A Day in the life of a Tudor

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It was not easy being a councillor to Henry 8th. For a start he always found a good reason to start chasing after other women and as soon as his present wife started a little bit of moaning, as cheated on wives tend to do, off came her head. He worked on the principal no head, no moan. And then there was the costume. Heavy velvet trousers with more buttons than cats eyes on the M50. You had to make a half hour allowance ‘Button Time’ for a simple pee-wee. It was hot the final year on the Tudors. We strutted around the yard in Ardmore Studios like a flock of cantankerous turkeys on Christmas week, waiting for the call. Jonathon Rhys Myers or Johnny as he liked to be called would arrive resplendent in velvet and ermine from top to toe and then the sweating competition would begin. The makeup girls would begin to apply their trade with small make up brushes and by the end of the shoot they would have changed to paint rollers. It was mandatory to report to the hair and makeup trailer before going on set. Not being blessed with much of the former I would just stick my head in the door and the hairstylist would give me a pitiful look and shout ‘Next’.

The executions were the best. Nothing like a bit of blood and gore. The executioner would raise his axe and on command we would all look shocked as the false head with a generous smattering of tomato ketchup would be held aloft for all to see. Some of the more refined females amongst the cast would turn a funny sort of green colour and confess to feeling a little bit queasy. During the tea break the executioner would pour two cups of tea, one for himself and the other for the head. At one stage we stuck a biscuit in the heads mouth and then presented it to one of the more queasy ladies-in-waiting. It was not appreciated.

Christ church in Dublin was the scene for the Kings Thanksgiving for sending him such a beautiful wife. Mind you two weeks later he discovered that the trollop was having it off with his personal courtier and there was a ‘Double Header’ that week. Word had got around Dublin that we were shooting the Tudors there and every tour bus and tourist made their way to Christchurch. When we came out from shooting they were six deep at the railing all hoping to catch sight of Johnny. You couldn’t hear yourself talk with the sound of camera shutters. The scene had involved a couple of hundred extras all in various states of dress from nobles to peasants. There are photographs of us in every state in America and China. Click, click, click. ‘Sir, can you just look over here’. Shay, who was getting a little peeved at all this attention muttered ‘Jasus, all they’re short of asking is for me to stand on me head and whistle Dixie’. It was then I got the brain wave. ‘Come here you two’, I said catching two of the peasants by the arm. They were dressed in sack cloth and were filthy dirty and looked as if they had just completed their sewer cleaning shift. I got them two polystyrene cups from the coffee stand and marched them up to the railings in front of the crowd of tourists. ‘Now’ said I, ‘Beg’. The two lads did as ordered and went up and down the railings holding out the cups. ‘Spare a bit of loose change for the peasants’ they murmured. One elderly American didn’t see the joke and said ‘Don’t they pay you guys much?’

Anyway all went well and the Tudors has become a cult worldwide. We were proud to be part of it and we had some unforgettable memories. We made friends, shared some great moments and had the satisfaction of being part of something which was quite unique. Long Live the King.