DAMN AND BLAST IT ALL TO HELL
Fire, fervour and fury in this three-part BBC drama about the individuals behind the Gunpowder Plot
Bonfire Night is celebrated boisterously across the countryside with fireworks and burning effigies, while the rhyme “remember, remember, the 5th of November; of gunpowder, treason and plot” is cheerily chanted. But how much do we actually remember, and is what we think we know accurate?
In 1605, Guy Fawkes attempted to kill the king by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. Upon capture and torture, he confessed to the planned assassination. This BBC drama retells the tale, focusing on his co-conspirators and the plot’s mastermind, a Warwickshire gentleman named Robert Catesby.
Kit Harington glowers as Catesby, a man enraged by the persecution of fellow Catholics in the reign of King James I. Liv Tyler channels quiet fury and determination as his cousin Anne Vaux, and Mark Gatiss is suitably conspiratorial as spymaster Robert Cecil, whispering paranoia into the king’s ear.
Be warned, it is gruesome. Director J Blakeson does not shy away from depicting the bloody tortures of the day. But it provides a fascinating insight into the politics and brutality of the time – the bitter religious division and savage treatment meted out to those deemed heretics. A stark reminder of the dangers of extremism and intolerance. Maria Hodson, reviews editor
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