Tonight, new period drama Versailles comes to our screens. BBC Two, 9.30pm. Described as ‘a kitsch piece of camp pomp that makes those flamboyant historical dramas look like Wolf Hall’ (thanks Radio Times), it looks set to be a scorcher. Literally. It burnt holes in tv land’s production pocket.
Rumoured to have cost more per episode than Downton Abbey, it is officially the most expensive French television ever made. With its heavy fictionalisation and and lavish sets….well…what less could we do if we are going to depict the early reign of King Louis XIV?
Interestingly, this is a path less trodden. There was a temptation to tell the tale of old mate man-in-tights-who-takes-over-the-world. But that would have been pretty standard, right? We all know old boy Louis. So let’s skip back to his 20s. His more vulnerable days. The time when this king was younger, more fragile (supposedly – could have fooled us) and less worldly.
It’s not a new programme per se. It was created and broadcast by Canal+ in 2015 – hitting French screens nearly a year ago now. But because of its grandeur and down right embellishment, it came over to UK and US soil. Sounds good to me.
History and television? Two of my favourite things. I’m in.
(Picture courtesy of Canal+/BBC)