Gunpowder’s shocking torture scenes divided viewers

It's "grotesque and completely unnecessary," say some

BBC One’s new drama Gunpowder has been described as “hideously brutal” and “barbaric” after its debut on Saturday night (October 21) included a torture scene that showed a woman being crushed to death under a weighted slab and man being hung, drawn and quartered.

The new show stars Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington as his distant relative Robert Catesby – the man who planned the infamous Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. In the scene in question, English Catholics are being persecuted after the accession to the throne of the Protestant King James I.

On Twitter, the reaction to the show’s violent scene was intense. “Just threw up and cried ’cause someone got their intestines pulled out and hung and their head chopped off,” wrote one. Another posted: “Days later, still traumatised by the execution scenes.” One user described the scene as “one of the most painful things I’ve ever witnessed on TV.”

Not everyone objected to the level of violence on display, though. “This is real accurate history,” wrote one Twitter user. “How many people complaining… happily watch GOT and The Walking Dead?” Another said “it has to be [graphic and gory] for us to understand the depth of persecution, and why Catesby and co. did what they did.”

Gunpowder continues next Saturday (October 28) at 9.10pm on BBC One.