Why I’m letting The White Queen fade to black and keep returning to The Returned.
Since flagship programmes such as the BBC’s Sherlock and ITV’s Downton Abbey were shown on sunday nights, the end of the week has been the prime slot for television drama.
The White Queen, the BBC’s adaptation of the Philippa Gregory novels, looks at England post-War of the Roses, focusing on Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson, above) and her love affair with dashing new king Edward IV.
However love is never simple in a BBC drama and Elizabeth has to deal with the fallout of the war, aristocracy jealous at her family’s rise to royalty and Lord Warwick, the king’s cousin and ‘Kingmaker’. On the plus side though, she possesses magical powers so perhaps those will help.
One episode in and I enjoyed the regal sass and courtly bitchiness. But after watching a few more episodes I don’t think I’ll be keeping up with the new king and queen. The many characters feel indistinguishable from each other meaning there’s a lack of connection with the audience. The storyline winds round and round, with little plot progression in between each of the many retires to thy royal bed chamber. As well as this, the script oddly marries contemporary dialogue with more courtly language, creating a strained feeling in all exchanges. A ten part series feels too long to follow the queen and her magic ways for me.
The Returned on the other hand had me intrigued from the start. Channel 4’s first non-English drama it tells the story of a town in France whose inhabitants both dead and alive find their pasts reawakening.I don’t want ruin any of the brilliantly revealed plot twists but I will tell you that it’s clever, slick, beautifully shot and compellingly told. The end of each episode has me feeling instantly impatient for the next. Use the brilliant 4OD to catch up and I promise you won’t be disappointed.