I will be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for trashy historical TV. I like the costumes, I like the intrigue, I like the soft core “erotica” that always gets shuffled in, in case we get bored of all those names and dates. It’s all good!

HOWEVER: it has led us to believe that people in the past were hotter than they actually were (as it were). And I am here to (unfortunately) spread the truth. So, before you buy your time machine to head back and woo the historical personality of your dreams, here is a taste of unpleasant reality for you. TV “sexing up” history caught at it: the historical figures who weren’t actually THAT hot:

 

CLEOPATRA (1CE Egypt) ROME (HBO 2005-2007)

EXPECTATION:

Lyndsey-Marshal-Cleopatra-Rome
REALITY: 

080530-antony-cleopatra_big

(Ok, you can’t see her very well cos the statues are all damaged, but recent archaeological finds suggest that Cleopatra wasn’t really a looker. What she was, though, was smart and ruthless and resourceful).

 

RICHARD III (C15th England) THE WHITE QUEEN (BBC2 2013)

EXPECTATION:

the-white-queen-and-a-great-king-richard-iii-L-PRVMym

REALITY:

king_richard_iii.jpg

(Who did you think you were kidding, BBC2?)

 

DAUPHIN FRANCIS (C16th France) REIGN (The CW, 2013)

EXPECTATION: 

images-3

REALITY: 

Francis_II_The-_Dauphin

 

 

ANNE BOLEYN and HENRY VIII (C16th England), THE TUDORS (BBC2, 2007-10)

EXPECTATION: 

aw39y

REALITY: 

HenryVIIIandAnneBoleynCompressed

 

 

 

And my personal favourite! Prize for the biggest difference…

LUCREZIA BORGIA (C16th Italy), THE BORGIAS (Showtime, 2011)

EXPECTATION:

images-4

 

Super hot, right? Now wait for it…

 

REALITY: 

MTE1ODA0OTcxNTYwNjk5NDA1

 

 

Better return that time machine if you were hoping to score some hot historical booty.

 

 

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