Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
With the Royal birth of William and Kate fresh in everyone’s mind, it made perfect sense to ask Philippa Gregory — author of the bestselling novels based on England’s medieval War of the Roses that led to the new 10-episode Starz limited series The White Queen — her opinion. During a TCA panel promoting the period drama that premieres August 9, , the brash and opinionated Gregory didn’t mince words: “OK, I’m going to save you all a lot of time and trouble here by saying I am utterly indifferent about Kate and Will’s baby”, she said. “I know this is terrible. It’s like blasphemy. And I couldn’t care less.” Why so indifferent? Gregory allowed that of course she’s happy the baby is healthy, but “I’m also extremely glad for his sake that it’s a boy,” she said. “Because (the child) is going to have a terrible life, and if he’d been a girl it’d have been a nightmare.” She added that during the medieval period when the White Queen story is based, a woman could not have inherited the throne, and that she’s at least pleased that the monarchy has sufficiently progressed to eliminate that little piece of sexism.
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The session found questions being asked about the accuracy of the story and the details featured in the big-ticket series, which stars Janet McTeer, Max Irons (son of Jeremy), Rebecca Ferguson and James Frain. One critic asked if Gregory thought the series was written in a different way to appeal to American audiences, presuming this is all history well-known in England. “You’re so nice to think that the British people are so well informed,” she said. “We don’t understand anything about our history. On some levels, we’re quite dumb.” It’s Gregory’s feeling that most Brits get their information about King Henry VIII from Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ performance in The Tudors. “But the idea with the show isn’t study but entertainment,” she said.