The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (TV Series 1956–1957) Poster

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FitzjamesHorse4 November 2004
Sir Lancelot was one of a series of cheaply made but highly crafted TV shows made for the new ITV network in England in the 1950s These were all set in medieval times and even as a child at the time I was amazed by how similar they were. Among these shows were "Robin Hood" starring Richard Greene Sir Lancelot (William Russell" William Tell (Conrad Phillips) Ivanhoe (Roger Moore who later became a James Bond) and Richard the Lionheart (Dermot Walsh)

As they were made on a shoestring, props and uniforms and "extra actors" tended to appear and reappear in the shows. One money saving device was castle parts on wheels which could be rearranged to make it seem that there were several castles in the one show
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Retelling of documented tales of Sir Lancelot
woolcock31 July 2004
I remember watching this television series as a child. I fell in love with Sir Lancelot (naturally!) and this program encouraged my lifelong interest in King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

Since this series there have been numerous versions in film of the story of Arthur and his Queen Guinevere, the castle Camelot and those chivalrous Knights. Strangely enough none are ever the same but they are all based on the original legends of Arthur. This series had a fresh adventure for Sir Lancelot each week - whether it was rescuing damsels in distress or joining his fellow Knights in battle. The acting and the production values were very good for the time - everyone dressed in suitable period outfits. Then Sir Lancelot admired his Queen from a distance - there was never a hint of an affair as this was a children's program! The settings always looked very authentic and for Camelot itself no doubt a real castle was used - there are plenty of them in the UK.
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Superb nostalgia
ronevickers7 September 2010
Looking back on these episodes of the Sir Lancelot legend, it recalls fond memories of a more innocent age, when TV series such as this one, and Robin Hood, William Tell, the Buccaneers etc, etc were king. Nowadays, the obvious budget restrictions on the production are clearly apparent but hey, who cares, it is still a marvellous little series. It has lots of plus points - joyous and carefree adventure, authentic settings, neat story lines, strong ensemble cast, and a splendidly energetic Sir Lancelot, played by that fine actor William Russell. Highly recommended for children and adults alike, and in many ways makes one wish for the values of an age gone by to return.
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Popular in America
bkoganbing28 September 2005
I'm not sure who it was who said that the most important historical fact in the 20th century is that the UK and the USA spoke the same language, albeit very differently.

As in our first full decade of television, in the fifties, the British went back to their past and crafted a nice series of adventure programs for the kids and occasionally the grownups. We in American had westerns, over in the UK I guess you could call them "medievalers."

Although The Adventures of Robin Hood was the most popular, probably due to the presence of Richard Greene who had a good list of film credits and was popular here before, other shows got exposure in America at that time.

The Sir Lancelot show was one of those. I had a play collection of knights at the time this came out. William Russell was a stalwart Sir Lancelot who did battle with all kinds of villainy for 30 minutes every week. I used to repeat those programs with my knights.

It was good to see those shows then, it gave Americans a fine appreciation of British culture.
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Review of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot with William Russell
ldaly-306-33880422 August 2012
The legends this series is based on have had many interpretations in book and film. So I can forgive the anachronisms in clothing styles and liberty taken with story lines – like the creative addition of Brian, which really made the show for me. I was enchanted by this TV series in 1956 when I was eight years old, and it enchanted me again when my husband gifted me the series on DVD for Christmas 2011. The pull of nostalgia on viewing the series from some fifty years distance is extremely compelling. My memories of the characters are sharper than my memories of other shows of this era. Even if other shows are considered better, this is the show struck a strong cord in my psyche. And why it did, I really don't know.

What I do know is I now see in the show, 1950's values overlaying a medieval scenario inhabited by charming characters with engaging humor. This show may well have partially sparked the humor I put in my own writing. Also, it may have been the start of my public service ethic (seriously) and the choice of my first real employment as a teenager – swimming pool lifeguard, a protector role. It may be what underlies my twenty year service in the Coast Guard Auxiliary (civilian volunteer component of the Coast Guard) doing search and rescue on Lake Michigan.

You see, I bought the ethics of knighthood as an eight year old child despite the show's 1950's attitude that it was a men's club only and my role as a female was to be abducted and then rescued. I ignored the gender issue and identified with Brian and his dream of joining a group of people dedicated to do good in the world. Perhaps his overcoming his own humble background which almost locked him out of the "nobles only club", encouraged me to overcome my "gender handicap" as many girl children of the 1950's eventually did through the women's movement of the 1960's and 1970's.

Both Lancelot and Brian, for me, made this show. But they were well backed up with the silliness of Sir Kay whose buffoonery made me laugh, King Arthur who represented authority with dignity, and the Queen who represented how women should behave (except for me, of course). I realized on viewing the DVD episodes that I had accurately remembered the voice tones of both Brian and Lancelot over all these years: Lancelot's wavering laugh and Brian's soft and soothing voice.

As an 8 year old, I liked their looks, but as a 64 year old, I realize what eye candy they both really were. If I had been a teenager when I first saw the show, I might have done one of two things: laughed it off as silly and not watched again after the first episode, or I might have developed a crush on either or both of these male actors and avidly mooned over the show each week. But discovering them as an 8 year old –I imprinted on them. That runs much deeper than a fleeting teenage obsession.

So I may try to introduce this series to my seven-year-old granddaughter. Perhaps she is of the wrong generation to be enchanted by them. But little does she know that Grandma who pays for and drives her to her taekwon-do lessons, and is proud of her green belt and her 3rd place in a tournament, might be pushing the martial arts because half a century ago an enchanting TV show inspired Grandma and kick-started her imagination.
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Thoroughly researched? By Oxford?
oxbridgeup12 February 2011
There are many things historically wrong with this series; for starters, the longbow (think Robin Hood) didn't come into use until the 13th century or thereabouts, whilst it's generally conceded that if Arthur were a historical person, he lived about the 8th century. The costumes are all wrong --- again more close to those of Robin's time. Knights in armour didn't just "mount up"; they needed a hoist to get on a horse. The writings of Euclid were unknown to the Arthurian age; so Merlin's lever was an anachronism. In several scenes men remained seated when women (even the Queen) were standing -- definitely a no-no until the 20th century. There are other, lesser faults, but, in general, this was a Robin Hood setting with "men in armour" instead of tights.
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A Used Camelot
John T. Ryan28 June 2014
OBVIOUSLY DONE ON a less than grand scale, this juvenile series representation of 'Life in Camelot' gave our 1950's television viewing a little break from all of those Westerns. Based on those Mythic , Tales and the Arthurian Legend, the series owns a limb on the same family tree as CAMELOT, Excalibur and Hal Foster's Newspaper Strip of PRINCE VALIANT.

TAKING THE SPOTLIGHT away from Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and Gallahad and the other boys, Sir Lancelot became the main character (obviously, duh!) and the various stories revolved around his Knoghtly deeds; as well as how a Knight of the Round Table handles the everyday problems that plague all of us.

WE WELL RECALL one episode in which a young, beautiful Princess fell for Lancelot; even though she was betrothed to some other nobleman. The show centers on his efforts to portray himself as an ignorant buffoon; in order to put back on track to marry the other, younger guy.

THE SUPPORTING CAST was at least adequate for representing the employees of the Camelot Castle. Arthur looked regal, Guinevere stately and the other Knights appeared to fill out their rank well. Sir Kay, a portly chap, was used in comic relief. Only Merlin looked in authentic to us; being a skinny white bearded guy in a bath robe and 'dunce cap!'

WE DON'T REMEMBER the name of the actor who portrayed Lance, but we do remember that he was a rather handsome, noble looking sort. Our older sister, Joanne, who was in High School by then, said that he was cute.

WELL, THAT'S GOOD enough for us!
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Lovely Entertainment for the Whole Family
scott-dix19 January 2013
Our family loves Sir Lancelot, and are sorry that there was not a season 2 made. We are pleasantly surprised by the color episodes in the 2nd half of the 1st and only season. My 6-yr old daughter loves these episodes. She takes sword and shield and gets her friends and infants to place the Caledon (Lancelot's horse), Brian (Lancelot's squire), King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. The episodes are fast-paced and open with a scene that usually immediately sets up the story. The story- lines are for the most part good for children. The humor is pleasant. When you watch them in close succession, its easy to pick up on the actors who play multiple people during the series, townspeople, villains, and friends. The theme song is wonderful. The main untenable thing in terms of story lines that stands out as totally untenable, is the fact that the other knights of the round table never want to fight. So, the task always falls to Sir Lancelot.

A bygone era for TV series for sure. If you like these, you will also like Robin Hood, William Tell, and the Buccaneer.
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