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Series / The Devil's Whore

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A British TV series set in the 17th century, revolving around the character of Lady Angelica Fanshawe.

The Devil's Whore is based on events occurring in the English Civil Wars. It features such historical domain characters as Oliver Cromwell, Prince Rupert, Charles I, Edward Sexby and Thomas Rainsborough.

The series was attacked for perceived historical inaccuracies and (heresy!) filming the English countryside in South Africa. Many people consider it very good, though, and the historical side of things is fairly accurate.


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Tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass: Edward Sexby. He was a much more eloquent person in the historical records (he took part in the Putney Debates), but here he's a scarred, emotionally crippled mercenary who prefers flintlock pistols, swords and a badass Power Fist.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Eventually averted with Sexby.
  • Attempted Rape: Happens three times to Angelica (she stabs the first guy in the throat, and Sexby prevents the second and third one), and then almost a fourth time when Sexby tries to force himself on her. This last one is debatable; as they were married at the time, neither one of them would have technically considered it rape.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Sexby to Angelica.
  • Book-Ends: It starts and finishes with an image of Angelica with her arms outstretched.
  • California Doubling: Probably necessary, since odds are South Africa looks more like the 17th century English countryside than much of the modern English countryside does.
    • The production team repeatedly mentioned this. You don't get 17th-century style oak forests like that in the UK any more, and the lack of pylons and such allowed for breathtaking landscape shots with less need for CGI to cover modern details up.
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  • Crossdresser: Angelica wears men's clothes a lot.
  • Deadly Bath: Joliffe is shot dead whilst he's relaxing in the bath.
  • Disguised in Drag: The exiled Sexby returns to England in a woman's skirt and veil.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: Inverted example of historical inaccuracy: it is extremely unlikely that any English man in the seventeenth century would have considered his wife to be sexually immoral because she enjoyed having sex with him, or required her to keep silent during the act. In particular, it was widely believed at the time that female orgasm was necessary for conception to occur.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Averted; while Sexby is unhappy that Angelica has gotten involved with Rainsborough, he has nothing but respect for the other man and years later tries to avenge his murder.
  • Henpecked Husband: Harry considers himself this, and is constantly reminding Angelica that he is meant to be in charge.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Three times over.
  • Historical Domain Character
  • Inspired by...: Angelica was partially inspired by the memoirs of the real historical Anne Fanshawe, according to co-writer/researcher Martine Brant. Anne Fanshawe lived through the Civil War and had many tales to tell, but her life was certainly more peaceful and less romantically/erotically adventurous.
  • The Lady's Favour: Sexby secretly wears Angelica's wedding garter around his arm for most of his life.
  • Love at First Sight: Both Sexby and Rainsborough are captivated by Angelica from the moment they see her.
  • Overly Long Tongue: The devil.
  • Period Drama
  • Rule of Three: Angelica goes through three husbands. More surprisingly, she genuinely loves and is loved by all three of them.
  • Shoot the Rope: Angelica is hanged in episode 3, but Sexby rescues her by posing as the hangman and untying the rope as soon as Joliffe leaves for the King's execution.
  • Shown Their Work: Some of the perceived inaccuracies are actually based on less known historical details. For instance, there was a rumour going round that Cromwell was behind Rainsborough's assassination, so the series played with this. And they made sure to put in small details like Prince Rupert's war poodle, for crying out loud. And actually gave a face and a voice to Elizabeth Lilburne, who was a remarkable woman but has usually been in her husband's shadow, despite having been equally spirited and talented with words.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Subverted with Rainsborough considering his and Angelica's son is stillborn, but played straight with Sexby when Angelica gives birth to a healthy baby girl.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: So what was the deal with Angelica seeing visions of the devil?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film introduces Prince Rupert only to drop him entirely after a couple of scenes.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Angelica is outraged to find out that Harry has been sleeping with prostitutes in the war camp. And it doesn't help that she learns this while he's on top of her in bed.

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