One doesn’t like to court controversy when writing a blog post but sometimes circumstances dictate that whatever one might say will involve the placing of one’s foot in the doo doo and a discussion about the forthcoming drama about Anne Boleyn is an example of this.

By now I imagine most people will be aware of the hoo-ha created by the casting of a black actress to play the part of Anne Boleyn who as history tells us was a white woman and wife of Henry VIII.

I was unsure whether to post on this subject but was prompted to comment by a brief conversation with an American fellow on Facebook when I expressed the opinion that I felt a little uneasy with a historical role of a white woman being played by a black person, merely on the grounds of historical correctness.

My point, along with many others was that there would be outrage if one were to cast a white person to play Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks and quite rightly so and then to make matters worse an American fellow commented that I should; “Smile. It’s actually gonna be good.”

How could one not respond to a comment like that, which I did with the following. Gonna is not a word in English and this is an example of why older British people may have a problem watching this drama. There is a trend in modern TV and film to write a piece with modern Multicultural London Accent when no such accent was used at the time or to place modern music into a period drama which completely takes away the feeling of the moment rather than compliments it. To make a period drama correctly one has to have the script, the dialogue, the accent, the music and the right actors playing the right parts. I’m sure you would see my point if they made a drama about Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks where the actors were white people, that too would be completely wrong.

As they used to say in the old days when a tabloid newspaper reporter wrote a piece about a brothel just prior to the sex act taking place, “it was at this point that our reporter made his excuses and left the room,” which is pretty much what I myself did, however some further 6.7 thousand stayed and made a further 9.4 thousand comments, mostly negative.

I hate period drama which feels wrong, a recent example was The Pursuit of Love, which was based on the book by the well known author and friend of Adolf Hitler, Nancy Mitford which like a curate’s egg was good in parts, the bad being the dreadful soundtrack of 70’s and 80’s music which I felt did not remotely fit with a drama set in the 20’s to the 40’s.

This current trend is obviously caused by “de yoof dem” taking over film and television production which is a natural progression, however I would imagine the majority of the audience for a historical period drama might be the older members of the community who I think would prefer the right actor for the part, with the correct accent, together with suitable period feeling music, which then makes the production an absolute joy.

Should any young members of the production team of any future period drama productions require any assistance with this I suggest they merely view a few episodes of the virtually perfect Downton Abbey.

Anne Boleyn - Wikipedia


About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work due to losing my agent when I became a full time carer to my mother who had dementia. and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother and shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse. I have written a number of different books all available on Amazon, so don't be shy should you feel the urge to purchase.
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  1. Egad, Sir. You have it right!

  2. Joni says:

    I know I prefer historical correctness, which is not to be confused with political correctness. Didn’t they remake David Copperfield last year with a black acting playing the lead? I remember a great fuss was made about the fact, but heard nothing at all about whether the movie was any good…

  3. SueW says:

    I hold exactly the same opinion, and I struggle to see why the decision to change history was made. It turns production is into a farce.

  4. setinthepast says:

    I thought Jodie Taylor-Smith was very good, although the programme itself was mediocre. However, wasn’t an actress/singer – I forget who it was? – bullied into giving up the part of Maria in West Side Story, because she wasn’t Latina. And, as you say, there’d be an outcry if a white actor were cast as a black historical figure. There needs to be a level playing field.

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