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I t is the most expensive French TV series ever made — the saga of a paranoid young monarch and the sex, violence and intrigue in his court. They felt historical fact was a loose starting point for dazzling fiction and sensed Louis XIV might have been something of a psychopath.
It drew the line at filming in eastern Europe , which the writers had warned would be ridiculous and the ultimate taboo. It was the first French series to have a second season commissioned before the first had aired. Producers have acknowledged that the first episode does have its fair share of sex and violence, but things calm down a bit after that.
And Monsieur liked lots of men and had a lot of relationships — his wife found him in bed with men many times. Da Vinha advised on details ranging from shaving methods to foreign diplomacy, but he stressed Versailles was a work of fiction.
He had a wife and children. If I accepted, I would have lost all credibility as an adviser, so they took my view. Nor was it the brazenly fictional elements. It was more the expensive production values. But these production values meant Versailles was swiftly sold for broadcast across the world, including in the UK and US. Its ghostly alpine saga The Returned drew nearly 2 million viewers per episode when it ran, subtitled, on Channel 4.
Historical drama TV. This article is more than 5 years old. A scene from Versailles, coming soon to BBC2. Angelique Chrisafis in Paris. Fri 22 Apr Reuse this content.