne asks Jane to take a walk with her as she interrogates her before sharing a passionate kiss 

Anne then asks: ‘Are you in love, Jane?’ to which she replies: ‘No…’

The doomed queen continues: ‘You’re lucky, it’s difficult to love a man… especially when he is your husband. Remember who you are, don’t betray yourself and you won’t live to forget.’

Anne then shares a passionate kiss with Jane, to which she responds: ‘Yes, I can see the appeal…’ 

After the embrace, Jane admits: ‘Your grace, I do wish to marry one day… but I know it will not be for love, I perceive little good to come from that.’

Explaining her decision to marry, she continues: ‘Security, honour, safety…’

Oh dear: And things go from bad to worse when the doomed queen walks in on Jane sitting on Henry's lap where she giggles: 'My lord!'

Oh dear: And things go from bad to worse when the doomed queen walks in on Jane sitting on Henry’s lap where she giggles: ‘My lord!’

Anne then issues a warning to Jane as she replies: ‘You’ll never find security in the king’s bed!’

Later in the episode, Anne admits she wants to send Jane away on ‘another diplomatic mission abroad’.

Anne Boleyn: Who is Jane Seymour star Lola Petticrew?   

Lola Petticrew is starring as Jane Seymour in the new Channel 5 drama Anne Boleyn. 

Lola, 25, is from Belfast and has appeared in the likes of Jed Mercurio’s Bloodlands, BBC’s Three Families and in the critically acclaimed film Dating Amber. 

The star will next be seen in Wolf alongside the likes of Lily-Rose Depp and George MacKay. 

And things go from bad to worse when the doomed queen walks in on Jane sitting on Henry’s lap where she giggles: ‘My lord!’

Anne confronts the two and rips Jane’s necklace off, which has a picture of Henry in it, before slapping her across the face. 

The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby and the doomed queen is left further distressed when she sees Jane and Henry close once again.

Anne, who should be resting, decides to join them outside where she declares: ‘I won’t allow that w***e to take my place while I lie on my back.’

Yet as soon as the doomed queen goes outside, Henry gallops off on his horse as Anne screams: ‘Henry, won’t you say goodbye to your wife!’ 

Anne then falls to the ground while those around her try to call a doctor but she ominously says: ‘No physician can save me now…’

Prior to the first episode, Jodie teased what viewers can expect from the series, she said: ‘I would describe Anne as fierce, passionate and opinionated, all characteristics that for a woman, especially in the British court, would have been very threatening to the men around her. 

‘When we meet Anne she’s really riding high; Katherine of Aragon was put aside for her and has just died, Anne is pregnant with what she is thinking is a son and she already has one healthy child with Henry. So in many ways, she feels untouchable and [is] at the height of her feminine power when we meet her.’

Elsewhere Lola, who plays Jane, said it is refreshing that the series focuses on the female gaze.

Distressing: The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby

Distressing: The confrontation causes Anne to tragically miscarry her baby 

The star said: ‘I think that so often we see ourselves used as a tool or a device on screen for a man’s story, and what’s happening between these two women is so much more interesting. 

‘These are two women that have to clamber and fight for their place at the table. [Despite their differences] I think in a way there’s a mutual respect between the two women – they have to do what they have to do in order to survive.’

Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5’s three-part drama.

Speaking to Radio TimesThe Queen and Slim star admitted that she knew it might be ‘a stretch’ for some viewers to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII, but said she was sure others were ‘finally ready’ to see her in the role.

Jodie is the first black actress to portray Anne, and she follows in the footsteps of Natalie Dormer, Claire Foy and Natalie Portman by playing the historic part. 

'I am aware it's going to be a stretch for some people': Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5's three-part drama

‘I am aware it’s going to be a stretch for some people’: Last month, Jodie reflected on being the first black actress to be cast as Anne Boleyn in Channel 5’s three-part drama

Reflecting on this, Jodie told the publication: ‘It’s much more approachable and appealing to a contemporary audience when you cast this way because we are distilling this down to a human experience.

‘If you ask anyone to watch a film or to observe any art, you are asking them to suspend their beliefs.

‘I am aware it’s going to be a stretch for some people because they will feel too distracted by that, but I think for a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they’re going to see that this is a human story we are telling, and a fascinating one at that.’  

Thoughts: Jodie said while some viewers might find it hard to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII (pictured), she was sure others were 'finally ready' to see her in the role

Thoughts: Jodie said while some viewers might find it hard to see her as the doomed second wife of Henry VIII (pictured), she was sure others were ‘finally ready’ to see her in the role

Anne Boleyn will explore the final months of Anne Boleyn’s life from the eponymous Queen’s perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her. 

The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength, her fatal vulnerabilities and her determination to be an equal among men. 

The cast also includes I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu, who will portray the role of Anne’s brother and Tudor nobleman George. 

Candid: Jodie said, 'For a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they're going to see that this is a human story we are telling'

Candid: Jodie said, ‘For a lot of other people who are finally ready to see the world in a different way, they’re going to see that this is a human story we are telling’

Dating Amber star Lola is featured as Anne’s love rival, Jane Seymour, who succeeded her as the Queen of England. 

Jamael Westman, Amanda Burton and Thalissa Teixeira also play roles in the mini-series – which finished production on location in Yorkshire in December 2020. 

Penned by writer Eve Hedderwick Turner and directed by Lynsey Miller, Anne Boleyn aims to ‘challenge all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story.’

Fable Pictures added: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to have the magnetic Jodie Turner-Smith on board to encapsulate Anne’s determination to be an equal among men and to pave a path for her daughter. 

Regal: In the photo, the Queen & Slim star, 34, posed in a traditional Tudor gown and headpiece for new three-part psychological thriller

Background: The series explores the final moments of the queen’s life from her lens before she is executed by her husband 

‘We feel that history has side-lined the voice of this ambitious Queen in favour of the men who brought her down, and that Lynsey Miller’s beautiful, intimate vision will put Anne’s gaze at the heart of the piece.’ 

Ben Frow, director of programs at ViacomCBS, added: ‘This project re-frames her story as a propulsive psychological thriller, told from a new perspective, with top talent like Jodie Turner-Smith attached. 

‘It was simply too irresistible to say no to and I’m very excited to see the finished product.’ 

Director Miller previously defended the decision to give the role to a black actress, after sparking accusations of ‘blackwashing’.

Challenging conventions: The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength and her determination to be an equal among men

Challenging conventions: The three-part series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, unpicking her immense strength and her determination to be an equal among men

The TV executive said: ‘I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it. I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. 

‘There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them.’  

It is the second time a BAME actress has played the role of Anne Boleyn on screen, after Merle Oberon, an Anglo-Indian actress who played the royal in Alexander Korda’s 1933 film The Private Life of Henry VIII. 

Queen: Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role of Anne Boleyn alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer's Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors

Queen: Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role of Anne Boleyn alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors

All the stars: Natalie Portman  took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008

Star: Claire Foy played her for the BBC's £7 million series Wolf Hall in 2009

All the stars: Natalie Portman took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008, left, while Claire Foy played her for the BBC’s £7 million series Wolf Hall in 2009, right 

Though she claimed she was Australian, in order to avoid prejudice at the time, Oberon was born in India to a British army officer father and Indian mother. She was nicknamed ‘Queenie’ in honour of Queen Mary and King George V’s visit to India in 1911. 

On her role, an excited Jodie, who was born in Peterborough to Jamaican parents, said: ‘Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination. 

Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII’s second wife whose historical significance is often overlooked due to her brutal death

Though perhaps best known in English history for the brutal way in which she met her end, Anne Boleyn’s mark on the country’s history is far more significant.

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn 

Born the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, in 1501, she first came into the eye-sight of Henry VIII in 1522 when she secured a post at court as maid of honour to the king’s first Catherine of Aragon.

It was not until 1526 that Henry began his pursuit of Anne – a pursuit which was initially resisted.

Her refusal to be a mistress sparked Henry to approach the then-Pope to have his marriage annulled.

When it became clear this would not be allowed, Henry began his drive to break the power of the Catholic Church in England – what later became known as the English Reformation.

Henry and Anne formally married in January 1533 – a move which resulted in the Pope excommunicating Henry and him consequently taking control of the Church of England.  

But it was ultimately not a happy marriage after Boleyn failed to produce a male heir. 

In order to marry again he needed a reason to end his marriage to Anne and she was investigated for high treason and sent to the Tower of London.

Her beheading in the tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Boleyn’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Cromwell before he turned on her.  

And her execution immediately followed the death of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die.   

She was convicted on 15 May 1536 and beheaded four days later. 

Henry began courting Jane Seymour in 1536. 

Anne did leave one more mark on English history though, her daughter, Elizabeth, who was crowned as queen in 1558.

During her daughter’s reign, Anne became venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation.

‘In the hands of Lynsey Miller, the legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today.

‘I look forward to bringing my heart and spirit into this daring retelling of the fall of this iconic woman.’  

Henry’s second wife, who was the daughter of English nobility, is also one of the key causes of the English Reformation and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. 

Anne was famously beheaded in 1536 for high treason after failing to produce a male heir. 

Her execution in the Tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell – who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Anne’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. 

She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Thomas before he turned on her. 

Her killing immediately followed the death of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. 

That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Anne’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die. 

Jodie is the latest in a line of Hollywood stars who have taken on the role in recent years.  

Back in 2007, Natalie Dormer took on the role alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s Henry VIII in BBC series, The Tudors.   

The series was panned by critics for its ‘sexed-up, dumbed down’ version of English history, and received hundreds of complaints from viewers and academics who claimed to spot modern radiators, Tarmac driveways, concrete bollards and Victorian carriages.

With its raunchy explicit sex scenes the drama, which ran for four series, was part of a bid to interest younger audiences in history. 

Natalie Portman then took on the role of the Queen for The Other Boleyn Girl – directed by Justin Chadwick – which was moderately successful at the box office when it was released in 2008.

She starred alongside Scarlett Johansson, who played her sister Mary. 

The film followed the plight of Anne Boleyn and her marriage to Henry VIII, played by Eric Bana, as her sister Mary muscled in on the King’s affections with the help of David Morrissey’s character, their uncle The Duke of Norfolk.  

In 2009, Claire Foy took on the role for the BBC’s £7 million series Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novel. 

The show – which also starred Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII – charted the rise of Cromwell from blacksmith’s son to one of the most powerful men in King Henry VIII’s court. 

While viewers praised the cast and their acting abilities, some said the slow pace had sent them to sleep and complained there was too much complex Tudor history to make for entertaining viewing   

Meanwhile, news of Jodie’s role came after months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42.

In the October 2020 issue of Vogue, the British model confirmed her child’s name for the first time in print, and reflected on what it’s been like to parent a newborn in the midst of the pandemic. 

The thespian explained: ‘I had to learn how to breastfeed and how to be a mum—it really worked out for my baby.’

The article reported that after giving birth in April, Jodie’s mother Hilda came to stay with them for three months amid the pandemic, and while protests began erupting around the world in the fight of social justice and racial equality. 

The Queen & Slim star reflected that it was a ‘comfort’ to have both her mother and husband with her and the baby during that time, without the outside pressures of work and amid a time of change and upheaval.  

Anne Boleyn continues on Wednesday night at 9pm on Channel 5. 

New mum: British model Jodie welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42, in April 2020 (pictured November 2019)

New mum: British model Jodie welcomed her daughter, Janie, now 14 months, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42, in April 2020 (pictured November 2019)

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