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The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend (2005)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  1 November 2005 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 43 users  
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An investigation into Guy Fawkes's treasonous scheme of 400 years ago.


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Title: The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend (TV Movie 2005)

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Credited cast:
Himself - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sidney Alford ...
Himself - Explosives Consultant (as Dr. Sidney Alford)
Princess Elizabeth
Simon Carter ...
Himself - Parliamentary Curator
Henry Douthwaite ...
Jonathan Dunstan ...
Thomas Wintour
David Hadden ...
Himself - Blast Damage Consultant
Daniel Hoadley ...
John Joyce ...
Father Henry Garnet
Toby Knight ...
Stuart Liddle ...
Justin Pollard ...
Himself - Historical Consultant
Matt Rozier ...


An investigation into Guy Fawkes's treasonous scheme of 400 years ago.

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1 November 2005 (UK)  »

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A fascinating recreation
2 April 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1605 a group of English Roman Catholics (who would be called 'extemists' or 'terrorists' today) attempted to assassinate King James I and his Parliament as the first stage in a coup d'etat which would lead to the restoration of Catholicism as the national faith. Their plan was to detonate a huge stock of gunpowder in the cellars beneath the Palace of Westminster (which were available for rent in those days). Fortunately - or not, depending on your point of view - the plot was betrayed before it could be carried out.

400 years later British TV had the happy idea of trying to find out what would have happened if the explosion had taken place. They found a site on a remote army artillery range (the location was supposedly a "military secret" but I reckon it was Warcop in Cumbria) where they rebuilt the Houses of Parliament of the early 1600's using authentic construction methods and used crash-test dummies to stand in for the people. They ordered a huge amount of gunpowder from a traditional manufacturer in Spain, put it in place and set it off.

The results were awesome. The buildings were devastated and body parts and wreckage were strewn over a huge area. There would have been few survivors if the original plotters had succeeded, and English history would have been very different.

The programme combined the recreation of the explosion itself with telling the story of the Gunpowder Plot (still celebrated with fireworks and bonfires in the UK every November 5th). The history was OK but for once a piece of recreation stole the show. The sight of the explosion and an entire building being ripped apart was unforgettable.

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