Behind the Court of Charles Ll; Rollicking Naked Royals Star in BBC1's Charles II the Power & the Passion. SHOBA VAZIRANI Takes a Peek Backstage

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Byline: SHOBA VAZIRANI

Some things never change, like being entertained by a host of royals behaving badly. And with the return of the hunky Rufus Sewell - star of A Knight's Tale - as the charismatic but devious 17th Century monarch, King Charles II, we're in a for a right royal treat.

Set in the corridors and bedrooms of power, BBC1's new four-part spectacular begins with the young king in exile before he returns to England and transforms into the infamous Merry Monarch before his death in 1685. Rufus, 36, was thrilled to give Hollywood a break and return to the small screen. "It was the personal side of Charles that I found most fascinating," he says. "He was a very manipulative man but he did have a blind spot - women."

His many mistresses included the beautiful Barbara Villiers, played by Helen McCrory, and theatre star Nell Gwynne, played by Emma Pierson. He was married to the virginal Queen Catherine of Braganza (Shirley Henderson), who was unable to bear him a child, but he had several illegitimate ones from his numerous conquests.

Says Rufus: "It was embarrassing filming all the bedroom scenes, but they had to look as real as possible. You don't actually see that much, which is good because watching people bump and grind can be boring. But it does look as if we've really been going for it!"

Charles II, BBC1, Sunday, November 16, 9pm

Charles II and his big wigs were the original royals behaving badly - and BBC's new four-part special promises warts and all. From left to right: Ian McDiarmid as Hyde, Helen McCrory as Barbara Villiers, Rupert Graves as Buckingham, Rufus Sewell as King Charles II, Charlie Creed-Miles as James, Tabitha Wady as Anna Hyde and Cristian Coulson as Monmouth.

Finishing off the royal moustache. …