Showtime to launch historical drama The Borgias in Spring 2011

Veteran actor Jeremy Irons will be heading up the cast of Showtime’s newest historical drama, The Borgias. If you enjoyed the much lamented Tudors, then this heady mix of sex, corruption, religion and politics in Renaissance-era Rome should be right up your street.

Complete with a racy trailer featuring one of Europe’s most powerful family, we see Irons as the ultimate patriarch, Rodrigo Borgia as he buys the vote to secure the Papal election. His ambitions don’t just stop at the Vatican though, he wants to use his children to grab power, whether it’s military, religious or through marrying his daughter off to one of their enemies. The trailer’s bracing stuff – take a look:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but did anybody else spot a bit of incest going on there?

While Irons looks fearsome in the main role, he’s joined by Francois Arnaud, Derek Jacobi and Colm Feore. The tensions inside and outside the family are already laid out – Rodrigo has enemies within the Vatican who suspect he bought the Papal vote, and his son seems uncomfortable with the underhand maneuvering that secured the papacy.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo proceeds to use and abuse his power, taking on mistresses and behaving like the amoral beast that he is. The Borgias is described by Showtime as:

a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history’s most intriguing and infamous dynastic families. The series begins as the family’s patriarch Rodrigo, becomes Pope, propelling him, his two Machiavellian sons Cesare and Juan, and his scandalously beautiful daughter, Lucrezia, to become the most powerful and influential family of the Italian Renaissance.

I cannot wait to get a look at this series! It’s slated to start in the springtime of 2011, but watch this space for more teasers as we get them.

One quick question for fans of historical dramas – how accurate do you think the sexual aspects of these shows are? Do you think they’re exaggerated to tease a bigger audience?

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