The boss of a new TV drama about Anne Boleyn has defended the decision to give the role to a black actress.
The casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as Henry VIII’s second wife in the Channel 5 production sparked accusations of ‘blackwashing’, but director Lynsey Miller insisted: ‘I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it.
‘I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them.’
New look: Jodie Turner-Smith in costume on set (left). The boss of the new TV drama about Anne Boleyn (portrait, right) has defended the decision to give the role to a black actress
Ms Turner-Smith was acclaimed for her work in the US series The Last Ship and starred in the 2018 sci-fi horror series Nightflyers, based on short stories by Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin.
But when it emerged that she had landed the role of the ill-fated Tudor queen, who was beheaded in 1536, some social media users objected.
One tweeted: ‘Anne Boleyn, Queen of England and the second wife of King Henry VIII, will be played by a Black woman. Also, the blackwashing of White history is now called “convention-defying”.’
Another commented: ‘A black lady playing Anne Boleyn is blackwashing and needs to stop.
‘If whitewashing is not ok then neither is blackwashing! Equality.’