Gunpowder. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Cast: Kit Harington, Peter Mullan, Liv Tyler, Mark Gatiss, Shaun Dooley, Tom Cullen, Edward Holcroft, Robert Emms, Derek Riddell, Pedro Casablanc, David Bamber, Daniel West, Luke Neal, Luke Broughton, Philip Hill-Pearson, Richard Glover, Hugh Alexander, Simon Kunz, Fergus O’ Donnell,  Thom Ashley, Sian Webber, Kate Wood,  Sean Rigby, Beatrice Comins, Martin Lindley, Kevin Eldon, Robert Gwylim.

History is what we are, our time upon this world so fleeting that for the most part, mortal men and women have little to leave behind save their words or deeds and even then for the most part they shall fade into myth and forgotten. It takes courage to remembered at the cost of knowing it could be for ill; that your convictions, your beliefs might see you pillared and mocked through history’s inevitable struggle between oppression and what is defined by the state to be the truth.

It is a truth that many have peeled at in the search for the real Gunpowder Plot conspirators and in the B.B.C’s Gunpowder the more human aspect of the final days of Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Father Henry Garnett and Thomas Wintour are played out with genuine care and attention to history’s long shadow.

Through the life of Robert Catesby, faithful to Rome, the Pope and his belief, it was the collision course with King James I which everything was to hang and with Kit Harington, Peter Mulan, Liv Tyler and Mark Gatiss in the cast, it was a drama that could not fail.

In many way Kit Harington was born to play the part of the man who would rock the Kingdom to its foundation; not only has his time as one of the leading players in the phenomenally successful Game Of Thrones stood him in good stead as being able to look into the camera’s lens and see its soul, being descended from the mastermind behind the plan is also to be commended. It is in such a role that the D.N.A that runs through us all, the stories passed down from mouth to mouth, becomes memory, becomes a reason to get the story told to as wide a circle as possible. It is a story, historic in what it meant for the country and the people involved, that should not be denied its place in the history of the nation.

For good or ill, really depending on where your sympathies lay in such moments, The Gunpowder Plot is a pivotal spark in the long history of England and Gunpowder resonates the actions, the thoughts and the means in which repressed and persecuted group of people would take the law into their own hands.

Gunpowder, a means to an end, the lit fuse which we perhaps foolishly commemorate with diligence every year without understanding its true meaning, whether in freedom or in the absolution of our forebears actions. A stunning television drama which brings the world of resentment, hatred and suspicion sharply into focus; a true treat of story-telling!

Ian D. Hall