The Six Wives of Henry VIII was a series of six teleplays produced by the BBC and first transmitted between 1 January and 5 February 1970. One of the first major British television series to be videotaped in colour, it was a huge success, propelling its previously little-known star, Keith Michell, into the limelight.
Each of the series of plays was devoted to one of the wives of King Henry VIII of England, and all were of equal length, regardless of the enormous variation in the length of their respective marriages. Each episode was written by a different dramatist.
The wives were:
Catherine of Aragon played by Annette Crosbie (later to become Victor Meldrew's wife in One Foot in the Grave!)
Anne Boleyn played by Dorothy Tutin
Jane Seymour played by Anne Stallybrass
Anne of Cleves played by Elvi Hale
Catherine Howard played by Angela Pleasence
Catherine Parr played by Rosalie Crutchley.
Episode 6 - Catherine Parr
The episode begins with Catherine Parr, the recently widowed Lady Latimer, about to receive an audience with the king. Henry, old, corpulent, sick and lonely, takes to the mature twice-widowed lady; and her honesty and beauty entice him. She turns down his offer of marriage, however - only to be persuaded by the ambitious Seymour brothers Edward and Thomas (brothers of the late queen Jane Seymour), to accept Henry's proposal. Thomas, even though he and Catherine have romantic feelings for each other, is especially eager to have Catherine marry Henry. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer also wishes Catherine to marry the king. Catherine soon becomes Queen of England, and her natural maternal instinct is put into practice with the king's children: Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. However, Bishop Gardiner takes a dislike to Catherine's religious views as he is a staunch Catholic. He plots her downfall, and questions her ladies. Gardiner even has one woman, Anne Askew (not one of Catherine's ladies, but a notable religious writer and speaker who's works Catherine had read), on the rack. Catherine is horrified by Askew's story, and confronts her husband and Gardiner. Henry becomes frustrated by her constant want for debate, and angrily rejects her. Soon, a warrant for the queen to be arrested and "examined" (which is practically a death sentence), is made-out. Catherine is terrified; but Archbishop Cranmer advises her to assume a modest, humble, apologetic pose to the king, and Henry forgives her. Soon after, Henry suddenly collapses, obviously near death. After a long wait, the king dies, and Thomas Seymour asks Catherine to marry him. Still in her mourning clothes, Catherine accepts, and the episode ends.