A fervent supporter of the Reformation, Lady Jane Grey (Bonham Carter) was brought up at a time when England was riven with religious dissension, and to prevent the Catholic Mary ascending to the throne, was compelled to marry Guilford Dudley (Elwes), son of the Duke of Northumberland. This seemingly ill-matched marriage was unexpectedly a success, but her brief period of happiness was destroyed when, on Edward VI's death, she was forced unwillingly on to the throne for nine days and died on the scaffold a few months later. A political pawn, indeed. With a script by David Edgar and a cast including all the stalwarts of the RSC, it was not too much to expect that more would be made of her life than just another costume drama. But despite its radical gloss, this over-long, lifeless epic of doomed true love falls into all the predictable traps: excessive pageantry, Monty Python-like peasants, dialogue that drips with sentiment, and even the sight of young lovers running through rural England.