'Tudors': Flashy Fiction Is Far From Fact

Historians balk at steamy soap, but fans aren't deterred
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2008 7:00 PM CDT
Cast members of "Tudors," a sexy Showtime series that drew nearly one million viewers with its premiere.   (AP Photo/Showtime)
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(Newser) – In the battle of fact versus flair, it’s pretty obvious which side “The Tudors” comes down on. Showtime’s steamy period soap opera, which premiers its second season tonight, trades a chubby, tight-wearing Henry VIII for slim, sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers. “It’s sloppy filmmaking,” one historian tells ABC News. “Not one female costume in there is correct for the period. It’s so off the mark it’s laughable.”

But the show’s creator, Michael Hirst, calls that “silly criticism.” “It’s not supposed to be history,” he says, citing his desire to create characters who felt relatable rather than remote to modern audiences. “As long as people aren’t wearing jeans or caftans, to me, that’s acceptable.” Nearly 1 million viewers agree with him and tuned in to last season’s premiere, more than three times Showtime’s average primetime audience.