Channel 5 psychological thriller Anne Boleyn continues this week, starring Jodie Turner-Smith as the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII.
The three-part drama is stripped across three consecutive nights, charting Anne Boleyn’s rapid downfall leading up to her death by beheading in 1536.
Anne Boleyn, which was filmed in Yorkshire, filmed around the Yorkshire countryside, also paints an intimate portrait of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage, reimagining Anne as dominant in the martial bedroom.
Trigonometry’s Thalissa Teixeira, who stars as Henry VIII’s mistress Madge Shelton, recently told RadioTimes.com that the inclusion of actors of colour in Anne Boleyn was not an example of colour-blind casting, but instead an example of being “identity-conscious”.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and historical characters in Anne Boleyn.
Jodie Turner-Smith plays Anne Boleyn
Who was Anne Boleyn? King Henry VIII’s infamous second wife, who was also mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I. She did not provide Henry with a male heir and was eventually accused of adultery with multiple men (including her own brother, George) and was beheaded for treason in 1536.
Where have I seen Jodie Turner-Smith before? She played Queen in the film Queen & Slim, and has starred in the likes of Nightflyers, The Last Ship, Without Remorse, and the upcoming Borderland opposite John Boyega.
Mark Stanley plays Henry VIII
Who was Henry VIII? The Tudor monarch was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547, during which time he had a total of six wives, two of whom were beheaded (Anne Boleyn and later Catherine Howard). He had only one legitimate male heir, Prince Edward, whose mother was Jane Seymour.
Where have I seen Mark Stanley before? Stanley recently starred opposite Keeley Hawes in Honour, and reprised his role as alcoholic detective Hugo Duffy in the second season of Netflix police procedural drama Criminal: UK. He also starred in true crime drama White House Farm. Other projects have included Sanditon (as Lord Babington), Elizabeth is Missing, the TV mini-series Little Women (as Professor Bhaer) and Run (as Finnie).
Paapa Essiedu plays George Boleyn
Who was George Boleyn? Anne Boleyn’s brother and the Viscount of Rochford, who was accused of having an incestuous relationship with his sister. Both he and Anne were executed.
Where have I seen Paapa Essiedu before? He played Kwame in the groundbreaking drama I May Destroy You, and has starred in Gangs of London (as Alexander Dumani), Unsaid Stories, Black Earth Rising, The Miniaturist, Kiri and Press.
Lola Petticrew plays Jane Seymour
Who was Jane Seymour? One of Anne Boleyn’s ladies-in-waiting, she would eventually become King Henry VIII’s third wife.
Where have I seen Lola Petticrew before? She recently starred in the drama Three Families, and has had roles in the likes of Bloodlands, Shadows, Dating Amber and A Bump Along The Way.
The actress recently spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com, revealing that Anne Boleyn will feature a “talking point” kiss scene between Anne and Jane Seymour, both rivals for Henry VIII’s affection.
Thalissa Teixeira plays Madge Shelton
Who was Madge Shelton? A cousin to Anne Boleyn, who was reportedly King Henry VIII’s mistress.
Where have I seen Thalissa Teixeira before? She played Ness in the ITV psychological thriller Too Close, adapted from the book of the same name. Her recent credits also include the Sky comedy drama Two Weeks to Live and the BBC Two romantic drama Trigonometry.
Barry Ward plays Thomas Cromwell
Who is Thomas Cromwell? Thomas Cromwell was a statesman who served as King Henry VIII’s chief minister from 1534 up until 1540, when he was executed for treason and heresy. He was the protagonist of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall book series.
Where have I seen Barry Ward before? Ward played DI Steve McCusker in the recent real-life crime drama Des, and has starred in the likes of The End of the F***ing World (as Leslie), The Capture, Jimmy’s Hall, Maze, Blood Cells, White Lines and Save Me.
Amanda Burton plays Lady Anne Shelton
Who was Lady Anne Shelton? One of Anne Boleyn’s paternal aunts, and the mother of Madge Shelton.
Where have I seen Amanda Burton before? She played Sam Ryan in Silent Witness, and Aunt Polly in the TV film Pollyanna. Other recent roles have included White House Farm, Marcella, The Level and Body of Water.
Turlough Convery plays Henry Norris
Who was Henry Norris? Groom of the stool for Henry VIII, Henry Norris was a favourite of the king.
Where have I seen Turlough Convery before? He starred in the big budget film Ready Player One (as Chief Oology Expert), and has also starred in My Mad Fat Diary, Poldark (as Tom Harry), and more recently in Killing Eve (as Bear) and Jane Austen series Sanditon (as Arthur Parker).