THE LEg­End Of King ArTHur Camelot ’70s-BBC style

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 1979 | PG | dVd

Di­rec­tor rod­ney Ben­nett Cast an­drew Burt, Felic­ity dean, Mau­reen O’Brien, david robb

Some­how, de­spite be­ing writ­ten by UK scriptwrit­ing jug­ger­naut An­drew Davies (A Very Pe­cu­liar Prac­tice, House Of Cards), this eight-part Arthurian fan­tasy se­ries is largely for­got­ten. There’s a rea­son for that. It’s pretty for­get­table.

Only Doc­tor Who fans tend to re­mem­ber it, be­cause for­mer First Doc­tor com­pan­ion Mau­reen O’Brien plays Mor­gan Le Fay. She’s ac­tu­ally not bad, adding an air of arch evil to a se­ries that’s des­per­ately earnest. Magic is at a min­i­mum here – Mer­lin ex­its in episode two – as the se­ries tries to make the Shake­spearean ver­sion of Camelot Will him­self never got round to.

There’s some gor­geous di­a­logue, solid act­ing and won­der­fully silly cos­tumes and make-up. But it’s very static and stagey, lurch­ing from set­piece to set­piece as it tries to remix the en­tire Le Morte D’Arthur into a se­ries of un­der­de­vel­oped vi­gnettes. The main story – Mor­gan de­stroy­ing Arthur’s idyll of Camelot by stir­ring things be­tween Lancelot and Guin­e­vere – pro­vides only a flimsy back­bone. And the fight scenes are amus­ingly ter­ri­ble.

His­tor­i­cally in­ter­est­ing, then, but far from leg­endary.

Ex­tras None. Dave Golder

Patsy Ken­sit played Mor­gan Le Fay as a girl, hair dyed red. She was promised it’d wash out, but it took a year to go!

The hip­sters’ Grand Na­tional be­gan.

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