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Historical novelist Philippa Gregory blasts sex-obsessed TV producers

Historical novelist Philippa Gregory blasts sex-obsessed TV producers who vow to ‘respect’ her books then ‘write story they want’ using Wikipedia research and add in more nudity

  • Philippa Gregory said that producers promise to ‘respect a book’s authenticity’
  • She claims they then ‘write the story they want’ after some Wikipedia research
  • The English writer revealed the propensity of executives to want more nudity
  • Acclaimed author has written many novels set in the medieval and Tudor periods

An acclaimed historical novelist has called for an end to ‘mediocre’ screen adaptations.

Philippa Gregory, who wrote The Other Boleyn Girl, said producers would routinely promise to ‘respect the authenticity’ of a book before ‘writing the story they want’.

The English writer also revealed the propensity of film and TV executives to add more nudity to scenes to give them an additional appeal to audiences. 

Gregory said producers would ‘fill you with champagne’ and say ‘we love your book’ before rewriting the story after using ‘Wikipedia for the general background’.

Speaking at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, she said: ‘They do whatever they like and if you say “this is terrible”, they say, “I know but it has got to be like this.”

The Other Boleyn Girl starring Scarlett Johansson

Philippa Gregory (left), who wrote The Other Boleyn Girl (starring Scarlett Johansson, right), said producers would promise to ‘respect the authenticity’ of a book before ‘writing the story they want’

‘One production said to me: “This is all very well but we have to have some more nudity in it.” I said: “How much nudity?” They said: “Two breasts and a bottom”.

‘I am a modern woman so I said: “Sure, knock yourself out. They can have a bath, I don’t mind”.’ 

‘Some people do a very nice job with it, and some people do a mediocre job with it and some do a job that I won’t watch.’ 

The author has written many novels set in the medieval and Tudor periods and has seen her work translated into 70 languages.

Her books took £17.4 million at the tills in the UK alone between 2000 and 2009, and The Other Boleyn Girl became a Hollywood film starring Scarlett Johansson.

The television version of The White Queen, starring Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons, was remarkably raunchy.

Speaking after it aired, she said: ‘Publishing is not an easy business, but the film and TV world is really rather brutal.

‘The performances in The White Queen just blew me away and I was personal friends with Max Irons, who was Edward IV, and Rebecca Ferguson, who played Elizabeth Woodville. But I did have difficulties with the scripts.’

She also voiced her displeasure with the Harvey Weinstein-backed adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl after its release in 2008.

Gregory said: ‘Let me assure you that when the producers have put £72 million on their production they are not going to stop because I say that hood is not right.

‘They are going to say: “Thank you honey, have another glass of champagne”.’ 


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