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The focus of King Charles II is his court, his squabbling family and his glamorous mistresses - from the high-born and promiscuous Barbara Villiers through folk heroine and sex symbol of the day Nell Gwynne to the French spy Louise de Keroualle. It is an original take on a historical period written by award-winning screenwriter Adrian Hodges, whose credits include David Copperfield and The Lost World, which penetrates to the heart of the charismatic monarch who was deeply traumatised by the execution of his father. Written by
Just before the sequence concerning the smallpox epidemic, we get a brief look at The King's upper right arm and can clearly see a smallpox vaccination scar. See more »
King Charles II:
As you intend on poetry, Rochester, why not provide it yourself?
A short epigram in your honour then, Your Majesty.
"We have a pretty, witty King, Whose word no man relies on. Who never said a foolish thing, Nor ever did a wise one"
King Charles II:
Be just, Rochester. The wise words are my own, the deeds are my ministers'.
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Not too sure what the previous reviewer was watching.
Apart from the mildly irritating liberties the writer took with historical accuracy here and there, this is one of the best historical series I've seen for a long time and kept me intrigued for all four episodes. Perhaps the approach was too subtle for some, we had one or two small bits of gore, you could say just enough to convey the brutality of the era.
This however was more about the contradictory elements of Charles's character and how he chose to deal with the constant political threats he lived through which could have swallowed him up at any time. His compassion, tolerance,lust, his fine political judgement, his mixed feelings as he tried to stabilize his country, promote religious tolerance, resist parliament, balance the books and have a good time when he could. The principal players dance around him but do they control him or is he carefully playing them off? It is not about battles, blood or explosive action. It is nevertheless tense and dynamic as friendships, loyalties and political passions spark off each other.
And then, we have Rufus Sewell, seldom has more skilled and effective portrayal of an historical figure been offered. He burns, he frets, he soothes, he controls, he accedes. He acting of great loyalty against all pressures to some and abandonment of allies for political expediency with others, is performed with equally high credibility. He has more character in a few facial movements than many actors could deliver in a hundred lines. A complete and consummate character performance and assimilation of Charles II's persona. The other cast do not fail to provide full but studied portrayals to complete the drama.
The thoughtful mix of setting, inside and out and usual top quality costume etc do not let the production fall below the highest standards. Yet there is no over the top kitch clichéd stuff that many period dramas throw in.
Watch out for any award for Rufus Sewell.
A huge success.
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