Hold on to your hats on 3 April, because the Borgias are coming to prime time. Showtime announces that ‘The Borgias will be a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history’s most intriguing and infamous dynastic families.’ Not content with US remakes of European television, apparently we’ve moved on to US remakes of European history. After the success of The Tudors, Showtime has obviously scented money in the water and it’s willing to back it up with serious investment, with an up-front order of 10 hour long episodes that can’t come on a cheap budget when you’re talking about depicting the circles of power in 15th century Italy. Gilt alone is probably going to run them more than I make in a year.
Starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia and tantalising us with creative talent like Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), the show promises to be filled with epic storylines, because the Borgias were no slackers when it came to leading action-packed, duplicitous, and scheming lives. US audiences appear to have recently acquired a taste for high-flying historical dramas, something audiences in places like Britain have already been enjoying for decades. I’m placing bets on The Romanovs next, given that the tragic downfall of royal dynasties is part of the appeal. We like royalty here, but we don’t like to let them get too royal.