Reign – new Mary Stuart drama?

26 October 2012

Mary Queen of Scots, unknown artist, c1560-1592. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

I’m actually pretty excited to hear that the US television network CW are apparently developing a new series called Reign about the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots. Even the fact that it’s been described as ‘Game Of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette — if Marie Antoinette had a girl posse and was coming of age as a warrior queen. It’s about the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue‘ isn’t enough to put me off, although actually it probably should…

The reasons for my excitement are a. I’ve always been fascinated by Mary, even if I am critical of her abilities, motivation and behaviour; b. it’s about time people moved on from all the fan girling about Anne Boleyn and c. I started writing a novel about the young Mary Stuart a few months ago that has been temporarily shelved until I finish 1950s Housewife, Cora Mycroft, Minette and The Ripper Novel. Actually point c is possibly one that should annoy me as just look at all the dreadful Tudor novels that came out in the wake of The Tudors and do I really want to be caught up in That Sort Of Thing happening again?

Mary Queen of Scots, after Clouet, c1560. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

Anyway, I’m imagining something VERY slick indeed involving an imaginary Scotland where it snows ALL THE TIME and everyone is hatchet faced, red headed, scheming and swathed in furs (this being the Game of Thrones bit) and a very darkly glamorous France that will hopefully owe more to La Reine Margot than Marie Antoinette but ultimately I’m happy with either.

Who do you think they’ll cast as Mary Stuart? What about Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers? Or poor old François II?

Clémence Poésy as Mary, Queen of Scots. Photo: BBC.

My favourite Mary Stuart of all time was Clémence Poésy in the BBC series Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. I think she was fabulous – suitably winsome and French if a bit too blonde but hey you can’t have everything. That whole series was excellent actually – if you haven’t already seen it then you really should.

Pierre de Bocosel de Chatelard or Chastelard playing the lute to Mary, Queen of Scots by Andrew Duncan, after Fradelle, 1830. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

I’ll be honest, I’m really looking forward to seeing this as I’m sure it will be great fun.

And whatever happened to the series about Louis XIV’s Versailles that the writers of Mad Men were supposed to be knocking together? Are they hoping we’ve all forgotten about that? AU CONTRAIRE.

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