Reign tells the story of a young Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) during her early years in France and her courtship of future French King Dauphin (later Francis II) played by Toby Regbo.
Before the series has even premiered the shows boss has defended Reign pre-empting criticisms which may be leveled at it for lack of historical accuracy.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Tour Laurie McCarthy said “I think each episode will educate people on what element of history helps our story and I think there is a certain amount of latitude in terms of dramatizing events. …There are many things that never made it onto the pages of history, and I also wondered what was the castle was like on a Tuesday morning, what were they wearing when they weren’t getting their pictures taken.”
Reign’s lead star Adelaide Kane also defended the drama stating “It’s also TV, so it’s kind of like, we can take creative license. It’s entertainment; it’s not the history channel. We’re trying to make a show people will enjoy watching and really connect with and find really fun.”
The cast of Reign also includes The Tudors actors Torrance Coombs & Alan Van Sprang as well as Chronicles of Narnia actress Anna Popplewell. The pilot for the drama was shot in Ireland – where The Tudors was filmed – but the series is being produced in Canada.
If Reign does fall prey to criticisms over its accuracy it certainly won’t be the first period drama to do so. BBC One and Starz’s lavish drama piece The White Queen [pictured above] – which depicts of the events of War of the Roses from the point of view of the women involved – has received much criticism over period detail.
ITV/PBS’ prestigious drama – and ratings hit – Downton Abbey came under fire during its first season for gaffs such as satellite dishes being visible in some shots. The Tudors and Rome also came under fire for condensing and altering time lines to make events appear to happen close together when in fact they were years apart.
In fact you could argue producing a historical drama comes with such criticisms attached to it – its part of the package. Some experts argue that if a drama encourages viewers to research a topic in further detail then accuracy isn’t necessarily important. ATV Today critic Queenie Le Trout agrees. “Most viewers won’t pick up on small details like the history buffs do so as long as there are no large and glaringly obvious gaffs it doesn’t matter. What’s more important is engaging people with history and making them go away and read about it not making a drama so historical accurate its as dull as The Archers!”
Reign is one of The CW’s hot anticipated new dramas and has been dubbed “Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey”. It is predicted to be a surprise hit for the broadcaster whose usual fare is teen drama like 90210 or supernatural shows such as The Vampire Diaries.
Reign premiers on Thursday 17th October at 9pm on The CW.