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Wolf Hall – BBC Two

Wolf Hall finally opened its dark doors on Wednesday evening.

I loved Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies and so I had been eagerly waiting for this adaptation.

The bloody story of the Tudors has held a special fascination for me ever since I was little.

But Hilary’s re-telling of a well known, long ago history is very different. The use of the historical present tense makes well-trodden events feel fresh and unexpected, the well-known ending is not in sight. We see through Thomas’s eyes and are given uncanny access to his thoughts.

I was intrigued to see how the books would make the transition from page to screen.

With a stellar cast including the great theatre actor Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey, this was a gorgeously complex and twisting hour of historical drama where political loyalties shifted with the wind.

It’s still very much Thomas’s story. The camera often lurks just over his shoulder, seeing events from his perspective.

Filming by candlelight to provide an extra layer of authenticity was made possible by the Alexa camera. The flickering shadows made this adaptation feel very dark and real indeed.

I am very much looking forward to watching this story twist and turn out to its violent conclusion.

If you’re interested in how books are adapted, you might find my BBC Academy podcast (featuring Sarah Phelps who adapted the much discussed Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham) of interest.

BBC Academy joins iTunes U – press release

The BBC Academy today announced it has joined iTunes® U, the world’s largest online catalogue of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums and institutions, that helps educators create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi, and offers them to millions of iOS users around the world.

The BBC Academy on iTunes U will offer behind-the-scenes footage of BBC1 programmes Crimewatch and Countryfile, revealing exactly how a television programme is created and produced. For those interested in storytelling, Sarah Phelps, popular writer of BBC1 dramas including JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and Crimson Field; along with Sally Wainwright, who wrote BBC1 dramas Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley, are among those sharing their expertise. Finally, for those wanting to make people laugh for a living, Richard Curtis, writer of comedy classics like Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and Notting Hill, will share his thoughts on being productive, staying creative and honing the process of comedy.”

The free iTunes U app, featuring courses, collections and educational resources, gives educators and students everything they need on their iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® to teach and take entire courses. With iTunes U, students and lifelong learners gain easy access to enriching educational content no matter where ideas are shared or interests are explored.

For further information, please visit The BBC Academy on iTunes U

Notes to Editors:
The BBC Academy is the BBC’s training and development division. It puts training and development at the heart of the BBC and also works with the wider industry, equipping people with the skills they need for a lifetime of employability in the ever-changing media landscape.

The BBC’s training and development division has a charter remit to train BBC staff and to help to train the wider industry. As part of a recent review and ahead of its relocation to Birmingham in 2015, The Academy has signalled that it will increasingly focus on digital delivery for much of its learning content.

BBC Academy – i Tunes U

After a year of careful negotiations, the BBC Academy’s i Tunes U site goes live today – Monday 19th January – in the Beyond Campus section.

It’s a very promising start to the week. The BBC Academy iTunes U site was one of the development projects I’ve been working on with external supplier Chromatrope.

New content will be added every week and we will be watching with interest to see what we can learn from the statistics and feedback.

The BBC Academy’s move to Birmingham in July 2015 has meant re-thinking what it can offer digitally.

We have been exploring different freely available platforms to see how they might be used to provide more creative learning options.

Our other projects are coming along very well and hopefully there will be some more news on them shortly.