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.