Mertonian Kirsten Claiden-Yardley (2003) played a key role in creating the world of Wolf Hall, the BBC's dramatisation of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning novel which begins this evening (Wednesday 21 January).
Kirsten, who read History as an undergraduate and later returned as a DPhil student, worked as a Production Researcher, primarily with director Peter Kosminsky, prior to the start of filming. This involved researching and answering his questions about the world in which the story unfolds. The range of questions was extremely varied – from the broad context of Tudor government and the type of work carried out by Thomas Cromwell to the etiquette of dining and greetings at the royal court, as well as more specific questions about particular events, and advice for the Art and Costume departments.
Kirsten developed her interest in late medieval and sixteenth-century history whilst at Merton as an undergraduate. After a break from studying, during which she worked for an academic publisher and completed a part-time MSc in English Local History at Kellogg College, again with a late medieval and sixteenth century focus, she returned to Merton as a graduate student, researching Tudor noble identity and commemoration; this work was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as part of a wider project, Representing Re-Formation, led by Dr Phillip Lindley at the University of Leicester.
Wolf Hall is a six-episode mini-series and will be broadcast on BBC 2 beginning tonight (Wednesday 21 January) at 9:00pm.