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TV series ‘My Lady Jane’ retells the Nine-Day Queen’s story with a twist

By Thomson Reuters Jun 19, 2024 | 5:52 PM

By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – Lady Jane Grey’s life story gets rewritten in the new comedy-fantasy series “My Lady Jane”, which sees the English noblewoman fight back against 16th century gender norms – and her fate.

The eight-episode show, which premiered in London on Wednesday, is based on the best-selling 2016 novel of the same name by authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows.

Lady Jane Grey, a studious teen, succeeded her cousin King Edward VI to the crown in 1553 but was dethroned by his half-sister Mary just nine days later and beheaded the following year, aged 16 or 17.

The show gives Jane a new lease of life and reimagines her relationships with her family, husband Lord Guildford Dudley and the court. It also adds colourful fantasy elements to the Tudor world.

“It’s a young heroine coming of age in a world that doesn’t want her to have any power. And then she gets all the power,” Gemma Burgess, the show’s creator, co-showrunner and executive producer said at the series’ London premiere.

“We wanted to make a female forward action-adventure swashbuckling romp that everyone can enjoy,” Burgess said.

American actress Emily Bader, who plays Jane, said taking on the title role was “an amazing challenge” and an honour.

“When I found out that it could be me, all my dreams kind of came true,” Bader said.

“She is the perfect image of the damsel in distress figure in history and I love that we’re subverting those tropes, we’re giving her a ‘what if’ scenario, letting her have the opportunity to maybe make a better future for herself which she never had the chance to.”

The show’s large ensemble cast includes actors Rob Brydon, who plays Lord Dudley, Anna Chancellor as Jane’s mother Lady Frances Grey and Dominic Cooper in the role of Lord Seymour.

“I think that lovers of the book will love this show because what Gemma and (co-showrunner) Meredith (Glynn) have done is taken it, which is such incredible source material, and just expanded it,” Bader said. “We have new characters, new relationships, new environments, new drama. And we’ve aged them up a bit, so it’s a bit sexy.”

“My Lady Jane” starts streaming on Prime Video globally on June 27.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Sonali Paul)