Made across six months in the run-up to publication of The Mirror and the Light, the final book in Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning Tudor trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell, this film enjoys exclusive and extensive access to one of the world’s greatest living writers, delving into Mantel's past and present as she describes a vivid imagination active from an early age and recounts with candour a tale of growing up with a dark family secret.
Who could have imagined that Mantel’s working-class anti-hero Thomas Cromwell would come to be so loved across the globe? Five hundred years after his death, the story of Cromwell’s extraordinary rise and sudden fall has been brought back into the light, drawing a vast readership, two Booker wins, a Bafta-winning television adaptation, a West End show and the interpretative gifts of some of the greatest actors.
Intertwining the themes of the Wolf Hall trilogy - power, faith, kingship and Englishness - with stories from her own life, the film also explores how the world of Thomas Cromwell reverberates in our world today. The film follows Mantel as she talks about how and why she embarked on the trilogy and how the writing of it has changed her life. This is an artist’s biography in the characteristic style and voice of one of the most singular and brilliant minds of our age. Showing Hilary Mantel in her own world, both real and imaginative, led by the curiosity that has driven her from the beginning, this film shows a writer at the peak of her powers.
Hilary Mantel: The Return to Wolf Hall aired on BBC Two on Saturday 7th March 2020. It is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Click here to watch.