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A King's Ransom/The Scarlet Pimpernel and the Kidnapped King 

In 1794, Percy learns that the Dauphin has been kidnapped from an orphanage by a masked swordsman. Later, Robespierre receives a ransom note and directs Chauvelin to find and secure the boy.



, (books) (as Baroness Orczy)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Fox ...
Monsieur Jouvin
Sarah Berger ...
Madame Jouvin
Dalibor Sipek ...
La Touraine
Lady Suzanne Ffoulkes
Baron Valdemar
Arturo Mazarini
Cecile (as Winter Uhlarik)


In 1794, Percy learns that the Dauphin has been kidnapped from an orphanage by a masked swordsman. Later, Robespierre receives a ransom note and directs Chauvelin to find and secure the boy.

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7 November 1999 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Elizabeth McGovern and Richard E. Grant reunited for the fifth season of Downton Abbey. See more »


Robespierre: Citizen Robespierre, ain't it? Sir Percival Blakeney!
Robespierre: I know very well who you are.
Percy Blakeney: So the Republic is selling off the family furniture to pay for more cannon balls, eh? Well done, sir! Wars are such expensive affairs. Who the devil can afford it now a days?
Robespierre: France has to afford it, if she is to survive. Good day.
Percy Blakeney: [bows] Ah!
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Follows The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999) See more »


To the Guillotine
Arranged by Michael Reed
Performed by Dalibor Sipek, Stuart Fox and Sarah Berger
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User Reviews

The worst part of this is the Scarlet Pimpernel!
19 April 2005 | by (Yorkshire, England) – See all my reviews

Orczy's 'Eldorado' - the rescue of the Dauphin, at least, and not the torture of Percy - meets 'Scaramouche'. I'm very frustrated by this series: if it was an original concept with brand new characters, I would be able to watch it without reservation, but using Sir Percy and Marguerite, and then not developing them fully enough or even following the author's template, seems lazy. If so many elements of the novels bother the writer of this version, why not just leave the story to the 1934 and 1982 adaptations, and write something new? Richard E. Grant seems better suited for the role of Chauvelin, with his dark hair, neat figure, penchant for wearing sombre clothes, and even his talent for delivering snide one-liners - yet he is cast as Sir Percy. Superficial details aside, the Scarlet Pimpernel is even robbed of his talent for rescuing people from the Revolution: one woman he promises to save is later drowned, because Sir Percy interrogates her at her place of work, lacking any attempt at a disguise, in front of a room-full of people! It's almost as if the basic concept of Orczy's romantic hero was deemed too embarrassing to be translated onto modern day screens, and so the whole point of the character has been whittled down, nearly beyond recognition. Marguerite is another failing: Elizabeth McGovern is badly miscast as the young, beautiful French actress, desperately in love with her husband. There is no chemistry whatsoever, and indeed, the Blakeney's marriage is treated as such an aside from the novels that Marguerite dies off-screen at the start of the second series. Grant's Percy actually better suits a bachelor lifestyle, and so I wasn't particularly bothered that such an intrinsic part of Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel series was lost (as I perhaps would have been, with better acting). This reworking of 'Eldorado', giving Chauvelin a meatier, slightly ambiguous role in the rescue of the young Dauphin, works well, aside from the occasional plot hole (in the first episode, Marguerite is on her way to the guillotine before being rescued by her husband, thus making her a fugitive, who probably shouldn't be welcomed back to the stage by Robespierre quite so readily!) Marguerite and Percy's rather too public falling out is a clever trick - at least in this alternate Scarlet Pimpernel universe - which plays with Chauvelin's desires. And I liked the element of truth behind the malicious comments aimed at Marguerite and Suzanne as French émigrés marrying English lords! The best thread of the plot, however, has to be La Touraine as a dual identity to greatly envy Sir Percy's! Suzanne Bertish is fantastic as the arrogant and bitter grand dame of the French theatre, who masquerades as a legendary swordsman - and that this subplot is not to be found in any of the novels perfectly illustrates how this series should have abandoned any claim that it was based on the work of the Baroness Orczy, as being compared to the written version insults what is best about both the books and the show.

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