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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A gorgeous little piece of drama ...

Author: smurfling from United Kingdom
4 September 2005

I must admit I was quite excited to see a new drama about the princes who disappeared so mysteriously in the Tower way back when, especially since increasingly more History A-level students, myself included, have had the opportunity to study the subject as part of the Henry VII syllabus. And - I say this and feel utterly convinced - I was not disappointed. "Princes in the Tower", unlike several other TV historical dramas I could mention, was refreshingly non-cheesy, informative, and boasted what I can only describe as one of the hottest actors working today (Mark Umbers, playing Perkin Warbeck). Whilst the drama was a fairly focused piece with detailed characters and an intriguing basis in truth, it also made no flagrant assumptions or claims as to the truth about the princes' fate - something that still has yet to be proved - and did not seem to "victimise" any of the historical figures depicted within, including Richard III - and as a staunch Ricardian this was also very refreshing! Of course, there were a few things that were to be expected of Channel 4, such as the "comic relief" in the form of an absurd Spanish ambassador, and a few unrealistic character aspects - from what we know of Henry VII he certainly would not have considered abdicating in favour of "the truth", and indeed he would not have bothered to attend Warbeck's interrogation. However, I definitely felt that the characters by and large were highly empathic, and several moments were undoubtedly moving. All in all, a gorgeous little piece of drama - it is so great when terrestrial TV strikes gold like this every once in a while. I taped this when it was on and would definitely watch it again. I probably wouldn't recommend it as a study aid for History A-level because the story has been "glamourised" to an extent, but it's a great way to indulge an interest in the subject. A resounding 10/10..

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A superb, unmissable drama

Author: info-8159 from Edinburgh
6 October 2007

In 'Princes in the Tower' Channel 4 have shown the BBC just what historical drama is all about. A meticulously researched piece of work with beautifully rounded characters that follow the historical events and evidence ie not the Tudor spin, in a roller-coaster ride of absolute excellence. All of history's archetypes and stereotypes have been laid to rest, particularly Richard III, and the real murderer of the Princes finally exposed. Mark Umbers plays a mesmerising Perkin Warbeck and his famous line to describe his father's (Edward IV's) character which I won't repeat here (I want you to enjoy it for yourselves when it comes) is one of the best lines I've heard on TV. A masterpiece! Give us more Channel 4!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An Unsolved Mystery

Author: kitsilanoca-1 from Vancouver, Canada
6 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed this speculative historical drama; the first one in a while that has had such a deep effect on my very picky tastes. I went and started looking up Perkin Warbeck in some books I have, and was interested to find two conclusions to his story in two different books. One said that, like in the dramatization, he was forced or tricked into confessing his true identity and swiftly executed for treason by hanging. The other said that after he confessed, Henry VII allowed him to become a member of his court, but Warbeck didn't seem to want to stay, and sometime later he tried to escape from England. He was captured and then hanged. I wonder which one is the most accepted?

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Gripping entertainment and a great WHAT IF story

Author: methanoid from United Kingdom
27 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Channel 4 docu-drama from the UK has good production values and a decent cast, although not household names. Costumes and sets are convincing and you find yourself easily carried away with the story. The story, without any spoilers, is that of England around the time of the War of the Roses, where the Houses of York and Lancaster are fighting for control of the throne. Lancaster is in power and as far as everyone knows there is no Yorkist pretender to the throne. Richard III has had his nephews murdered in the Tower of London or so we think. But.... then along comes a claimant to the throne, who says he is one of the missing Princes. This is based on a factual story but the twists will surprise you. All in all excellent viewing, and well worth a DVD-release.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Could have been far better than this...a missed opportunity!

Author: DavidW1947 from United Kingdom
8 December 2009

The DVD cover of this made for television film features a beautiful photo of Timotei Cresta as Edward V, aged 12 and Correntin Combeau as Richard of York, aged 10…the princes in the tower and this photo gives the misleading impression that the film is all about them, whereas they are only seen in it for a few seconds here and there in grainy flashback sequences.

99% of the film is about the adult Perkin Warbeck (Mark Umbers), a pretender to the throne who, sixteen years after the disappearance of the two princes, claims to be the adult Richard, Duke of York and then follows the very long interrogation of him by the king and his officials to try to discover the truth of the claim. The story is largely fictional, but the acting is of a very high order in what was obviously a very cheaply made production.

However, some characters and scenes are superfluous to the drama and could have been dispensed with and the film makers missed a great opportunity here to have more of the film devoted to the princes of the title, with Perkin Warbeck's interrogation taking up the rest of the drama. Instead, the princes are portrayed as very fleeting and ghostly images of the past when their presence could have been far more substantial. A good try, but it could have been done far better in more talented hands. The bonus material on the DVD, the princes in the tower excerpt from the documentary series The Tower, is actually far more entertaining and the DVD is worth getting just for the picture on the front cover alone.

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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Margaret Beaufort as a witch? Much drama but little history.

Author: nickjg from London, England
2 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a dramatic piece well performed and acted. The disgusting food was somewhat overdone- they did have professional chefs etc in 1498. The problem with revisionist history of these princes, you have to make someone else the villain- in this case Margaret Beaufort and her third husband, Lord Stafford. For the plot to have historic authenticity it would have required Thomas More (who was no stooge to Henry VIIth) the French and Spanish ambassadors (enemies), John Argentine, Provost of Cambridge at the time, all to collude. Whatever Henry VIIth did to be portrayed as a sniveling mummy's boy, obsessed with having his stars and his excrement read before he does a thing, heaven only knows. The obloquy Henry suffered was mainly because he made the rich, including Thomas More's father, pay their taxes which they hadn't for 100 years in some cases. Contra factual history but good drama.

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