Anne Boleyn – Full Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 2/5


Anne Boleyn was not black. She was, however, described by multiple sources as having “olive skin” and a “rather dark complexion”. This is worth bearing in mind because when Channel 5 announced that Jodie Turner-Smith would be playing the role of the infamous British Queen, many people were in uproar.

Social media was abuzz with numerous opinions about the casing choice – some more eye-opening and shocking than others. Regardless of how you feel about the casting, Jodie Turner-Smith is not the problem with Anne Boleyn. In fact, she’s actually one of the few bright spots in this outdated and tired historical drama.

Instead, Anne Boleyn quashes any initial excitement and enthusiasm, unable to silence the doubters with a stodgy, unimaginative script riddled with historical inaccuracies. It’s particularly frustrating because the first episode sets the foundations for a pretty interesting and well-worked character examination.

The second then builds on that and looks set to actually inject some pace into the show. This is then completely squandered and ruined by a lackluster, tired finale that stumbles over the finish line to an indifferent conclusion.

For those unaware, Anne Boleyn was the second wife to King Henry VIII during the tumultuous Tudor period. She was well-known for being beheaded on charges of conspiring against the King. Channel 5’s new drama centers on the final months of Anne’s life, with specific emphasis on how her tenuous grip slipped off the throne in favour of Jane Seymour.

On paper, Anne Boleyn has all the ingredients to be tense and palpable – and the series is even marketed as an “intimate, psychological thriller” too.

Unfortunately the show fails to live up to expectations, with numerous inaccuracies dotted throughout. Most notably is the omission of Anne’s famous final speech on the scaffolding before her beheading. For a show so dedicated to being bold and showcasing the power of femininity, the fact that Turner-Smith doesn’t even get one final hoorah to address the people is a real disappointment.

And disappointment is probably the best word to describe this show. Despite some glimmers of promise throughout the first two episodes, anachronistic dialogue, wooden acting and a really bad final episode make this a tough sell. In the end, Channel 5 throws all of its chips on the table only to see this gamble backfire in the worst possible way.

With better writing, less inaccuracies and a pacey script, Anne Boleyn could have been a solid historical drama. Instead, heads will likely roll over the lackluster and inconsequential end product.

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  • Verdict - 4.5/10

4 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn – Full Season 1 Review”

  1. I loved Anne of the Thousand Fay’s with Genevieve Bujold and Richard Burton. The made an abortion of English History.Not only were the Boleyns not black, Anne was not bi sexualising kissing Jane Seymour on the lips.What’s that? To please the Lgbti community.Its not all entertainment Directorshave an opportunity to teach real history to the uneducated. An Abomination. Was also boring.

  2. amc should be ashamed, i am appalled at this shitshow , Anne Boleyn was not black, and this hack actress playing the part, is a insult, to all actresses that have played Anne Boleyn in the past,
    Vanessa Redgrave,, Natalie Dormer, Charlotte Rampling, merle Oberon, Natalie Portman and any other actress not mentioned here, should be literally insulted by this black baboon, playing Anne, AMC should be ashamed

  3. disgusting portrayal, anne boleyn wasnt black, this is a sad, insult to the memory of anne boleyn and show that should have never been made, i cannot believe AMC eveing putting this crap out,

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