“The Borgias couldn’t give a stuffed fig about sense”

If Camelot was anything to go by the actual series will fail to match the promise of the review and will be cancelled after one season.  Until then enjoy another epic review, this time of The Borgias, by Sarah Dempster at the Guardian’s TV blog.

Created by director Neil Jordan, The Borgias is a potboiler in the (throbbing, purple) vein of The Tudors and Camelot. Stuffed to the chancel with priests, bums, greed, shouting, bribery, incest, poisonings and knockers, the nine-part Hungary-Ireland-Canada co-production takes the story of the notorious Renaissance dynasty, then shakes it by its ankles until its brain falls out.

The plot, then: Rome, 1492, and the Vatican is besieged by bastards keen to divest the dastardly Pope Alexander VI (formerly Rodrigo Borgia) of his enormous mitre. Glum new pontiff (a never-wearier Jeremy Irons) engages in bouts of melancholic sadomasochism with a naked strumpet (“WHIP ME, MY LORD”), while putatively hunky son Cesare (François Arnaud) swaggers between clandestine powwows with shadowy assassins and heavy flirting sessions with vexing sister Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), a whey-faced flibbertigibbet prone to flights of insufferable adolescent fancy (“I want a unicorn.”)

Read the whole thing.  Heh.

, , , , , ,

  • carl marks

    Stuffed to the chancel with priests, bums, greed, shouting, bribery, incest, poisonings and knockers,
    You got to admire the Vatican for its consistency centuries have passed and not a lot of change ,eh

  • michael-mcivor

    The protestant reformation began in 1517-
    so in Borgias time- we would all have been catholic-

  • Rory Carr

    “The protestant reformation began in 1517-”

    Since which time all ministers and adherents of the reformed church(es) have been the very models of Christian rectitude, temperance, chastity, modesty and forbearance, an example to all who would profess the Christian faith or those who languish outside it in idolatrous ignorance.

    I am so glad I am not a Protestant. I would have been driven to suicide through righteousness and rectitude by now.

    Give me the Borgias any day – at least they brightened up the place with a bit of colour.

  • Pete Baker


    Just remember we’re in the ‘Humour’ category.

  • Banjaxed

    @Rory Carr
    (RC? Surely no coincidence!)

    ‘…at least they brightened up the place with a bit of colour.’

    And that colour being red, I suppose, from the blood of their victims. Also the same colour as the Pope’s socks, if I can remember my Paisleyisms.

    This series, however, is better than the one of the 1980s (which had the same title) in which Adolphe Celi (of Thunderball fame), who also played Rodrigo but whose atrocious English accent made that series a laughing stock. He kept referring to himself as ‘The Pop’.

    Maybe I just didn’t get the irony then – as in ‘Pop’ = ‘Godfather’. And maybe I should get a life!

  • I saw a previous TV series about the Borgias many years ago. My enduring memory of the series wasn’t the fact of the Pope bedding so many women. You quickly got used to the idea that this was the way of this Pope (by the way much fatter and uglier in that series than Jeremy Irons).

    It weas the scenes after the Pope’s death which particularly stuck out in my mind. Under canon law then, the election of the pope had to take place within 10 days of the death of the previous pope, so they delayed his burial. His body, particularly his stomach, expanded massively. Then, by the time he was due to be buried, nobody wanted to do it and the vatican was engulfed by the putrid stench of the Pope’s corpse.