The BBC has confirmed the acquisition of the second series of historical drama The Tudors.

Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the young Henry VIII, the series has been a ratings hit for BBC2, averaging 3.2 million viewers per week, the channel's best Friday night share in over three months.

Michael Hirst, creator of the series, confirmed that the second season - shot in Ireland over the summer - promised more exciting twists and turns in the life of the young monarch and his competing advisors, servants and lovers.

"At the end of the first series of The Tudors, we stood at The Edge of the precipice; in the second series we jump right off it! There are old and new conflicts, both at court and outside it, where the rapid changes to social life bring turmoil and sometimes tragedy," he said.

Peter O'Toole is to play Pope Paul III in the second series, joining the likes of Sam Neill (Cardinal Thomas Wolsey), Jeremy Northam (Sir Thomas More) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (Catherine of Aragon).

George McGhee, controller of programme acquisitions, said the corporation was thrilled to deliver a second instalment of Tudor intrigue.

"We are extremely pleased with our viewers' positive reactions to The Tudors," he commented.

"Henry VIII and his six wives are still compulsory viewing in the 21st century as portrayed by this young and excellent cast and the BBC is a great home for the series."

17/10/2007 17:37:47