This August, FOXTEL’s W channel will present the Australian television premiere of The Borgias, a sumptuous and sinful drama series based on the infamous Renaissance family which became the world’s most notorious dynasty.
Starring Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia/ Pope Alexander VI, The Borgias series was created, executive produced and written by Oscar winning director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire), who also directed the first two episodes.
Starting Monday, August 29, at 8.30pm AEST, W will premiere The Borgias over five consecutive nights and commercial free.
“W is launching The Borgias as a week-long television event to provide viewers with an excellent opportunity to immerse themselves in the splendour of this nine hour series,” said channel manager Penny Win.
Then from the following Wednesday (September 7) at 8.30pm, W will play out the series in weekly installments providing another viewing choice for subscribers. The acquisition of The Borgias further cements the W channel’s reputation as a home for quality Australian and international dramas.
“W has some outstanding contemporary drama exclusives launching in July with the second season of our local production Spirited, the sixth season of Denis Leary’s Rescue Me and Raw, an Irish series, starring Australian actor Damon Gameau,” said Ms Win.
“There’s also a definite audience appetite for fabulous historical dramas, as we saw firsthand with the viewer response to The Pillars of the Earth mini-series on W, and The Borgias is drama on a grand scale.”
When The Borgias launched in the US in April it was their SHOWTIME network’s highest rating drama premiere in seven years. The series also out-performed the highest rating (fourth) season of The Tudors. And, a second season, of 10 episodes, of The Borgias has been commisioned for next year.
This first season of The Borgias tells the story of Rodrigo (Irons), the cunning, manipulative Spanish patriarch who builds an empire through the corruption of the holy Catholic Church and orchestrates a relentless reign of power and flamboyant cruelty. The series begins in 1492, as Rodrigo bribes, buys and muscles his way into the papacy becoming Pope Alexander VI, propelling him, his two ambitious sons Cesare and Juan, and his scandalously beautiful daughter, Lucrezia, to become the most powerful and influential family of the Italian Renaissance.
Starring alongside Irons as the Borgia offspring are François Arnaud (I Killed My Mother) as Cesare Borgia, David Oakes (The Pillars Of The Earth) as Juan Borgia, and Holliday Grainger (Above Suspicion and Robin Hood) as Lucrezia Borgia.
Also starring are Joanne Whalley as Vanozza, the Pope’s longtime mistress and mother of his children; Colm Feore as Alexander’s nemesis Cardinal Della Rovere; Sean Harris as Micheletto, the family’s murderous henchman; Lotte Verbeek as the Pope’s new lover Giulia; and Entourage’s Emmanuelle Chriqui as the seductive Duchess Sancia, who weds one Borgia and beds another.
The show’s stellar supporting cast includes two of England’s most heralded stage and screen actors, Sir Derek Jacobi and Steven Berkoff, playing the roles of Cardinal Orsini and firebrand preacher Savonarola, respectively.
The Borgias is set in one of the most significant periods in history: the Western Renaissance and the discovery of the New World. Contemporaries of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Medici’s, the Borgias were controversial and heretical, not so much for performing acts unheard of in their time, but for being better at it than their enemies. Along the way, the family committed virtually every sin in the book and invented more than a few of their own.
The Borgias is produced as a Canadian-Irish-Hungarian Treaty co-production and distributed by CBS Studios International.