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English writer Michael Hirst is best known as the BAFTA-nominated writer of the 1998 biopic "Elizabeth," starring Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes, and Geoffrey Rush. In a rich investigation into the early life of Queen Elizabeth I, Hirst explored the human relationships and political intrigues crucial to her early years of power. In 2007 he again teamed with director Shekhar Kapur and much of the original cast for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," this time focusing on the deep divides and threats to Elizabeth's reign, as well as her love affair with Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen. Hirst's fascination with the Tudor dynasty continued in 2007 with his creation of the Showtime series "The Tudors." Set in the court of a young Henry VIII, played by Irish heart-throb Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the show plays like a soap opera, full of sex, scandal, violence, and intrigue. Historical events are secondary to the powerful monarch's daily life at court, including his pursuit of a male heir, hobby of bedding beautiful women, and penchant for executing his wives.
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