Black actor Turner-Smith to play English queen Anne Boleyn in new drama

FILE PHOTO: Jodie Turner-Smith arrives at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Black British actor Jodie Turner-Smith is to play Anne Boleyn, wife of English King Henry VIII whom he had beheaded, in a three-part psychological thriller commissioned by TV station Channel 5.

Anne, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, was executed in 1536 at the Tower of London after falling out of favour with the Tudor king and losing a battle at court with enemies such as Thomas Cromwell.

“The drama will explore the final months of Anne Boleyn’s life from the eponymous queen’s perspective,” Channel 5 said in a statement.

“The psychological drama follows her as she struggles to survive, to secure a future for her daughter, and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her,” it said.

The mini-series, written by Eve Hedderwick Turner, is being produced by Fable Pictures.

Henry VIII’s love for Anne changed the course of English history: he split with the Catholic Church in 1533 to marry her after divorcing Catherine of Aragon. The day after Anne’s beheading, Henry married Jane Seymour.

“Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination,” Turner-Smith, 34, said.

“The legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today,” Turner-Smith said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by David Holmes