"Tudor Whodunnit" filmed in Greenwich brought back to life

By Rachel Bishop on June 28, 2014 12:00 PM |


A "Tudor Whodunnit" looking at one day in the final year of Henry VIII's life has been remastered and released on DVD ahead of the king's 523rd birthday.

Monarch is the only film about Henry VIII, entirely shot in the borough he was born - Greenwich. It was created nearly 20 years ago.

Director John Walsh talks about the new version, ahead of Henry's birthday (June 28, 1491) and how it was filming the piece in Greenwich all the way back in 1996.

■ How did you come up with the idea?

I was always aware that the monarchy sits at the very centre of our identity as a nation. Our Queen has become the benchmark for a monarch the world over.

I have been interested in historical dramas and political intrigue. But I felt there was another way to tell the story of our most infamous king that didn't require it being a grand scale spread across his lifetime.

Here I had Henry VIII trapped in an abandoned manor house after falling from his horse, or perhaps he was pushed. What unfolds is a Tudor whodunnit.

■ How does Greenwich feature in the film?

Set during one night in an almost empty manor house, my film about Henry VIII needed a credible place for the action to take place.

Charlton House was the ideal setting for what would be the film that set my career in the right path. It is a Jacobean manor house, so we had our work cut out dressing it to resemble the time period of Henry VIII.

We worked with local business and employed lots of local people in technical roles. This story is closer to the truth than any of the Hollywood epic retellings - Henry was born in Greenwich himself. I hope the big man himself would approve.

■ What do you hope the re-mastered version will bring people?

Some films, like Monarch are still out there to be found. Perhaps they have been mislabelled or are in a vast vault that has not been checked for years.

Either way the HD processing of my film will "future-protect" it and will give today's audiences the chance to see the wonderful performance of Jean Marsh (Henry's ex-wives) and the towering presence of TP McKenna (Henry VIII), regarded as one of the greats of his generation and rightly so in one of his most outstanding performances.

Go to monarchfilm.com.