Wolf Hall: Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell

Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light begins filming soon

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The final chapter of the acclaimed Wolf Hall sees Mark Rylance return to his role of Thomas Cromwell. 

The BBC have announced the imminent start of production on a second series of its Tudor drama Wolf Hall. Based on the novels of the late Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light adapts the final book in her trilogy.

The series will trace the final four years of Cromwell’s life, completing his journey from self-made man to the most feared, influential figure of his time.

Wolf Hall: Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII
Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII

It also promises a return of its stellar cast; Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell, with Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII and Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey.

Here’s where the story picks up:

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?

Wolf Hall: Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey
Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey

Kate Phillips also reprises her Jane Seymour, with Lilit Lesser as Princess Mary, Henry’s daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Further cast will be announced in due course.

Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light is a Playground and Company Pictures co-production for the BBC and Masterpiece.  The director is Peter Kosminsky, the adapter Peter Straughan and the producer Lisa Osborne. Executive Producers are Colin Callender and Noëlette Buckley for Playground, Peter Kosminsky, Lucy Richer for the BBC, and Susanne Simpson for Masterpiece.

The six-part series is being made for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, the first series is on the iPlayer.