This ambitious nine-hour BBC television mini-series THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII debuted in 1970 to rave reviews, and was eventually broadcast in 70 countries. Tracing the life and loves of the terrible and grandiose monarch, the series follows Henry from his days as an athletic 18-year-old, through his lusty, hotheaded prime, to his final days, bloated and infirm, at 56. Each of the six episodes revolves around one of Henry's many wives: the kind and loving Catherine of Aragon; Anne Boleyn, the dark-haired, tempestuous girl who led Henry to reject Catholicism and create the Anglican Church--and whom he had put to death; Jane Seymour, who died in childbirth; the unattractive Anne of Cleves; the unfaithful Katherine Howard, also sentenced to death; and Katherine Parr, more of a nurse than a wife, who assisted the old king in his final years.
Kevin Michell, an unknown Australian actor discovered by Sir Laurence Olivier, played the role of Henry VIII to much acclaim, and Annette Crosbie won kudos for her role as Catherine of Aragon. Filled with drama, fine-acting, lavish costumes and sets, and praised for its historical accuracy, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII is a triumph of television.