Charles II: The Power and the Passion

Season 1
Intrigue and decadence reign in this racy drama about King Charles II. Rufus Sewell (Victoria) stars as the charismatic monarch.
Rufus SewellRupert GravesDiana Rigg
English [CC]
Audio languages

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  1. 1. Episode 1
    November 15 2003
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    In 1660 after years in exile, Charles II is restored to the throne of England but is abandoned by his friend, the Duke of Buckingham.
  2. 2. Episode 2
    November 15 2003
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    A fiery comet in the sky is rumoured to portend doom on Charlie's reign.
  3. 3. Episode 3
    November 22 2003
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    A plot is unearthed against the King. Anti-Papist fury threatens the King's position.
  4. 4. Episode 4
    November 29 2003
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    As Protestant dissent rises, the king tries to silence his enemies once and for all.

More details

Joe Wright
Supporting actors
Ian McDiarmidCharlie Creed-MilesMartin Freeman
Kate HarwoodDelia FineLaura Mackie
Season year
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Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.0 out of 5 stars

88 global ratings

  1. 50% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 26% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 10% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 8% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

JamiinscReviewed in the United States on February 12, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
Not memorable
APeperReviewed in the United States on July 2, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Enjoyable Series on Charles II
I quite enjoyed this little mini-series about the life and loves of Charles II. It's not entirely historically accurate and it can be overly sexualized but it was still fun. Rufus Sewell does a great job bringing Charles II alive and making the viewer sympathetic to him. In my opinion, Charles II isn't easy to love from a more modern perspective but Rufus did an amazing job making me understand him. Charles II was, in many ways, a head of his time with religious tolerance and it was nice to see that included in this series when it could have chosen to just focus on the salacious. Don't get me wrong, this series covers most of the more salacious aspects of his reign but it also includes some more serious issues that were faces during his time. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoyed the Tudors. It doesn't get everything right by any means but I think you'll find yourself wanting to pick up a good biography on Charles II after watching this series because you'll want to learn more.
23 people found this helpful
BixReviewed in the United States on December 12, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
20 Years of History in 30 Seconds
I am vexed about this film. The erroneous dates not with standing!
Many of the scenes are accurate and well played. The Parliament scenes were accurate and realistic as far as they went (not far).
Charles II was not a simple nor dull man. He was also a kind and affable man.
Charles spent years fighting to regain his thrown. First, he raises a half-arsed Scottish army that turns tail and runs back to Mother Scotland leaving Charles to hide in trees and amongst absurd disguises. In his hiding he lived poorly and often was obliged to share meager vittles with common people in all sorts of common situations. I.e., this was probably the only King of England who KNEW what it was like to be destitute and suffer alone. E.g., in wounds and ailments, Charles was treated as a peasant.
These essential events have been omitted for reason I cannot guess. The hiding and scrounging for food on the run in England was what made Charles a man's man. Dear lord, this was a King, when faced with the great London fire of 1666, ran into the streets, unguarded, and fought the flames with his own hands. He was a black as Hades and worse for the wear in the end.
This was NOT a "regal' king. Dear lord, we have ample historic source in the diaries of Samuel Peyps (pronounced "Peeps"). Why omit this golden historic bounty?
Because Hollywood film consultants are morons or ignored?
8 people found this helpful
TDHokeyReviewed in the United States on July 11, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Good grief! I had to stop watching 15 minutes ...
Good grief! I had to stop watching 15 minutes in! The camera work is ATROCIOUS!!! I wonder if this would have been any good if the director hadn't gotten the camera crew drunk. Wobbly, up, down, close up, back up...and all within a 30 second time frame. And not just once...this is how the entire 15 minutes I watched was shot. Thankfully I didn't spend any money on this other than my Prime account.
17 people found this helpful
Frank BaranskyReviewed in the United States on September 20, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Over-the-top Costuming, Lots of (mediocre) Sex, and an Annoying Musical Score
I enjoy historical drama and and like to see how the producer creates a convincing portrait of the era through costumes, setting and music. Costumes and settings in this series are outstanding. The musical score however can't seem to decide exactly where this story unfolds: at times we hear 16th century tavern music, at times gypsy music, other times modern soap opera rising and falling crescendos. Instead of adding to the realism, it's a distraction. And the sex is at best perfunctory. By the second episode you're dreading having to be the voyeur yet again of the mediocre "passion" of the title. Happily, the libido loses steam as the series progresses. Sewell does an excellent job as Charles jousting with a cantankerous rabidly anti-Catholic Parliament while dealing with his carousel of mistresses. How much of all this is historical fact of course is questionable. Not on a par with other BBC productions, so hold on to the fast-forward button and do your own editing if you want to enjoy the costumes, settings and actors----and save an hour by skipping those tired bedroom scenes.
3 people found this helpful
ErinM.Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Charles. ..a Lover AND Fighter!
This miniseries caught me by surprise, both because I've never heard if it, and because it was so enjoyable.

It was a nice summary of the reign of Charles II...with all his mistresses thrown in (ha!). From my observation, it was generally historically accurate, the costumes and scenery were nice and the story flowed well. Some great British actors/actresses, too.

Quite interesting to know that the next King may be one of Charles' direct descendants via Princess Di's sons.
8 people found this helpful
lawyeraauReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
This four part film was a bit of a mish mosh. It has a lot going for it but is plagued by a numbers of issues. For starters, the camera work is truly terrible, as it was pretty shaky throughout, off and on. The role of Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, said to have been one of most beautiful women of the Restoration, was decidedly miscast. Playing the role was a very capable actress, but she could have just as easily played the role of the palace cook, so pedestrian were her looks. She was not a good enough actress to make the viewer think otherwise. Then, there is the issue of the gratuitous sex scene, where Lady Castlemaine performs oral sex on the well preserved cadaver of a dead bishop…seriously.

That being said, the cast was otherwise terrific, with special kudos to Rufus Sewell for his politically savvy portrayal of Charles Il. The script stayed fairly close to history with some artistic license. After all, this is a period drama not a documentary. As a lover of period and historical dramas, there was a lot to enjoy, but it was countermanded in part by its shortcomings, the biggest one being the miscasting of the role of Lady Castlemaine. It was hard to get past that gaffe, as she plays so prominent a role. Still, one should get a modicum of enjoyment from this historical drama.
One person found this helpful
Debbie OReviewed in the United States on March 5, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Gorgeous Charles & His Ugly Mistress
I love Charles II, and read and watch anything and everything I can about the Stuart Reign. This is a very prettily made production, and I like that things are a bit on the drab side, everyone is a little bedraggled, even the King.

I think they got the look right, it was a time without modern conveniences, running water good soap, stuff like that, so it seems to me everyone might be a little less well groomed and clean looking, even the king.

The story is pretty accurate from the stuff I have read, and of course, it's a Drama, so there is a bit of poetic license

OK, having said some nice things, whose idea was it to cast that ugly woman as Barbara Palmer? On top of that she is an absolute shrew, with not one ounce of charm. She's hard to watch. I cringe when she appears on the screen, and that's a problem because she is an integral part of the early reign of Charles. It ruins part of the story for me. There are portraits of Barbara Palmer, and she looks like she was pretty good looking. It's hard to believe there wasn't a more attractive actor available.

Although Monarchs are not always known for having good taste in the woman (Henry VIII). I think Charles did have an eye and appreciation for beautiful women,.

In any event, overall I found it a good series.
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