Jodie Turner-Smith is seen as Anne Boleyn for first time in convention-busting Channel 5 drama

Jodie Turner-Smith has been spotted as Anne Boleyn for the first time while filming a Channel 5 drama that its producers say seeks to ‘challenge conventions’ and shine a ‘feminist light’ on her story.  

Turner-Smith, a black actress born in Britain, is portraying Anne who was the second wife of English King Henry VIII, whom he famously had beheaded in 1536. 

Boleyn, who was the white daughter of English nobility, is also one of the key causes of the English Reformation and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. 

She was executed by Henry by for high treason after failing to produce a male heir. 

Her beheading in the tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Boleyn’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Cromwell before he turned on her.  

And her execution immediately followed the death of Henry VII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die.  

Turner, 34, was pictured wearing a coat over a period costume while filming for the new series. 

Producers Fable Pictures say the drama ‘challenges all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story. 

‘We’re absolutely thrilled to have the magnetic Jodie Turner-Smith on board to encapsulate Anne’s determination to be an equal among men and to pave a path for her daughter. 

Jodie Turner- Smith as been cast as Tudor queen Anne Boleyn in a new period drama

Jodie Turner- Smith as been cast as Tudor queen Anne Boleyn in a new period drama

Jodie Turner- Smith as been cast as Tudor queen Anne Boleyn in a new period drama

Turner-Smith, a black actress born in Britain, is portraying Anne Boleyn in the upcoming drama.

Turner-Smith, a black actress born in Britain, is portraying Anne Boleyn in the upcoming drama.

Turner-Smith, a black actress born in Britain, is portraying Anne Boleyn in the upcoming drama.

She has already earned praise for her roles in the likes of Queen And Slim, Jett and Nightflyers

She has already earned praise for her roles in the likes of Queen And Slim, Jett and Nightflyers

She has already earned praise for her roles in the likes of Queen And Slim, Jett and Nightflyers

Other members of the cast were seen filming the new show earlier today outside a church

Other members of the cast were seen filming the new show earlier today outside a church

Other members of the cast were seen filming the new show earlier today outside a church

White House Farm’s Amanda Burton was also seen in period dress for the historical show

White House Farm’s Amanda Burton was also seen in period dress for the historical show

White House Farm’s Amanda Burton was also seen in period dress for the historical show

Leading lady: Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, has landed the role of Queen Anne Boleyn in a new Channel 5 drama series (pictured in February)

Leading lady: Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, has landed the role of Queen Anne Boleyn in a new Channel 5 drama series (pictured in February)

Leading lady: Jodie Turner-Smith, 34, has landed the role of Queen Anne Boleyn in a new Channel 5 drama series (pictured in February)

Anne was the second wife of English King Henry VIII, whom he famously had beheaded

Anne was the second wife of English King Henry VIII, whom he famously had beheaded

Anne was the second wife of English King Henry VIII, whom he famously had beheaded

Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII’s second wife whose historical significance is often overlooked due to her brutal death

Though perhaps best known in English history for the brutal way in which she met her end, Anne Boleyn’s mark on the country’s history is far more significant.

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn 

Born the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, in 1501, she first came into the eye-sight of Henry VIII in 1522 when she secured a post at court as maid of honour to the king’s first Catherine of Aragon.

It was not until 1526 that Henry began his pursuit of Anne – a pursuit which was initially resisted.

Her refusal to be a mistress sparked Henry to approach the then-Pope to have his marriage annulled.

When it became clear this would not be allowed, Henry began his drive to break the power of the Catholic Church in England – what later became known as the English Reformation.

Henry and Anne formally married in January 1533 – a move which resulted in the Pope excommunicating Henry and him consequently taking control of the Church of England.  

But it was ultimately not a happy marriage after Boleyn failed to produce a male heir. 

In order to marry again he needed a reason to end his marriage to Anne and she was investigated for high treason and sent to the Tower of London.

Her beheading in the tower of London followed the miscarriage of a male child, and increasing clashes with Thomas Cromwell who is blamed for orchestrating the charges against her after engineering the break from the Catholic Church. 

Court rumours also suggested that Boleyn’s forthright manner and intelligence angered courtiers. She was politically astute and allied with Protestant reformers of the church, including Cromwell before he turned on her.  

And her execution immediately followed the death of Henry VII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. That event legally freed Henry to pursue marriage with Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour, if his current wife were to die.   

She was convicted on 15 May 1536 and beheaded four days later. 

Henry began courting Jane Seymour in 1536. 

Anne did leave one more mark on English history though, her daughter, Elizabeth, who was crowned as queen in 1558.

During her daughter’s reign, Anne became venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation.

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‘We feel that history has side-lined the voice of this ambitious Queen in favour of the men who brought her down, and that Lynsey Miller’s beautiful, intimate vision will put Anne’s gaze at the heart of the piece.”

Ben Frow, director of programs at ViacomCBS, said: ‘This project re-frames her story as a propulsive psychological thriller, told from a new perspective, with top talent like Jodie Turner-Smith attached. It was simply too irresistible to say no to and I’m very excited to see the finished product.”

It is the second time a BAME actress has played the role of Anne Boleyn on screen, after Merle Oberon, an Anglo-Indian actress who played the royal in Alexander Korda’s 1933 film The Private Life of Henry VIII. 

Though she claimed she was Australian, in order to avoid prejudice at the time, Oberon was born in India to a British army officer father and Indian mother. She was nicknamed ‘Queenie’ in honour of Queen Mary and King George V’s visit to India in 1911. 

Alongside Turner-Smith, who has previously earned praise for her roles in the likes of Queen And Slim, Jett and Nightflyers, the series features Normal People’s Aoife Hinds and Hamlet star Paapa Essiedu. 

White House Farm’s Amanda Burton and Des actor Barry Ward are also among the people taking part in the series.

Historian Dan Jones is serving as executive producer. 

The mini-series, written by Eve Hedderwick Turner, is being produced by Fable Pictures (who created Stan & Ollie) and will air on Channel 5 in due course. 

Turner-Smith described Queen Anne Boleyn as ‘formidable and fierce’ as she spoke about her decision to take on the role.  

Anne, 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. 

Speaking about taking on the role, Jodie said: ‘Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination. 

‘In the hands of Lynsey Miller, the legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today.

‘I look forward to bringing my heart and spirit into this daring retelling of the fall of this iconic woman.’ 

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

‘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.’  

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 move resulted in the Pope excommunicating Henry and him consequently taking control of the Church of England.  

But it was ultimately not a happy marriage.

Henry began courting Jane Seymour in 1536.

In order to marry again he needed a reason to end his marriage to Anne and she was investigated for high treason and sent to the Tower of London.

She was convicted on 15 May 1536 and beheaded four days later. 

The day after Anne’s beheading, Henry married Jane Seymour.

News of Jodie’s new role comes after months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42.

In the October issue of Vogue, the British model and actress confirmed child’s name for the first time in print, and reflected on what it’s been like to parent a newborn in the midst of the pandemic. 

A feminist insight: Jodie described Queen Anne Boleyn as 'formidable and fierce' as she spoke about her decision to take on the role

A feminist insight: Jodie described Queen Anne Boleyn as 'formidable and fierce' as she spoke about her decision to take on the role

A feminist insight: Jodie described Queen Anne Boleyn as ‘formidable and fierce’ as she spoke about her decision to take on the role

New mum: News of Jodie's new role comes after five months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42 (pictured November 2019)

New mum: News of Jodie's new role comes after five months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42 (pictured November 2019)

New mum: News of Jodie’s new role comes after five months after she welcomed her daughter, Janie, with Fringe actor husband Joshua Jackson, 42 (pictured November 2019)

‘I had to learn how to breastfeed and how to be a mum—it really worked out for my baby,’ Turner-­Smith said of the past few months during lockdown with her baby and husband. 

The article reported that after giving birth in April, Jodie’s mother Hilda came to stay with them for three months amid the pandemic, and while protests began erupting around the world in the fight of social justice and racial equality. 

The Queen & Slim star reflected that it was a ‘comfort’ to have both her mother and husband with her and the baby during that time, without the outside pressures of work and amid a time of change and upheaval.  

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  1. This Cheryl has no class atall….GO ASLEY U ARE MA MAN

    By KC.. Posted May 30 2010 at 10:53 AM.

    Some people are askig the right question.

    When you have Cheryl why cheat?

    You should just stop and think about that answer.

    Me? My money is on she’s as cold as ice. And though Derek may be enjoying Cheryl trying to prove she isn’t – it wont be long till she turns to it being all about her and not about them.

    http://textbacklinkexchanges.com/ashley-iaconetti-dishes-on-her-dream-wedding-dress-and-bachelorette-party-plans/
    Thats why Ashley strayed from home.

    And her timing before the world cup like that?

    Just pure evil

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