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The Tudor Society

Gunpowder – New BBC drama starring Kit Harington

Kit Harington, AKA Jon Snow, is starring alongside Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler in a new drama coming soon to BBC One.

Kit will be playing Robert Catesby, one of the plotters of the infamous Gunpowder Plot which sought to blow up the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November 1605, and to assassinate King James I. You can click here to read more about the plot, but here is a trailer for the drama. The BBC has not announced a date yet for the series to air.

Blurb from the BBC: "Every year on November 5 the English mark the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in London in 1605 with bonfires and fireworks. It is often called Guy Fawkes Day because many people believe – erroneously – that the plot was devised by Guy Fawkes.

However, while Fawkes played a pivotal role, the man who dreamed up the plot and was its driving force was Robert Catesby (Harington), a 30-year old Warwickshire gentleman [...] Catesby is a committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecutes Catholics relentlessly. The authorities directed by King James’s spymaster in Chief Robert Cecil (Gatiss), hunt down, torture and execute priests while lay Catholics are subject to oppression and the loss of their property. They must practice their religion in secret, risking imprisonment, fines, harassment and even death.

Catesby’s refusal to abandon his religion has brought him to the edge of financial, social and psychological ruin. His wife and father have both recently died, leaving him to bring up a young son in an increasingly hostile world. Unable to stand by while his coreligionists suffer, and despite the peaceful protestations of head Jesuit Father Garnet (Mullan), doing nothing is not an option for a man like Catesby. He starts to recruit friends and relatives, swearing them to secrecy as he devises an audacious plan. His astute and capable cousin Anne Vaux (Tyler) becomes suspicious about his activities and fears the consequences will be the exact opposite of what Catesby intends.

This fast-paced 17th century thriller delves into the history behind the plot evolution, the selection of the team to carry it out, the gathering of the resources, and the obstacles they came up against. At the same time a deadly cat and mouse game is played out with Cecil’s ruthless spy network."

I'll let you know when I see a date for it.

Source: BBC media centre and BBC media centre.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R /

    I can’t wait for a new drama as the last one was in 2005. Since then several documentary drama or reconstruction from modern evidence have been done, the best based on the account of Thomas Wintour called 1605 The Greatest Terror and the one were they built a replica Parliament and worked out how much gun powder they would need and the damage it would do. Half of London would have suffered damage and over 3000 people would have been killed. The amount of gun powder needed was half that used. It was a very close thing.

    Everyone knows the story of Guy Fawlkes because he was guarding and acquired the gun powder, was tortured and questioned by King James and then executed. He was the soldier, the high ho silver guy, the mercenary and he wasn’t known to the authorities, had several aliases, Mr Johnson was his latest. Unlike the other members of the cell he wasn’t noble or gentry but a soldier of fortune. He had connections to explosives and that was how he came into this group.

    Now as the history has been told more we know a lot more about the leaders of the Gunpowder Treason. We are particularly familiar now with the fanatic behind it, Robert Catesby, who as a young Catholic gentlemen has high hopes from the new King James, but has seen those hopes removed by his attitude. Catesby is a troubled soul who has lost his family and was arrested during the Essex rising, but only imprisoned. He has very impatient, very devout and very radical and even when everything went against them he still pushed to go ahead with killing the King. His own brother and his brother in law tried to get him to back down and flee to France but Catesby pressed ahead. Catesby is seen more in the heroic light as he was killed in a fire fight at his home when the plotters were arrested. It is almost symbolic that Kit Harrington who plays Jon Snow, a character who thinks he is right and indestructible should play the radical, outspoken and rashly dangerous, Robert Catesby.

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Gunpowder – New BBC drama starring Kit Harington