The Shadow of the Tower

The Shadow of the Tower is a historical drama that was broadcast on BBC2 in 1972. It was a prequel to the earlier serials The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R and featured several actors who had appeared in them (but in new roles). Consisting of thirteen episodes, it focused on the reign of Henry VII of England and the creation of the Tudor dynasty.

The Shadow of the Tower
The Shadow of the Tower.jpg
Written byRosemary Anne Sisson
Hugh Whitemore
Julian Mitchell
Directed byPrudence Fitzgerald
Moira Armstrong
Anthea Browne-Wilkinson
Joan Kemp-Welch
StarringJames Maxwell
Norma West
ComposerHerbert Chappell
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes13
Production companyBBC
Original networkBBC 2
Original release6 January (1972-01-06) –
30 March 1972 (1972-03-30)


Actor/Actress Role
James Maxwell King Henry VII
Norma West Elizabeth of York
Marigold Sharman Margaret Beaufort
Derek Anders James IV
Adrienne Byrne Catherine of Aragon
Denis Carey Cardinal Morton
John Franklyn-Robbins Sir William Stanley
Gawn Grainger Earl of Kildare
Colin Jeavons Sir Robert Clifford
Michael Johnson Lord Lovell
Jason Kemp Prince Arthur
Rachel Kempson Margaret of York
James Laurenson Earl of Lincoln
Hayward Morse Thomas Atwood
Christopher Neame Earl of Warwick (as adult)
Jake Robson Earl of Warwick (as boy)
Maurice Roëves Humphrey Stafford
John Hamill Thomas Stafford
Nicholas Selby Earl of Devon
Richard Warwick Perkin Warbeck
Joanna Tope Cicely
Gary Warren Lambert Simnel
Brian Badcoe Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke
John Bennett De Puebla


Episode Air date Title Summary
1 6 Jan. 1972 Crown in Jeopardy Henry Tudor emerges victorious over Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field and seeks to form a coalition from which he hopes to establish a Tudor dynasty.
2 13 Jan. 1972 Power in the Land Henry consolidates his power when Elizabeth gives birth to Prince Arthur legitimizing Henry's claim of descent from the legendary monarch.
3 20 Jan. 1972 The Schooling of Apes Henry's enemies represent commoner Lambert Simmel as the Earl of Warwick, the York pretender. The Earl of Lincoln leaves for Ireland to head the army that is forming against Henry.
4 27 Jan. 1972 The Crowning of Apes Henry forms an army to defend himself against the Irish-German army coming against him from Ireland.
5 3 Feb. 1972 The Serpent and the Comforter King Henry is intrigued by a preacher who is arrested for heresy and speaks with him to persuade him to give up his dissension against the practices of the Catholic Church. The preacher emphasizes to him the simplicity of the Gospel, and his suffering and convictions impress a young Tower guard.[1]
6 10 Feb. 1972 The White Hart The year is 1494 and King Henry is alarmed that the powerful and arrogant Sir William Stanley may be implicated in a plot against his crown.
7 17 Feb. 1972 A Fly in the Ointment Addle-brained Sir John Kendall and his dim-witted nephew devise a ludicrous plan to kill the King with a harmless ointment from phony astrologer.
8 24 Feb. 1972 The Princely Gift Visionary Italian navigator John Cabot has a difficult time convincing Bristol businessmen and the King that his Western voyage to China is practical and profitable.
9 2 Mar. 1972 Do the Sheep Sin? Heavy-handed tax policies lead the peasants of Cornwall to march peacefully in protest on London, but an ambitions nobleman wants to use the pilgrimage to his own advantage.
10 9 Mar. 1972 The Man Who Never Was Commoner Perkin Warbeck, pretender to Henry's throne, finds he's losing support throughout Europe.
11 16 Mar. 1972 The Strange Shapes of Reality Although Perkin Warbeck enjoys only house arrest for his treason through Henry's mercy, he continues to plot against the King.
12 23 Mar. 1972 The Fledgling In order to give his dynasty more credibility, Henry tries to arrange a marriage between his son and the Spanish princess, but there are preconditions.
13 30 Mar. 1972 The King without a Face The year is now 1501 and Henry is now finally secure on the throne with his promising son Arthur about to marry Catherine of Aragon, however in the shadows tragic events are lying in wait for the King.



  1. ^ Parizo, Pamela. "Plot". IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  2. ^ "The Shadow of the Tower Episodes Guide and Summaries". Next Episode. Retrieved 1 October 2019.

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