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HomeEntertainment‘My Lady Jane’ series review: Welcome to the ultimate Tudor jamboree 

‘My Lady Jane’ series review: Welcome to the ultimate Tudor jamboree 

A still from ‘My Lady Jane’

My Lady Jane, based on the bestselling YA series by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand, has to be given time to grow on you. In the beginning, all the expletives just might put you off, smelling as it does of an unseemly desperation to sound hip and cool. The four-letter swear word is the laziest option, especially considering how inventive swearing in Tudor times can be, churls! Patience is indeed a virtue and if you stay with My Lady Jane, you would be pleasantly surprised at the unqualified bingeability and all-round niceness of the show.

And hello, there is no need to know anything of Tudor England. Well if you do, like yours truly who has been in a 16th century England rabbit hole since Shardlake, bonus points are in order and you can laugh at the cleverness of juxtaposition. Otherwise you can enjoy My Lady Jane as a rip-roaring fantasy adventure featuring a dying king, scheming elders, brave rebels, a feisty teen and most important of all, a noble steed.

A still from ‘My Lady Jane’

A still from ‘My Lady Jane’

England after Henry VIII is in political turmoil with the battle lines being drawn between Ethians, people who can change into animals, and Verities, who cannot — see what I mean about using fantasy to make high concepts accessible? The war between Ethians and Verities can stand in for the religious war between the Catholics and the Protestant Reformation. Princess Mary (Kate O’Flynn) is violently against Ethians because her royal father, Henry, divorced her mum, thanks to Anne Boleyn, who was an animal in and out of bed!

My Lady Jane (English)

Creator: Gemma Burgess

Starring: Emily Bader, Edward Bluemel, Jordan Peters, Anna Chancellor, Dominic Cooper, Jim Broadbent, Will Keen, Rob Brydon, Kate O’Flynn, Máiréad Tyers, Jason Forbes, Christian Patterson, Robyn Betteridge

Episodes: 8

Run-time: 45 – 54 minutes

Storyline: Lady Jane Grey in this story is not summarily executed at 17 after being Queen of England for nine days. Instead she…

King Edward (Jordan Peters) suffers from the Affliction and there are all kinds of machinations for the throne from Lord Seymour (Dominic Cooper) and Lord Dudley (Rob Brydon). While his two step-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth or Bess (Abbie Hern) are in line, his cousin, Lady Jane (Emily Bader) could be an important piece on the board.

Meanwhile, Jane’s mum, Lady Frances (Anna Chancellor), in a bid to restore the family fortunes has agreed to marry Jane to Lord Dudley’s younger son, Guildford (Edward Bluemel). Jane, who would rather publish her illustrated book of herbs than marry, is horrified at the turn her life is taking. Frances is unrelenting in her ambitions and marries off her second daughter, Katherine (Isabella Brownson), to gouty Duke of Leicester (Jim Broadbent), who inherited the title and lands after Jane’s father’s death. Jane discovers Guildford’s horsy secret and the fact that her maid and best friend, Susanna, (Máiréad Tyers), was not entirely honest with her.

The eight episodes of My Lady Jane flash by in a flurry of plots, double-crosses, vigorous couplings, some S&M, magic and glorious mayhem. The narrator is funny with a piquant turn of phrase including the Tudor jamboree in the headline and “bossy boot councilors”. The chemistry between Bader and Bluemel is crackling and has us invested in their story.

Chancellor and Cooper have the greatest fun as the wicked Frances and Seymour respectively. Frances deals regally with everyone from her bloodthirsty youngest daughter, Margaret (Robyn Betteridge), to the lovelorn Stan (Henry Ashton). There is a fun game of bowls to decide on the future of the Division Laws (that keep Ethian and Verity separate) between the Duke of Norfolk (Will Keen) and the Ethian leader, Archer (Michael Workeye).

There is music, naturally — from The Moody Blues ‘Nights in White Satin’ to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ and tons of rock ‘n’ roll in between to relate this rambunctious tale of travellers both in time and space. The ending hints at a season 2. Though it might not be about Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre as the second of The Lady Janies series, My Plain Jane, was, it is not a bad thing as spending more time with Lady Jane, her royal cousins, scheming parents, silly siblings and lovely husband.  

My Lady Jane is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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