Release Date: 7th February 1986
Director: Trevor Nunn
Writer: Chris Bryant & David Edgar
Producer: Peter Snell
Associative Producer: Ted Lloyd
Runtime: 2hrs 22mins
The death of King Henry VIII of England throws his kingdom into chaos as his heir, Edward VI, is both under-age and in poor health. Anticipating the young king’s imminent death from consumption and anxious to keep England true to the Reformation by keeping the Catholic Mary from the throne, John Dudley, Lord President of the Council and second only to the king in power, hatches a plan to marry his son, Lord Guilford, to Lady Jane Grey, and have the royal physician keep the young king Edward VI alive—albeit in excruciating pain—long enough to get him to name Jane his heir.
Jane is not happy with the proposed marriage, and must be forced into it through corporal punishment by her parents. At first Jane and Guilford decide to treat their union purely as a marriage of convenience, but then they fall deeply in love.
After Edward VI dies, Jane is placed on the throne. She is troubled by the questionable legality of her accession, but after consulting with Guilford, turns the tables on John Dudley and the others who thought to use her as a puppet.
After only nine days, however, Queen Jane is abandoned by her council precisely because of her reformist designs for the country. The council then supports Mary, who at first imprisons Jane and Guilford.
Consumed with guilt, Jane’s father, the Duke of Suffolk, raises a rebellion to restore her to the throne, presumably in concert with Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion. When the rebellion fails, Queen Mary I offers to spare Jane’s life if she renounces her Protestant faith. When she refuses, Jane, her father and Guilford are all executed.
Helena Bonham Carter…as Lady Jane Grey
Carey Elwes…as Guilford Dudley
John Wood…as John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Patrick Stewart…Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk
Joss Ackland…as Sir John Bridges