Fire, fer­vour and fury in this three-part BBC drama about the in­di­vid­u­als be­hind the Gun­pow­der Plot

Countryfile Magazine - - Lazy Days - Re­views ed­i­tor: Maria Hod­son

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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