Remember remember the fifth of November
Saturday sees the premier of Kit Harington’s latest drama, Gunpowder. The three part drama series is, as the name alludes, telling the story of the Gunpowder Plot in London in 1605; but instead of focussing on Guy Fawkes as most depictions of the event do, the story puts Kit Harington’s Robert Catesby, the mastermind behind the plot, front and centre.
Need convincing of why you should be watching it? Here’s why it looks absolutely excellent:
Harington has described it as his baby
Harington is not only acting, he’s also taken a role behind the camera as executive producer. Heavily involved in the project from the conception, speaking about the project to Press Association he said: “I loved being involved as a producer in this from genesis, from coming up with the idea to finding a brilliant writer that wanted to do it with us, to finding a brilliant director who wanted to direct it with us, to casting it… You know, I was involved from the very start. I understand now what they mean when they say it’s my baby.”
It’s got a stellar cast
It’s not just Harington showing off his acting chops, the series features a mega cast including veteran actor Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet (a Jesuit priest involved in the plot), Liv Tyler as Anne Vaux (as a woman who aided the plotters), and Mark Gatiss as Sir Robert Cecil, who uncovered the plot.
Speaking to RadioTimes, Harington explained that he is hoping Gunpowder will educate people on the real story behind the infamous moment in history. “When you ask people about the Gunpowder plot, they say ‘Guy Fawkes.’ And some of them don’t know whether the Houses of Parliament were blown up or not. I felt there was a story here that people would want to watch. That they might not know about, that they might learn about through this production.”
It’s shows you the real, unfiltered story of Guy Fawkes
Instead of focussing on Guy Fawkes, Gunpowder gives you a look at the rest of the plotters, and in particular Robert Catesby who was a huge driving force behind the plot. In a cast Q&A Mark Gatiss, who plays Robert Cecil, explained how the Gunpowder Plot was really Catesby’s story: “I read The Gunpowder Plot: Terror And Faith In 1605 by Antonia Fraser years ago, and I was struck how a lot of the facts you take for granted are actually quite different – as history is often written by the winners….But what I think is interesting is that Guy Fawkes is the name, but it’s very much Catesby’s story.’
It’s a bloody good historical story, but has themes that are relatable in 2017
Drama, deceit and deception – things that don’t need time stamp to exist, although it’s a historical story it has parallels to the current day. “I was immediately struck by the way there’s a kind of contemporary parallel too.” Mark Gatiss explained in a cast Q&A. “For example, there’s a scene where I have to persuade the King that the threat from the Catholics is real and that new laws need to be applied to combat it. It jumped out at me straight away that you could imagine Robert Cecil in another administration in a similar situation, trying to convince the leader that they need to suppress an insurgency.”
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Harington concurred, explaining, at the heart of it, it’s about what people do when they’re in desperate situations: “Gunpowder is all about choices, and the reasons desperate men make such choices, and it makes for really great drama.”
Gunpowder will begin on Saturday at 21:10, on BBC One