The BBC2 miniseries Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s novels, has gotten off to a successful start in the U.K. The Guardian reports that the first episode brought in 3.9 million viewers, the most for a new BBC2 drama series since the start of Rome in 2005, which had 6.6 million viewers.
The series, which debuts in the U.S. on PBS in April 5, is adapted from Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and it stars lauded stage actor Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Homeland‘s Damian Lewis as Henry VIII.
Critics have been applauding the six-part series. “Nonetheless, as a means of setting the scene, drawing us deep into the Tudor world and presenting us with a winningly ambiguous central character, it’s hard to see how this one could have been done much better,” James Walton wrote in an assessment of the first episode for The Telegraph. The Guardian called it “sumptuous, intelligent and serious, meticulous in the detail, but not humourless or po-faced.”