She-Wolves: England's Early Queens (2011)

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Released 7-Nov-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 165:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Madman Entertainment
Starring Dr Helen Castor
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Living in an era where we have been "ruled" by a female monarch for 60 years it seems strange and amazing to imagine a time when any woman who dared approach the throne of England was later vilified as a she-wolf - mad, bad and dangerous to know.

     In this three part series based on her hugely successful book She Wolves: England's Early Queens Dr Helen Castor takes us back to the mediaeval and Tudor world where men were men and women stayed out of politics. This series examines seven powerful women, beginning with Matilda some 800 years ago and ending with Elizabeth I, who tried to rule in their own right and faced inordinate struggles.

     This is hard-core history but fortunately Dr Castor is such a precise and entertaining host that she cuts through the myriad of dukes, lords and ladies and gets right to the heart of the matter. Whether strolling through ancient crumbling castles or thumbing through a mediaeval manuscript Dr Castor is an excellent guide to the world of court intrigue.

     The series is divided into three episodes:

     Each does justice to these complex figures and history is brought very much alive. My only criticism of the show is that in making each episode close to an hour and splitting it between, in the main, two important figures it becomes hard to concentrate on the second half of the episode. We are so caught up in the life of the first subject that when it shifts to the second the times and dates and personalities start to blur. I chose to watch it as 30 minute segments, except the last episode, and this kept everything fresh.

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Transfer Quality


     She-Wolves: England's Early Queens is presented on DVD in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio consistent with its original widescreen television presentation. It is 16×9 enhanced.

     The transfer is exceptional throughout. The image is sharp and the flesh tones are accurate. The colours are bright and vibrant.

     There are no technical defects with the transfer. It is all one can hope for in a historical documentary release.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     She-Wolves: England's Early Queens carries an English Dolby digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 224 Kb/s.

     This is perfectly adequate for a TV series that consists of nothing more than narration and music. Whilst there are some re-creations they are done stylistically and in the background.

     The narration by Dr Helen Castor is clear throughout. She has an excellent speaking voice and nothing is missed.

     The music is able to convey the sense of drama and intrigue at the core of each story.

    There are no technical defects with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is an All Region DVD.


     Although the history of mediaeval and Tudor royalty would seem like a dry subject this is an enthralling documentary series no doubt helped ably by the fact that creator and presenter Dr Helen Castor has such a command of the technical knowledge and is an entertaining screen presence.

     The transfer is excellent for an historical documentary and the sound is good too.

     There are no extras. Perhaps the best extra you can add to the DVD experience is to go out and buy the book.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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