The Other Boleyn Girl was a 2003 BBC television film, adapted from Philippa Gregory’s novel of the same name.
This was a low production budget of £750,000. It was highly acclaimed by critics for the superb performances and the innovative way of approaching costume drama. The drama was shot using modern camera techniques and the cast spent four weeks in workshops improvising the script together with the director. It came out on DVD on the 6th of October 2008.
Many of the novel’s subplots were left out, including George Boleyn’s homosexuality. Catherine of Aragon’s role was much smaller as well, and Thomas Boleyn was presented more favorably. Jodhi May attempted to play Anne Boleyn in a more favorable light than the novel, but there was still a scene in which Anne begs George to sleep with her. In this production, however, they are encouraged by Mary, which is a considerable change from the book. Only one of Mary’s children is fathered by the king, unlike the two in the book. Anne, though portrayed more humanly than in the book, is not the sharp-witted, ambitious, and intelligent courtier she is in the novel, being diminished to a much more foolish girl. She is shown thoughtlessly having sex with Henry Percy in the gardens in the middle of the day, and thus being caught by Mary, who informs their father. In Gregory’s novel, Anne does sleep with Percy (at a discreet meeting at night), having made a precontract of marriage with him, and Mary is fully aware of her plans the whole time. Philip plays William Stafford, Mary Boleyn’s second husband.
Cast: Natascha McElhone as Mary Boleyn, Jodhi May as Anne Boleyn, Jared Harris as Henry VIII, Steven Mackintosh as George Boleyn, Philip Glenister as William Stafford, Jack Shepherd as Thomas Boleyn, Ron Cook as Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Anthony Howell as William Carey, Jane Gurnett as Elizabeth Boleyn, Yolanda Vazquez as Catherine of Aragon, Geoffrey Streatfield as Francis Weston Writing credits (in alphabetical order): Philippa Gregory novel Philippa Lowthorpe writer Produced by: Luke Alkin …. development producer Ruth Caleb …. producer Alex Holmes …. executive producer Michas Kotz …. line producer David M. Thompson …. executive producer Directed by Philippa Lowthorpe BBC Television 2003