French period drama Versailles has been getting the blood (and headlines) pumping in the UK with some pretty explicit sex scenes.
Viewers and critics were stunned by the first episode which exhibited an array of graphic sex scenes, full frontal nudity and Louis XIV’s queen briefly (and unwillingly) receiving oral sex from a dwarf.
Another scene between Louis XIV (played by George Blagden) and his mistress Claudine (played by Lizzie Brocheré) has reportedly found its way onto a pornography web-site.
The Mail described the drama as “the most lavishly rancid television ever screened” while Tory MP Andrew Bridgen complained: “Is this an example of the BBC dumbing down and seeking more sensationalised programming? That’s an arms race to the bottom – quite literally in this case.”
But the fuss has been puzzling the French producer of the drama, Claude Chelli who, in delightfully Gallic fashion, can’t see what the bother is about.
“I’ve heard the controversy,” he tells RadioTimes.com of the BBC2 broadcast of his show.
“There was no controversy in France on that front. No. The King, Louis XIV, was an incredible womaniser, and he was always hungry for more. So we are way, way, way under the real Louis XIV.
“We want to be realistic. What we hate in France is a woman who is in bed and pulls the sheet over her breasts in a very unnatural posture. We want to be free and natural. I don’t think we’re exploiting the situation at all.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.