OK, this was interesting. Kind of the Wars of the Roses meets Shameless (I need a Yorkshire equivalent of Shameless, but can’t think of one). Apparently, nearly everyone who was involved in the Wars of the Roses spoke in a broad northern accent, spent most of their time getting into brawls in pubs, and swore their heads off. How stereotypical is that? They’d never have shown people with Oxford accents getting into pub brawls. Anyway. Richard of York, whom I kept expecting to put on a Leeds United shirt over his armour, barged around looking thuggish all the time, even when he wasn’t in the pub, and failed in his attempts to become king because people thought he was … er, too thuggish. The future Edward IV was also a thug, but apparently he did it in a medieval kingly way, so that was OK. And they both had the wrong colour hair, which was really annoying.
Margaret Beaufort, who looked about 8, didn’t have a pronounced northern accent and didn’t swear, but still hung around in the pub (well, at some sort of drunken gatherings, anyway). Marguerite of Anjou did not hang around in the pub, but did swear, a lot, in an ‘Allo ‘Allo-esque French accent, calling everyone “pieces of sheet”. The only person who sounded like an English aristocrat (OK, accents in the 15th century would have been different to today’s anyway, but we can only go off today’s) was Jasper Tudor – which was rather odd, given that he was Welsh.
Having said all this, Richard of York and the Earl of Warwick probably *did* have pronounced northern accents. And probably did swear a lot.
Also, there were no historians. Instead, we had Philip Glenister, Sophie Rundle and Sheila Atim.
The whole thing was fairly bonkers – but, to be fair, the actual facts in terms of politics and battles (as opposed to Margaret Beaufort being in the pub) were pretty much spot on, and it was good to see the vastly underrated Margaret getting so much attention. And it was certainly different!! If we’d been shown this when we were doing history A-level, it would *definitely* have got our attention. Possibly not quite as much as the Lady Jane film with Cary Elwes as a ridiculously romanticised Guildford Dudley did, but that’s beside the point. It was actually quite cleverly done – it managed to put a populist twist on events without turning them into a load of nonsense. Not what I was expecting, but I rather enjoyed it.