Patrick Malahide as Cardinal Wolsey – BBC Radio 3

Henry's daughter had better taste in associates.

Henry’s daughter had better taste in associates. Source: IMDB

You can hear Patrick Malahide appear as Cardinal Wolsey in a re-broadcast of William Shakespeare’s and John Fletcher’s  “Henry VIII”.  Listen here.  The link is good until about September 28th.

From the BBC 3 Radio page:

In 1509, the 17-year-old Henry acceded to the throne of England. Shakespeare’s play, co-authored with John Fletcher, opens with the arrest for treason of the Duke of Buckingham 12 years later, and tells the story of Henry’s struggle to divorce Katherine of Aragon, and the catastrophic fall of the all-powerful Cardinal Wolsey.

Patrick Malahide is wonderful as Wolsey.  He is confident, greedy, full of false modesty and even shows a bit of charm which he levels at the ladies while throwing his lavish parties.   But, his downfall quickly makes him a far more humble man.  His final scene with Thomas Cromwell (Paul Rider) is actually very pitiable.  As Wosley, Patrick Malahide’s voice is full of intrigue, gusto, sweetness, and pathos depending on the scene.  He really gets those emotions across and makes it all very accessible to modern listeners.

Mr. Malahide uses a very attractive country sounding accent.  His Wolsey clearly comes from a different sort of background than the king and his court.  I looked on Wikipedia and learned that he was widely thought to have been the son of a butcher and cattle dealer.  I think that aspect really comes across in Mr. Malahide’s performance and also helps illustrate Wolsey’s ambitious nature.

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