The Devil's Whore
|The Devil's Whore|
UK DVD Cover
|Created by||Peter Flannery|
|Directed by||Marc Munden|
and Peter Capaldi
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Location(s)||filmed in South Africa|
|Running time||4 x 60 minutes.|
|Original channel||Channel 4 (UK)|
|Original airing||19 November 2008|
The Devil's Whore (released as The Devil's Mistress in North America) is a four-part television series set during the English Civil War, produced by Company Pictures for Channel 4 in 2008. It centres on the adventures of the fictional Angelica Fanshawe and the historical Leveller soldier Edward Sexby and spans the years 1638 to 1660. It was written by Peter Flannery, who began working on the script in 1997. It is believed to have a budget of £7 million.
The serial was filmed in South Africa. This caused some negative comment from reviewers, but the producers maintained that they had been unable to find suitably "old English" locations in England.
- John Simm as Edward Sexby
- Dominic West as Oliver Cromwell
- Andrea Riseborough as Angelica Fanshawe
- Michael Fassbender as Thomas Rainsborough
- Peter Capaldi as Charles I of England
- Jeremy Crutchley as Toop
- Tom Goodman-Hill as John Lilburne
- Maxine Peake as Elizabeth Lilburne, John's wife
- Tim McInnerny as Joliffe
- Robyn Olivia as Angelica's mother
- Robert Coleman as Angelica's father
- Ben Aldridge as Harry Fanshawe
- Harry Lloyd as Prince Rupert
- Melodie Abad as Queen Henrietta Maria
- Ian Redford as Earl of Manchester
- Angelica Jopling as the young Angelica
- Gabriel Rybko as young Harry
- Robert van Vuuren as The Devil
Covering the lead up to the war and the battles of Croyland Abbey, Edgehill and Newbury, this episode dealt with the events from Angelica's marriage to her husband's shooting by Charles I's firing squad for surrendering their manor house.
Devastated by the King's brutal betrayal, Angelica has been cast out of court, and finds herself destitute and starving. Meanwhile, divisions are beginning to split the Parliamentarians.
The country is divided and in shock as Oliver Cromwell puts the King on trial for treason and becomes the first head of the Republican Government.
Sexby and Angelica seek to avenge themselves on Oliver Cromwell.
North American release
The series was released on DVD in North America in 2011. Retitled The Devil's Mistress, it presents the series as two two-hour episodes.
Critical reception was positive, though there was some criticism of the omission of some figures and events (such as John Pym, the Earl of Bedford, Sir Thomas Fairfax, Sir Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, Pride's Purge, Colonel Sir John Hutchinson and the Bishops' Wars) and the fictionalisation of others (such as the suggestion that Cromwell orchestrated Rainsborough's death, of Rainsborough not Sexby being a close friend of Cromwell's, and Sexby's assassination attempt on Cromwell).
Critical reception of the first episode was positive, with Nancy Banks-Smith of The Guardian praising Capaldi's performance and calling the drama "rollicking", "well written and acted" and marked by "a quite serious attempt to explain the underlying issues". The Telegraph also praised Capaldi, along with the lack of anachronisms and the treatment of the era's sexual politics. The Independent called it "bodice-rippingly melodramatic" and showing a tension between Flannery's "desire to get as much real political fact in as he can and the ... requirement that a primetime series should liven up the party with sexual tension and historical glamour". The Times called it "a curious beast - mannered and theatrical, with modern-looking faces speaking period dialogue in an historical dreamscape" and "If not entirely successful, ... the best sort of failure - unusual, brave and fascinating". Another Times critic criticised it for "slightly too much reading history backwards here, almost making Angelica look like a modern woman travelled back in time" and its "frankly unnecessary bedroom scenes ... slipped in, presumably to demonstrate her liberated nature", whilst overall praising the episode as "gripping", "cutting" and "lively" and in particular noting that Simm played Sexby "strikingly". The Radio Times also noted it as "an intelligent, richly textured labour of love". John Adamson, a non-stipendiary by-fellow in History at Peterhouse, Cambridge, criticized the series as "a cartoon-strip version of the Civil War".
Awards and nominations
The series won in the Best Drama Series category at the 35th Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Awards (2009) and Riseborough won in the Best Actress Category.
- Hemley, Matthew (11 June 2007) Writer Flannery pens war drama for Channel 4, The Stage
- Hastings, Chris (11 June 2007) Channel 4 sexes up the Puritans, The Daily Telegraph
- Article from The Independent (newspaper) on the production
- Contemporary suspicion of Cromwell's possible collusion in Rainsborough's murder has been discussed by some historians, e.g. Williamson, Who was the Man in the Iron Mask and Other Historical Mysteries, 180. Lilburne also made this accusation against Cromwell and the Grandees, see, e.g., Southern Forlorn Hope, 68-9. Other historians[who?] reject this collusion.
- Bennett, Ronan (14 November 2008). "Remember the revolution?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- Banks-Smith, Nancy (20 November 2008). "Last night's TV". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Horspool, David (18 November 2008). "Last night's television". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- Sutcliffe, Tom (20 November 2008). "Last night's television". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Chater, David (19 November 2008). "Tonight's TV". The Times (London).
- Hume, Mick (20 November 2008). "The Devil’s Whore; Wild About Your Garden". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- "The Devil's Whore". 19 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Douglas, Torin (27 March 2009). "Winners - 35th BPG Television and Radio Awards". Broadcasting Press Guild. Retrieved 27 March 2009.