Picks and Pans Review: Henry VIII

updated 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST


PBS (Sun., Nov. 7 and 14, 9 p.m. ET)

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Ray Winstone goes a tad over the top occasionally in this forceful Masterpiece Theatre two-parter, but then he's playing a man whose lack of restraint was legend. "I can do anything I want—I'm the King of England," says Henry, and the actor leaves no room for argument.

Winstone, a gangster in Sexy Beast, gives the mercurial monarch the touch of a 16th-century Tony Soprano. Watch Henry hug longtime ally Cardinal Wolsey (David Suchet) before having him arrested—all that's missing is the kiss of death. Though his wrath can shake a palace, it's possible to sympathize with this ruthless king, because sexy, spirited women make him weak in the knees. Watch Henry with second wife Anne Boleyn (Helena Bonham Carter) and fifth wife Catherine Howard (Emily Blunt). The king is gaga, and therefore human.

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