The Spanish Princess Showrunners Pressured to Cast White Actors

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Somehow in the age where almost all information is available at our fingertips, being historically accurate is still a challenge for some. Thankfully the showrunners of The Spanish Princess always wanted to do what was right.

In a sitdown with AfterBuzz TV’s The Spanish Princess aftershow, Emma Frost and Matthew Graham shared the pressure they faced to only cast white actors and actresses into their show, and the prequel, The White Princess.

“The historical advisor said, um, ‘yeah, I know what you’re trying to do. You want to just do some diversity, um, because it’s all a bit PC, you know, but um, it would be,’ and I quote, ‘a stark innacurism to put people of color in the show,'” revealed Frost of the casting for The White Princess.

Frost said she wanted to be historically accurate all along. When she heard that advice, she immediately fact checked it fearing it was wrong.

“Literally, a cursory Google search will tell you that that isn’t true,” said Frost “We did have some people of color in The White Princess because I wanted to at least try and show in the crowd scenes, you know, that people of color existed in, in London, but of course when Matthew and I started looking at Catherine’s story [in The Spanish Princess] and the, the possibility of having lead characters and actually for the first time giving those people their place back in history.”

In fact, they were able to trace down the history of one specific character.

“The chap who plays, um, uh, John [Blanke],” shared Graham, “that character is a real person that you can, that was the first person when we Googled we found. John Blanke, who was a herald in the court of Henry VIII, um, he’s in a tapestry. You can see him. You can actually see him.”
“And there are records of how much money he was paid by Henry VII and Henry VIII,” continued Frost.

Not only are Frost and Graham excited to be able to showcase people of different backgrounds in their series, but they hope this opens up a much bigger discussion.

“I would love to see slightly more colorblindness in the way we cast, eh, TV shows,” said Graham. “I really don’t think you’re going to care. If the acting is good, the character’s interesting, you should get lost in it.”

The Spanish Princess is in the middle of its first eight episodes, airing every Sunday night. It was just announced the series is getting an additional eight episodes, which will air in 2020.

Michael Clouse

Michael Clouse


Michael Clouse is a writer and Producer at AfterBuzz TV.