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John Kent Harrison
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Would you forgive me before I leave?
Mary, Queen of Scots:
I've lost wee David, and now I lose you.
You will be the stronger for it. You are your mother's daughter - every inch a queen.
Mary, Queen of Scots:
Bothwell - I am with child. I have fulfilled my promise to my dead mother and to Scotland for I am with child
I would that it was mine.
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After viewing the first two episodes (shown together on the UK terrestrial channel BBC 2), I wanted to recommend the series.
The title brings to mind "Guy Fawlkes", but the mini-series is actually the story of Mary, Queen of Scots - a tale which is amongst the most dramatic in the whole of Scottish history.
Given that all Scottish school children study this period in great detail (myself included!), the responsibility of all concerned is high.
It was with great delight that I found the series an honest and compelling human drama, and the (historically known) actions of the characters made perfect sense in the light of the characterisations and script.
I was concerned that the whole affair would be dragged down by either the weight of historical authenticity or the need to create a drama for modern sensibilities.
The historical ambiguities in the character of Mary were perfectly realised as drama: the transition from a French childhood to become a champion of the Scottish cause was credible. Her involvement in political assassinations was cleverly presented as "for the good of Scotland" rather than as cold-hearted scheming. So in this drama Mary is a heroine, though historians will argue endlessly on this one. My recall of school history is not good enough to know where liberties have been taken with historical fact.
Some flaws were present - the character of David Rizzio was not fleshed out sufficiently. The feel of the production could be criticised a little as a McGovern "housing estate drama" in costume e.g. the simple-minded Protestant/Catholic vein pervading the production. However, as the drama really gets going through the romance between Mary and her "bit of Scottish rough" (Lord Bothwell), perhaps one should acknowledge the universality of the human condition.
This is not an "Elizabeth" which re-wrote the book for cinematic historical realisations. However, "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot" is a likable and worthy production, which may not be absolutely top notch, but does seem a little tucked away on BBC 2 on a Sunday evening, when it deserves wider viewing.
I await the remaining episodes with interest.
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