Versailles, BBC Two, Monday, June 4, 9pm
After what seems too long, the extravagant world of 17th Century France is back on our screens with the third and final series of this sumptuous and ever-so-naughty drama.
We start as Louis XIV (George Blagden) celebrates France’s victory over the Protestant Dutch and their allies by welcoming defeated Emperor Leopold of Hungary and his niece Eleanor to Versailles. But Leopold’s own ambitions could have personal consequences for the French King.
Madame de Montespan finds a way to hurt a former friend, the King’s prim companion François de Maintenon. Philippe (Alexander Vlahos) returns a war hero, accompanied by his brother-in-arms, Guillaume, who is rewarded by the King for his bravery in battle. However, when Guillaume returns he sees his fellow workers and neighbours struggling in poverty.
The tax burden is growing, and resentment is mounting. Meanwhile, Philippe is determined to trace a mysterious man in an iron mask.
What can we expect from the rest of the ten episodes here? Well, quite a lot of sex and intrigue is almost de rigeur by now, as is some stretching of the facts, but you can’t let that get in the way of what is one of the most decadent programmes on television.
As Alexander Vlahos told us a couple of years ago: “Grandeur, incredible acting, incredible sets, beautiful costumes… I have never been more proud of something I’ve worked on than I am Versailles.”
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