This is my last entry for the section Through the centuries in the Period Drama Challenge. Now I have to start thinking what to post for the second section, VICTORIAN MIST. I've got lots of DVDs set in the Victorian Age. I just have to choose... that's not easy though.

GUNPOWDER, TREASON AND PLOT is one of the latest addition to my DVD collection. It is a two – part miniseries broadcast by BBC in 2004 and now available on dvd.
It is loosely based upon the lives of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and her son James I. I usually love teaching about this period in British History, not only because it is the historical background of Shakespeare's latest years.

The writer Jimmy McGovern (same author as recent BBC series MOVING ON) tells the story behind the Gunpowder Plot in two parts, each centred on one of the monarchs.
Directed by Gillies MacKinnon and filmed in Romania with a key Scottish crew, the first film dramatizes the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots, played by French actress Clémence Poésy, and her third husband, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell played by Kevin McKidd. Scottish actor Robert Carlyle stars as James I in the second part of the series, which concentrates on the Gunpowder Plot (1605), planned by Guy Fawkes, to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to rid the nation of a Protestant monarch to be replaced by a Catholic. Despite the rampant insincerity to historical accuracy this is enjoyable, well acted and well written. Clemence Poesy as Mary Queen of Scots is particularly good, and it is her story, making up the first half of dvd, that is the best. Kevin McKidd is the other remarkable protagonist as the Earl of Bothwell you won’t resist his rough lust! Though the second part is less emotionally involving, Robert Carlyle as James I is convincingly nauseous. He really is believeable as the creepy, unpleasant king.
I loved this. Although, to be fair, I loved the first part more than the second. I'm more interested in Mary than in James. If you can overlook the annoying historical inaccuracy and appreciate it as well acted, well written drama then you can get much fun from this dvd.

You’ll find lots of information about this historical drama HERE.

Now have a look at this clip with two exciting moments in the conflictual passionate relationship between Mary, the Queen, and Bothwell, one of her faithful chancellors.



Luciana said...

It might be very good! I love this period of English history and I've always wanted to know more about Mary. In everything I've seen so far she is just a supporting character behind the story of Elizabeth the First. But I'll try not to be too critical with its lack of historical accuracy as I've been with "The Tudors" and try to have fun with it! I'm looking forward to your VICTORIAN MIST! Good luck with choosing those ones!


Hello down there! What's up in the southern part of the world? I'm amazed - every day more and more - at how extraordinary blogging can be. We have got so many things to share despite our many differences (age, for example!) and the distance between us. Hope you'll like my Victorian choices. I'll try not to review dramas or movies I have already posted about so ... no North and South, I'm afraid. The Tudors? I saw the first two series but I don't think I'll watch the third one. Anyway, I didn't mind what I saw that much. Cheers!

Jenny Kerr said...

I LOVE this movie! I have seen it lord knows how many times. I actually watched it at first because it had Sam Troughton in it, he's one of my favorite actors so I had to see it! I so enjoy reading your posts! I get all excited when I see one pop up on my subscription list.


@Jenny Kerr
Hi Jenny! And I LOVE your enthusiastic comments. You are always so KIND to me! I know you love Sam Troughton / Much. This is why I've added the picture with him, Richard Harrington and Michael Fassbender. Just for you. Not kidding.

Luciana said...

Oh, things are pretty normal down here! Despite this awful heat during winter! Oh, I'm very amezed with blogging too! I've found so many people that like the same things that I do on the web while it's pretty hard to find someone near me with such similarities! Oh, I'm every day more convinced that age is not a problem AT ALL! If you think that possible, I've forgotten N&S when I wrote to you this morning! I was thinking if you'd review any movie based on Henry James' novels. I absolutely LOVE him! HJ made me forget EG for a moment! Oh, and about this period of English history, I've toally loved "A man for all seasons". Orson Welles is perfect as Cardeal Wolsey!

Jenny Kerr said...

He reminds me so much of my hubby! With his short (or at least short looking) chubby frame and big blue eyes!


@Luciana & Jenny
Hi girls! As for the differences and distance between us, here is an example. I was sleeping when you wrote your comments. Now I'm back from my early morning long walk and having breakfast before going to school and you are - probably sleeping. I'm in a hurry but want to thank you again and wish a good day. I'll be somewhere else - at the seaside- in the next few days and I don't know if I am able to post from there. Let's hope there's a wireless connection available otherwise... I'll be back next week.
P.S. I've got several adaptations from Henry James but ... I don't find him very Victorian. Let's see what I can do Luciana.
As for Sam T., Jenny, I liked him very much as ... MUCH in RH!

JaneGS said...

With a November 5 birthdate, I can't help but be a fan of this part of the historical record :)

I promptly went to Netflix, but couldn't find Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot anywhere--now what am I going to do, as I would love to watch this. I visited Holyrood House in June, watched Vanessa Redgrave as Mary QofS over the summer, and would love to watch this series despite "the rampant insincerity to historical accuracy."

BTW, I have nominated your wonderful blog for a Zombie Chicken Award...visit my site for details!

lunarossa said...

Another very interesting suggestion, MG. I seem to have missed most of British dramas lately! The main problem is that my TV is usually taken over by kids and husband with sports and kids' programmes. So I'm left with BBC iplayer on the computer and a good book! All the best. Ciao. A.

Table Talk said...

There is a wonderful letter extant from James I written at the end of the summer of 1605. That year there had been a total eclipse of the sun and two total eclipses of the moon - an almost unprecedented set of occurrences. James, like so many at the time, was very superstitious and in the letter he wonders what these events could possibly portend. He then finishes by saying the seventeenth century equivalent of "well, have to stop writing now as I must get back to London to open Parliament". If only he'd known!

Anonymous said...


My list of "DVDs to buy" has grown so much longer ever since I found your blog haha/


Have you tried at Amazon.com? That's where I usually buy my books and DVD - also cheap second-hand ones, sometimes.Thanks for the award, Jane! I'll go and have a look immediately!
@Table Talk
What an interesting contribution to my post, Ann. THANK YOU!
What about renting or buying DVDs, Antonella? That's a pity since you could see everything while they are broadcasting it on British TV. But I know what husbands and children are like. They are the only owners & masters of the remote 24/7!
I'm glad my tastes meet yours!Little by little you'll see - or at least read about - everything in my DVD collection. Just get in touch!

Marie Burton said...

Absolutely awesome clip there. I have not imagine Mary as a 'cute' young woman, that the actress exhibits. I do want to see this to get a different look at Mary, sometimes I just cannot make up my mind about her. All the books I read are always either portraying her as a naive dimwit or a shrewd Queen.. I still can't decide either.
Thanks for the heads up on this, I would have otherwise missed it altogether.

Marie Burton said...

Well shucks .. Amazon doesn't have a USA version. =(


@Marie Burton
I'm so sorry Marie! Go on searching the Net for it. It has happened to me that I found a DVD I had been looking for for ages in the most improbable bookshops online. An example? I so wanted to see "Regeneration", a movie based on Pat Barker's novel I had read and liked, but I couldn't find it anywhere. At the end I found it on line and got it from a bookshop in Bologna (Italy) and it was an English movie!The DVD had double audio so ...I was so happy! Good luck!

costumedramas said...

I failed to see this when it was on TV (story of my life), but it sounds good from your review - will watch out for it! Judy


Yes, historical accuracy apart, it is a good costume series. I hope you'll manage to watch it.