A Crusader-turned-Monk uses his botanical knowledge to solve mysteries in the old Norman England town of Shrewsbury.
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Brother Cadfael (13 episodes, 1994-1998)
...
 Prior Robert (13 episodes, 1994-1998)
...
 Brother Jerome (13 episodes, 1994-1998)
Terrence Hardiman ...
 Abbot Radulfus (10 episodes, 1994-1998)
...
 Brother Oswin (9 episodes, 1994-1997)
Albie Woodington ...
 Sergeant Warden (8 episodes, 1994-1997)
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Storyline

At and around the Shrewsbury abbey, Brother Cadfael is a monk with a difference. Given a choice, he would enjoy just being a simple gardener and herbalist for his home. However, too often events force him to use his other talent as a master sleuth in response to mysterious crimes happening in his community. While he investigates these crimes, he often finds himself at odds with the contemporary attitudes of the times with his own ahead of his time beliefs. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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A riveting mystery and a fascinating glimpse into a medieval world.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

12 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mystery!: Cadfael  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(13 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All the filming locations (eg Shrewsbury Abbey, street scenes in Shrewsbury, banks of the River Severn) were sets constructed on waste ground behind Fot Studios in Budapest, Hungary, because almost every medieval building that still exists in the UK is now in a ruined state, due to Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th Century. See more »

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User Reviews

The novels are better

I've watched all four sets of episodes in the "Cadfael" series, and I've also read the novels that each episode is based on, and I must say that the novels are much better. Firstly, the dramatizations of Ellis Peters' work are only very, *very* loosely based on the novels; often the plot of the dramatization bears virtually no resemblance to the plot of the corresponding novel. However, the most remarkable difference between the novels and their dramatizations are the way the characters are portrayed: In general, the characters are displayed in a much more sympathetic light in the novels than they are in the dramatizations. In many of the episodes, the only characters who come out with a clean nose are Cadfael and the female lead, while almost all the other characters are portrayed as ignorant and/or mean-spirited and/or having ulterior and selfish motives. In the novels, the kindest and most charitable view of every character emerges from the prose. Even the murderer in most of the novels is treated with a degree of sympathy in the end. Many of the characters who in the novels are genuinely good people (or at least have good intentions or a good will) are presented in the dramatizations as mean, nasty, judgemental, narrow-minded, and stupid. As a consequence, the "Cadfael" video dramatizations are harsher and darker, and they come across as less authentic and balanced compared to the novels.

On a positive note, the sets and costumes in the series are great. Derek Jacobi is absolutely *perfect* in the lead role of Cafael - I cannot conceive of another actor playing Cadfael; Jacobi owns this role the way Jeremy Brett came to own the role of Sherlock Holmes. Michael Culver and Julian Firth are exactly as I imagined Prior Robert and Brother Jerome to be when I was reading the novels. The same goes for the Terrence Hardiman as Abbot Radulfus. Given that Hugh Beringar is such a central character in the series, it is unfortunate that one actor could not have been recruited to play him for every episode. My favorite Hugh Beringar is the first one, played by Sean Pertwee. Finally, the actresses playing the female leads have, without exception, been superb.

In conclusion, the "Cadfael" series is good, but the dramatizations are not as good as the novels. Watch the episodes in the series, but be sure to read the novels they are based on afterwards. And if you read the novels *before* you watch the dramatizations, prepare for yourself for disappointment.


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