'Reign' boss defends show's relaxed approach to historical accuracy

CW’s upcoming drama Reign centers on the story of a young Mary Queen of Scots, but today producers defended the series against critics who said the show often ignores historical facts.

“I think each episode will educate people on what element of history helps our story and I think there is a certain amount of latitude in terms of dramatizing events,” executive producer Laurie McCarthy said today during  the show’s panel during the TCA press tour. “There are many things that never made it onto the pages of history, and I also wondered what was the castle was like on a Tuesday morning, what were they wearing when they weren’t getting their pictures taken.”

Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary added: “It’s also TV, so it’s kind of like, we can take creative license. It’s entertainment; it’s not the history channel. We’re trying to make a show people will enjoy watching and really connect with and find really fun.”

Among the liberties taken? For one, casting young and, as one critic described, “hunky” Rossif Sutherland as prophet Nostradamus, who would have been much older if the show had followed history’s timeline.  “It’s a television show and we took some liberties. I think my job is to tell compelling stories persuasively,” McCarthy said. “He’s not going to fly or do something Nostradamus didn’t do, but we cast people who were right for the role and right for the stories we wanted to tell.”

That said, she added, “[The character] is an extraordinary guy who we’ll delve into his actual history.”

Torrance Coombs, who plays Bash, Francis’ half-brother (and sort of love interest for Mary), meanwhile, is more than happy with the producer’s less-than strict approach to historical aspects. “I, for one, am thankful for a certain amount of creative license because historically I don’t exist,” he joked of his character.

Reign premieres Oct. 17 on the CW.

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