In all of Arthurian legend, the most famous of the Knights of the Round Table is undoubtedly Sir Lancelot. This series, painstakingly researched by the History and Literature Departments of... See full summary »
William Tell is well acted with a cast that includes many household names as regulars and guest stars such as Michael Caine, Christopher Lee, Sid James, James Booth and Nigel Green (both in Zulu). For many of the guest stars it was probably one of their first appearances on screen so the series is interesting for that alone. William Tell himself is confidently played (though a bit sternly in my opinion) by Conrad Phillips. His wife Hedda Tell (Jennifer Jayne) is also a strong character even if she does disappear for several episodes at a time, perhaps due to other commitments. The same can be said for Nigel Green who uses his large presence to great effect as the gigantic but rather gullible "Bear." Willoughby Goddard makes a great foil for Tell as the obese and extremely evil Gessler (prepared to behead even children over the slightest offence).
William Tell makes for better family viewing than most such attempts now as these are often dumbed down, too politically correct, or use rubbish actors (the recent BBC Robin Hood series for example is guilty of all three). There is no sex, bad language or extreme violence though the story is more brutal than in Robin Hood with Richard Greene, perhaps because it is more about freedom fighters trying to save Switzerland from the Austrians than just trying to stop corruption. If you enjoyed this series I would heartily recommend Robin Hood and Buccaneers, both filmed around the same time in the 50's and very similar in the type of storyline.
My favourite episode is probably Manhunt with the ever-villainous Christopher Lee as the Emperors brother who tries to hunt down William Tell and friends like animals. This is probably because it tries to be a bit different from the other episodes which frankly can become a bit repetitive. Having sad that it is no mean feat to write interesting stories that take place in just over 20 minutes and with such an obviously miniscule budget to work with.
Overall, undemanding, action-packed adventure yarns that should be able to hold the attention of younger viewers due to the short running time.
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