A right royal farce

Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth in The White QueenThere are two main routes for ye olde historical drama: authentic but worthy, or winningly presented hogwash (see: The Tudors, The Borgias, The Simpsons). The White Queen, sadly, is neither.

This Mills & Boon take on the Wars of the Roses, the BBC’s adaptation of Philippa Gregory‘s best-selling novels, hopes to capture viewers suffering from Downton or Game of Thrones withdrawal, but lacks the former’s soap-tastic joy and the latter’s thematic resonance and jaw-dropping WTF? moments.

Instead, we get Kate Middleton coming to us via ABBA, a major civil war represented solely by two shaky-cam shots of Narnia, an ill-advised Merlin subplot and dialogue that makes Stephenie Meyer look like Shakespeare (Family member, helpfully: ‘But we’re Lancastrians! It says so in this Horrible Histories book!’ Dishy king, anachronistically: ‘I’m like totally mad for you! That attempted rape was the period equivalent of Facebook stalking!’), all with the laughable aesthetics of a Persil advert.

On the plus side, we learned that randy monarchs will not roger a girl in a rosebush. You don’t get that on Gardeners’ Question Time.

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