A visit to the set of Wolf Hall, and other Tudor drama (including our OWN).

Well, I have been spreading myself about all over the papers today in preparation for the Tudor season about to begin on the BBC.

For the Mail, I have written about a visit to the set of the new BBC drama version of Wolf Hall (in which Damian Lewis showed me his codpiece) (ok, calm down) here

And for the Sunday Times, I was interviewed by Josh Glancy for a profile here

And, as this upcoming Saturday sees our very own Historic Royal Palaces programme about Hampton Court (BBC 2), 9pm, I thought you might like to see some pictures from when we were making it.  We re-staged the ceremony of the christening of the baby Edward VI in 1537, which involved 95 of my colleagues dressing up as Tudors and walking in procession through the palace, bearing lighted torches.

Here is the sort of thing we got up to.  Unloading the van in Tennis Court Lane round the side of the palace, just before seven a.m., ready for another day’s filming …

A Night 10







Dave and I camp it up in the Great Hall.  This must have been in the morning before the visitors come in at 10.

A Night 4







We film in the archaeological stores, looking at Jane Seymour’s emblem … and because the visitors don’t come up here, this is a useful place to be in the middle part of the day.

A Night 9







The cast have all arrived and been dressed, and here they are having their dinner at about 6 pm – lasagne, I think it was.

A Night 3







The marshalling of the troops in the Great Watching Chamber is taking place by 7.  They’re drawn from all departments of the palace, plus our volunteers.  My colleague Matthew from the curators’ team is the one in the middle holding the white stave of office and looking rather soulful.

A Night 5







We do our official publicity stills at the same time … the photographer is given literally two minutes but does a great job.

A Night 1







The procession gets underway by 8 …

A Night at Hampton Court Palace







Elsewhere the godparents, who appear in close-up, have their own separate filming session …

A Night 8







My colleague Laura from the Press Office plays the part of Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter’s chest.  And that’s baby Edward, played by the incredibly cute baby Ottilie.

A Night 12







Everyone gets very cold as the night wears on!  These are our researchers Bianca and Phyllida.

A Night 7








Alan our sound recordist has a snooze.

A Night 6







Hurrah!  The procession makes its final pass as I watch from Jane Seymour’s bedchamber window.  I am in bed by 1, but some poor souls stay to tidy up until 3.  What a splendid day, though.

A Night 11



11 thoughts on “A visit to the set of Wolf Hall, and other Tudor drama (including our OWN).

  1. Cindy Eve

    OhMyGosh, you are so lucky to be involved with goings on at HamptonCourtPalace…I could so live there forever. My favorite Palace. I’m so excited to see Wolf Hall and think Damien Lewis is perfect for his role, with or without a codpiece 😉
    Thanks for the headsup on the BBC2 programme, I shall be glued to the telly.
    Love your documentaries, especially those involving HCP
    fab photos here too…what fun.

  2. Dave Witzke

    Looking forward to your new stuff here in Canada. Mr Starkey is always great. Love his passionate commentary. Happy New year !

  3. tony ayling

    looking forward to it Lucy!! Thank you for my signed picture !!! you are right , it was about a million years when i wrote to you. It was worth the wait though. Thank you x

  4. Bess Chilver

    Oooh wow! The last photo there’s me in green helping to carry the train. Why are are outside of the canopy???

    And in photo number 4 (where we were eating dinner) there is a gentleman in a red jerkin sitting at the table…that costume belongs to my husband though he was wearing a different costume that evening. He lent two other costumes and wore a third, I wore my green and lent a second red one. Was a lot of fun if a long evening. Looking forward to Saturday.

  5. Nancy Mazzia

    I just finished watching Tales From a Royal Bedchamber in Kansas, USA. What a fun show. More information about the Royal bed chamber than I thought existed!

  6. john harding

    Lucy, (Belated Happy, Healthy & Fortunate New Year to you & Yours). Very Many thanks for this blog. Packed with fascinating info and a perfect ‘must see’ advert for the coming programme. You really are doing great things for history: making it so interesting, accessible and fun so greatly broadening its appeal. You are a super professional hope you’ll carry on for ages informing (& entertaining).

  7. Dean Rowell

    Looking foward to the programme !

  8. Nancy Lea

    I was glad to read that you thought “The Tudors” was “rather silly.’ My thoughts exactly…when I wasn’t fuming over all the fiddling with the actual history I was laughing “fit to kill” as we say around here. Favourite giggle was the famous portrait of the then-huge Henry with Jonathon Whosis’s ineptly-aged face stuck on top. Nearly choked on my popcorn!!!

  9. Francis Quinlan

    Two questions apropos the HCP programme last week, which was enjoyable but less illuminating than I had hoped.
    1. I couldn’t work out whereabouts the font was sited in the Chapel Royal for Edward’s baptism? Your model of the steep pyramid structure was very interesting, but surely it can’t have been placed under the font where it stands today (correctly, near the entrance to the Chapel) as the ceiling is low there, and would not have made the ceremony more visible to most of those present.. If the font was moved to the choir closer to the altar, where the ceiling is much higher, was the structure built over some of the choir stalls, or were these installed at some point after Edward’s christening?
    2. I wonder why you decided to make a programme about some people dressing up for a few hours rather than taking the opportunity to explore the highly charged nature of this baptism? As you pointed out, the future Queen Mary was a godmother and must have had to climb all those steps in her heavy ‘cloth-of-silver’ robes & train, as well as encourage her 4-yr old half-sister Elizabeth who carried the chrisom cloth. In her biography of Mary Tudor, Linda Porter wrote: “When the ceremony was over, Mary left holding her little sister by the hand.” (Ch 5). The baptism was in fact a hugely significant event particularly for the Lady Mary who, whilst her father lived, was “the most unhappy lady in Christendom”.

    Years later, Mary retired to HCP in a quite different frame of mind to await her baby, which never came. It seems perhaps a lost opportunity not to have explored that huge contrast in circumstances in your programme about Hampton Court in Tudor times!

    Best wishes

    Francis Quinlan

    1. Lucy Post author

      Dear Francis, the font was in the nave (and took up its entire width) and about your second question: well, I can’t really help you with that, I’m afraid! We made the programme we thought would be the most interesting. Best wishes, Lucy

  10. Malika

    I can understand why that programme was made about people ‘dressing up’ – the comment was made about bringing history to life and seeing some of the intricate details and extremely beautiful craftsmanship that went into creating the life they lived, I personally found it fascinating 🙂


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