When I'm painting in the back room I've usually got something jabbering away on the BBC iPlayer. A typical choice would be a documentary, but a work colleague suggested the Versailles drama series. It was a risk, as I normally consider these historical dramas more my partner's domain than mine (she absolutely loves The Tudors). Anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot.
It's lavishly filmed with both outstanding costumes and sets, so that caught my attention initially. However I was also gradually drawn in by an excellent storyline that involves a carousel of court intrigue and plotting (they're definitely handy with the old poison, with quite a few characters gruesomely taken down while coughing blood and clutching at their throats). It seems that the weakness of the French aristocracy was that none of them knew how to prepare their own meals, which gives endless opportunity for some ne'er do well to slip arsenic into the spiced partridge.
The acting is very solid. The background of a few of the main cast is quite surprising once I'd had a search for them on the internet. George Blagden for instance, who plays Louis XIV also starred in the recent Wrath of the Titans film, absolutely shines here. As does my favourite, Tygh Runyan, who plays the King's Chief of Police. He appears as the plotters nemesis, and is quite often equally as bloody minded when it comes to protecting the Crown.
The DVD set of series one and two are available at a reasonable amount. I picked it up for £15, knowing well that it'll probably be taken off the iPlayer after a few weeks. Definitely worth a viewing!