Wolf Hall is the eagerly anticipated dramatisation of Hilary Mantel's two great Booker Prize winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, a fictional interpretation of the life of Thomas Cromwell, minister to Henry VIII. The number of characters involved and the intricacies of Henry VIII's court, where the main body of the action is set are complex, so we have written short biographies of the many people with whose lives Cromwell's was entwined.

Wolf Hall is a work of fiction, although extensively researched, and therefore Mantel's interpretations of character and motivation are not always the same as previous portrayals of the same individuals – her reading of Sir Thomas More's character being the obvious challenge to previous portrayals.

We have noted some non-fiction works about key characters. Women are listed under their maiden names, as many married more than once.

An Attainder was an Act of Parliament condemning the accused of treason, without trial. To show the number of people executed (hanged, beheaded or burnt) during the period, we have put a block and axe next to the entries of people who died that way - it's scarey!

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