BBC announces return of popular period drama after eight years

BBC viewers left reeling after their ‘favourite period drama of all time’ is set to make a surprise return – eight years after the popular show first aired

The BBC has announced the return of a very popular period drama eight years after the show first aired.  

Wolf Hall is set to make a comeback based on the final book in Dame Hilary Mantel’s bestselling trilogy, The Mirror And The Light. 

The return of the show comes in the wake of the author’s tragic death last September, after she suddenly suffered a massive stroke aged 70. 

The drama series about the life of Thomas Cromwell has so far seen his rise to power – and the second and final season will showcase his struggle to hold on to his position as King Henry VIII’s chief minister. 

Filming is due to begin shortly, with Mark Rylance returning as the lead role of Cromwell, while Damian Lewis stars as Henry VIII. 

Comeback: The BBC has announced the return of a very popular period drama eight years after the show first aired

Starring role: A season two of Wolf Hall is due to begin filming soon, with Mark Rylance returning as Oliver Cromwell

The first six-part season, which followed the first two novels, aired in 2015 and won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. 

Fans were elated at news of the show’s return, with one saying on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Wolf Hall is a great series so this is good news.’ 

A second added: ‘Wolf Hall is probably my favourite period drama of all time and it’s coming back ahhhhhhhh.’ 

Another exclaimed: ‘Brilliant can’t wait!’ 

Season one portrayed Cromwell’s rise to power as Henry sought to divorce Anne Boleyn – played by The Crown’s Claire Foy – which at the time was illegal under the Catholic church. 

Cromwell was responsible for the bill that made Henry head of the Church of England, which enabled him to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne instead. 

The end of the series saw Anne’s execution, as well as the downfall of Sir Thomas More. 

In the upcoming season, the King’s chief minister is immediately placed in a vulnerable position as he came from humble roots with no army of his own.

Book: The Mirror and The Light, the third book in the late Dame Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell series, was an instant number one bestseller on its release in 2020

Exciting: Fans were elated at the news, calling it their ‘favourite period drama of all time’

Powerful: Damian Lewis plays King Henry VIII during his difficult relationship with Cromwell

The new series will showcase his struggle to hold on to power and the final four years of his life, while Jane Seymour – Henry’s third wife – will be introduced to the court. 

Kate Phillips will play Jane while Lilit Lesser plays Henry’s eldest daughter Mary.

The official synopsis for the new series reads: ‘May, 1536. Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, is dead. As the axe drops, Thomas Cromwell emerges from the bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

‘Cromwell, a man with only his wits to rely on, has no great family to back him, and no private army. 

‘Navigating the moral complexities that accompany the exercise of power in this brutal and bloody time, Cromwell is caught between his desire to do what is right and his instinct to survive. But in the wake of Henry VIII having executed his queen, no one is safe.

‘Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. 

‘All of England lies at his feet, ripe for innovation and religious reform. But as fortune’s wheel turns, Cromwell’s enemies are gathering in the shadows.

‘The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry’s cruel and capricious gaze?’

Main role: Jane Seymour – played by Kate Phillips – will be introduced to the court

Power: Jonathan Pryce plays Cardinal Wolsey in Wolf Hall: The Mirror And The Light

Director Peter Kosminsky said: ‘The Mirror and the Light picks up exactly where Wolf Hall ended, with the execution of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.

‘I’m overjoyed to be able to reunite the extraordinary cast we were lucky enough to assemble for Wolf Hall, led by the brilliant Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis, with the original creative team of Gavin Finney (DOP), Pat Campbell (Designer) and Joanna Eatwell (Costume Designer).

‘We are all determined to complete what we started – and to honour the final novel written by one of the greatest literary figures of our age, Hilary Mantel.’

BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore added: ‘A stunning and unforgettable adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s sublime novels, Wolf Hall quickly established itself as one of the all-time great television dramas, with millions of adoring viewers across the UK and around the World.

‘Almost a decade on we’re delighted to have reunited this exceptional creative team and lead cast to conclude Mantel’s thrilling saga on the BBC.’

Wolf Hall series one is available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the UK.  

Controversial figure: Tomas Cromwell, painting by Holbein, was King Henry VIII’s Chief Minister, with a dramatic rise to and fall from power 

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