“Unseen Footage: Teenage Queen’s Wild Moments on My Lady Jane Set!”


“Right in the middle of the tit, every time!”

You don’t understand My Lady Jane if this does not sound like the chatter that you would expect to hear on a lavishly decorated Tudor-set period play.

The Prime Video live action series, adapted by Gemma Burgess, from a saucy YA fantasia of the same title, is, by design and by definition, not your mother’s Tudor tragedy. This take on Lady Jane Grey’s tragic nine-day rule in 1553 is a bit sharp and a little sexy. It was written by Burgess ( Supernatural ) and Meredith Glynn, with Jamie Babbit as the primary director. Think less Wolf Hall, and more Blackadder. Less Mary King of Scots, and more Princess Bride.

Did I forget to mention anything? The characters are transformed into animals in half. It’s crucial, I believe, that I understand this, because nor , released earlier in the month, quite succeeded. This is a pivotal part of Jane Grey’s tale.

The cast was not present on the London set when I visited the show as part of a media tour a week before Christmas in 2022. The humans behind each character are present on the set. But not their animal counterparts.

It’s a bit disappointing to learn that we won’t be able to bring any animals with us. The people who read the book (or re-read it in my case) in preparation arrived at Pinewood Studios with an Ethian mindset. Ethian is the term used for people in My Lady Jane who can transform into animals. In our timeline, the Protestant/Catholic divide that plagued 16th-century England led to Lady Jane’s tragic death. My Lady Jane promises a happy ending for its heroine, with horses, ferrets, hawks and foxes. Ferrets are ready to be welcomed.

Mary’s bedroom is next, and we are told that it will be someone else’s when “something happens in the show”. Mary’s room is currently outfitted in dark wood furniture and gothic (but not ic), studded leather. Like Jane’s quarters, Mary’s room also has a working fireplace, but it’s nothing compared to the one we’re led to in Bess’s room, which is mobile enough to slide from one part of the set to another (to anchor yet another character’s room), and which contains a secret hidey hole for Bess (Abbie Hern) to hide her most precious trinkets–custom-crafted Anne Boleyn necklace included.

Bess cleverly designed her hidey-hole to allow a camera lens to pass through it from the rear. When you are designing a TV set, it is important to consider what the camera will see. It’s also the reason why many sets, which have partially or even fully-covered ceilings to give a more lived-in feel, are equipped with camera holes in different places. And why prop furniture is chosen for its texture.

The walls are covered in gold and crimson tapestries, the ceiling with chandeliers with branches of golden metal. The floor is decorated with delicate gilt petals.

Gina Cromwell is one of two tour guides for My lady Jane and the lead set decorator. The gold accents were painted everywhere. When we design a set we think about what it will look like in the dark. There’s a lot more candlelight and twinkling and we want to reflect that light off of everything. She tells us that this is why there are so much , and many of them work. It’s about the twinkle.

This brings me back to the tits. The main scene that was being shot on this day was Jane’s glittery inauguration ball in the castle’s ballroom. Cromwell’s team has covered the walls with crimson-and-gold tapestries, the ceiling with golden chandeliers with branched branches and the floor with delicate gilt petals. The chandelier candles are flicked-on electric candles. The candles at the front dais are real but unlit. The room is twinkling.

It’s an opportunity for people to be interested in what happened and to learn about the history that we don’t tell.

Brydon is also a fan of the dynamic on screen between the semi-fictional villains: “Oh, on the surface we are trying to be polite, but there’s lots of, what’s that word again?” He pauses to create effect. “Beef. As the young people say: Beef. You may not be familiar with the word. It’s a term that young people use. He sets me up to be a poisoner and I must then beg for life. I then wriggle out of it, but later on we meet in court, and he says, “bygones?” Again, Chums? “That’s a lot of fun.”

Maybe a little Wolf Hall after all. Just, funny. One can also hope that they are real wolves.

It’s Bader, not O’Flynn or Cooper, who shares the inside scoop. Jane’s gold ruff is the exact same piece that Gwyneth wore in Shakespeare in Love. The costume was preserved in Pinewood for 24 years before finding a new life on Bader.

Bader tells us, even before Bluemel and Bader have settled, “They sent a photo to Stephanie [Collie], and said this is what they want.” “And then she says, ‘Well, we have that exact piece. They made another similar one, but we decided to use the original.

It’s like the story of My Lady Jane boiled down: incredible attention to character and narrative detail, backed up by the kind pre-2023 of money and studio support which makes almost any request possible. You want Gwyneth’s gold Shakespeare in Love rough? Done. You want Indiana Jones’ literal horse? It’s no problem. You want to film a mounted battle on horseback in the rainy moors, then recreate it on a bluescreen at Pinewood? Absolutely! It’s a yes!

This feels right to Bader. When a British reporter asks her whether this was something that she found striking about her character, Bader agrees that there is an inherent tragedy in a monarch who lived for only nine days after assuming the throne. As an American, she is a bit of a spoiler for those who were fooled by Keira Knightley’s flawless impression. Bader was more shocked by the fact that we know so little about Jane five hundred years after she died.

She says: “I asked at the Tower of London if they knew anything about Lady Jane Grey, and they replied, Jane Austen?” “It was shocking to me that a woman, who was Qqueen of England, Ireland, and was murdered for it, her life would just be a footnote in a book for some people.” Bader admits that there are some useful history books that provide details they could use to create Jane’s character on screen. For example, “we know that she was one of the most intelligent women of her day, and that was a multilingual” — but those details still only scratch the surface. “She was a fascinating woman, who never had the chance to show how brilliant she really was.”


Bluemel reminds that we only know a few things about the real Guildford: “Sixteen year old boy, married Lady Jane Grey and died.” He’s excited about the prospect of imagining a more full life for Guildford even if, according to his audition tapes, it means a leather-clad, “Tudor era Harry Styles.”

He says, “Obviously, the way we tell it is heavily embellished.” “But it also means that people can take an interest in the real history, and learn what we don’t tell.”

Burgess Glynn, and Babbit have the same goal at the end of it all: to subvert what little history we know about Lady Jane Grey, and in the process, make her a real. Even if the process involves ferrets, even if we get hit in the tits every time.


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