Wolf Hall

(Rochester, NY) – Tony® Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night) and Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland) star in the six-hour television miniseries adapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling Booker Prize-winning novels: Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. The television event presents an intimate and provocative portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant and enigmatic consigliere to King Henry VIII, as he maneuvers the corridors of power at the Tudor court. Masterpiece brings both of these works to life in Wolf Hall, airing on Sundays, April 5-May 10 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

BAFTA Award-winner Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander, The Government Inspector) directs this flagship Masterpiece production adapted by Oscar® nominee Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), which was filmed entirely on location in England. Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell, a brutal blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where ‘man is wolf to man.’ Damian Lewis is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother’s premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne.

Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Wolf Hall follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this pragmatic and accomplished power broker – from humble beginnings and with an enigmatic past – who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.

A historical drama for a modern audience, this unromanticized re-telling lifts the veil on the Tudor middle class and the internal struggles England faced on the brink of Reformation. At the center of it all is Cromwell, navigating the moral complexities that accompany the exercise of power, trapped between his desire to do what is right and his instinct to survive.

The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn, Bernard Hill (Five Days) as the king's military commander the Duke of Norfolk, Anton Lesser (Endeavour) as Thomas More, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as Cromwell’s rival advisor Stephen Gardiner, Joanne Whalley (The Borgias) as Henry’s spurned first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and Jonathan Pryce (Cranford) as Cardinal Wolsey, the powerful Lord Chancellor who recognized Cromwell’s potential.

Also appearing are Mathieu Amalric (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as the Spanish ambassador Eustace Chapuys, Charity Wakefield (Sense & Sensibility) as Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary, Richard Dillane (The Dark Knight) as the king’s brother-in-law the Duke of Suffolk, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) as Cromwell’s ward Rafe Sadler, Natasha Little (Breathless) as Cromwell’s wife, Liz, and Saskia Reeves (Worricker) as her sister Johane. 

The novel Wolf Hall was hailed as “dazzling…historical fiction at its finest” (Bloomberg.com), “spellbinding” (The New York Times) and “a brilliant portrait of a society in the throes of disorienting change” (Washington Post). And Bring Up the Bodies inspired the following: “(Mantel’s) characters are real and vivid people who bring to life the clash of ideals that gripped England at the time. She makes the past present and vital” (The Economist).

Pictured:Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell
Credit: Courtesy of Ed Miller/Playground & Company Pictures for Masterpiece/BBC

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