Wolf Hall is a British period drama television miniseries created as an adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which chronicles the rise of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a humble blacksmith who became King Henry VIII's chief minister, as he navigated the corridors of power in the Tudor court.
Peter Kosminsky directs the flagship drama that presents an intimate portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant consigliere to King Henry VIII, as he manoeuvres the corridors of power at the Tudor court.
The story follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this pragmatic and accomplished power broker – from humble beginnings and an enigmatic past – who must serve king and country while navigating deadly political intrigue, the King's tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) adapted both novels for the screen. Two-time Olivier and three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell.
Emmy-winner Damian Lewis is Henry VIII and Claire Foy (The Promise) plays the calculating and ambitious Anne Boleyn in the drama which is a Playground Entertainment and Company Pictures production.
As the series begins, Thomas Cromwell's patron Cardinal Wolsey is dismissed as lord chancellor and forced to flee his palace at York Place. The old noble families of England, jealous of their own right to advise the king, have long waited for this moment. His hopes of returning to the king's favour lie with the ever-loyal Thomas Cromwell.
Eight years ago, when Cromwell started working for Wolsey, the cardinal made an enemy of Thomas Boleyn by chastising him for his daughter Anne's far-from-virtuous reputation. As rumours circulated in court that Anne was secretly betrothed to Harry Percy, the cardinal insisted that no such match would be allowed.
Still lacking a male heir, the king is desperate for an annulment from his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, claiming she was not a virgin on their wedding day. To Cromwell's dismay, the cardinal's efforts to persuade the pope to grant the annulment are fruitless. An alliance between the pope and Katherine's nephew, the holy Roman emperor, diminishes the cardinal's position even further.
As Henry grows impatient, the pressure increases on the cardinal. To add to this, rumours reach the cardinal that the king's new mistress is Anne Boleyn, who has sworn vengeance on him over Harry Percy.
Cromwell visits Anne, urging her that only the cardinal can secure what she wants, but Anne is unmoved. The duke of Norfolk, nervous of the cardinal's continuing proximity to the king, insists that Cromwell tell Wolsey to travel north to his archdiocese in York. A desperate Cromwell finally meets directly with Henry, but the king is nothing if not ambiguous.
Will he recall the cardinal or turn on him?
Wolf Hall is a co-production of Company Pictures (Elizabeth I, Shameless, The Devil's Whore, The Shadow Line) and Playground Entertainment (Dancing On The Edge, The Missing) - the New York and London-based production company helmed by Colin Callender - for BBC Two and Masterpiece (broadcaster and co-producers of Downton Abbey, Sherlock) in association with BBC Worldwide, Altus Media and Prescience.
Colin Callender executive produces for Playground, John Yorke for Company Pictures, Polly Hill, BBC Head of Independent Drama, for BBC Two, Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece, Martin Rakusen and Ben Donald for BBC Worldwide and Tim Smith for Prescience and Altus Media.