Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Per its title, the 88-minute National Geographic special Madness of Henry VIII harkens back 500 years, to the reign of the tyrannical monarch who wielded more unchecked power than any ruler in British history. The program reveals how Henry VIII became engulfed in a cloud of wicked scandal for his six wives, two of whom he divorced by ordered execution. It tells of his decision to spin off the Catholic Church into an Anglican arm, in order to engineer his own church-sanctioned divorce -- a path that spun forth century upon century of controversy and whose legacy persists to this day, in Anglicanism and the separation of church and state. To weave its tale, this special relies heavily on historical records, period artwork, and interviews with contemporary historians of the Tudor period.