Director of Anne Boleyn drama says 'we have the best person for role'

Director of TV drama about Anne Boleyn says ‘we have the best person for the role’ and ‘let the critics talk’ after casting black actress Jodie Turner-Smith as Henry VIII’s wife

  • Casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn sparked claims of ‘blackwashing’
  •  But director said: ‘I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role’
  • Ms Turner-Smith was acclaimed for her work in the US TV series The Last Ship 
  • But when it emerged she landed Boleyn role, some social media users objected

The boss of a new TV drama about Anne Boleyn has defended the decision to give the role to a black actress.

The casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as Henry VIII’s second wife in the Channel 5 production sparked accusations of ‘blackwashing’, but director Lynsey Miller insisted: ‘I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it.

‘I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them.’


New look: Jodie Turner-Smith in costume on set (left). The boss of the new TV drama about Anne Boleyn (portrait, right) has defended the decision to give the role to a black actress

Ms Turner-Smith was acclaimed for her work in the US series The Last Ship and starred in the 2018 sci-fi horror series Nightflyers, based on short stories by Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. 

But when it emerged that she had landed the role of the ill-fated Tudor queen, who was beheaded in 1536, some social media users objected.

One tweeted: ‘Anne Boleyn, Queen of England and the second wife of King Henry VIII, will be played by a Black woman. Also, the blackwashing of White history is now called “convention-defying”.’

Another commented: ‘A black lady playing Anne Boleyn is blackwashing and needs to stop. 

‘If whitewashing is not ok then neither is blackwashing! Equality.’

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