Arthur of the Britons DVD

Sunday, 30 March 2008 13:29

With the Roman withdrawal from Britain, the tribes have entered into a period of feudal warfare. Arthur is the war chieftain of a tribe of Celts who has his eye on the bigger picture - unification of the tribes in the face of the Saxon threat. Assisted by his adoptive father, Llud, and Saxon friend, Kai, he has his hands full keeping the peace with opposition from the various feuding factions as well as his duplicitous cousin, Mark of Cornwall. This is the set-up for Arthur of the Britons, the complete series of half hour episodes which have just been released by Network DVD.

Arthur of the Britons comes to Network DVDStarring Oliver Tobias (The Knock) as Arthur, leader of the Britons, this 1972-1973 swashbuckling adventure series from HTV also stars Jack Watson and Michael Gothard as his compatriots Llud and Kai, Brian Blessed (I, Claudius) as Mark of Cornwall and an impressive guest cast including Michael Gambon, Tom Baker, Michael Craig, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Bowles, amongst others.

Featuring a rousing and memorable theme by Oscar-winning composer Elmer Bernstein, Arthur of the Britons presents strong stories from such creative talent as Terence Feely (The Persuaders!), Robert Banks Stewart (Doctor Who), Peter Sasdy (Return of the Saint), Pat Jackson (The Prisoner) and Sidney Hayers (The Zoo Gang). The series was produced by Peter Miller (who wrote episodes of The Persuaders!, Bootsy and Snudge, Our Man at St Mark's, Here Come The Double Deckers, and Bergerac), and Executive Producer was Patrick Dromgoole – who went on to perform similar duties on Robin of Sherwood.

For fans of Robin of Sherwood, you get a sense of the evolution in this style of TV drama that will eventually tread the road to that series. Production values are high for a family series of this era, so it’s well worth checking out.

EPISODE GUIDE

 

01. ARTHUR IS DEAD

Arthur fakes his own death to try and bring together the various Celtic chiefs, the better to fight the Saxons.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Peter Sasdy

Original ITV Transmission: 6 December 1972

Guest stars: Rupert Davies as Cerdig, and Donald Burton as Dirk.

02. THE GIFT OF LIFE

Following an attack on his village Arthur discovers a pair of abandoned Saxon children.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 13 December 1972

Guest Stars: Stephen Chase as Horgen, Dennis Banda as Ulrich and Heather Wright as Hildred

03. THE CHALLENGE

Arthur has his hands full thanks to the activities of cousins Garet and Gawain.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 20 December 1972

Guest stars: Nicky Henson as Garet, Ken Hutchinson as Gawain and Terry York as The Saxon Leader

4. THE PENITENT INVADER

Arthur thinks a spot of Christianity may be able to help in dealing with invading Picts.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Patrick Dromgoole

Original ITV Transmission: 27 December 1972

Guest stars: Clive Revill as Rolf, Michael Graham Fox as Hereward, and Hedley Goodall as The Abbott

05. PEOPLE OF THE PLOUGH

Arthur has food for thought when Kai falls for a Saxon girl.

Writers: Bob Baker and Dave Martin

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 3 January 1973

Guest stars: Mike Pratt as Mordant, Valerie Ost as Freya, and Mark Edwards as Rulf

06. THE DUEL

Whilst rushing to the aid of a Saxon village one of Marks men is killed - convinced Llud is to blame Marc insists they take part in a trial by combat.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 10 January 1973

Guest stars: Max Faulkner as Luke, and Terry York as Mahon

07. THE PUPIL

Young Corin attacks Arthur in order to prove that he is worthy to be a warrior.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 17 January 1973

Guest stars: Peter Firth as Corin, Trisha Mortimer as Llud's Wife, and Gerry Wain as Mordor.

08. ROLF THE PREACHER

Rolf, now a Christian, returns to Arthur's lands and threatens to end up putting Arthur's life on the line.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 24 January 1973

Guest stars: Clive Revill as Rolf, and Mel Davies as Maeren.

09. ENEMIES AND LOVERS

The sly Morcant has Arthur and Kai captured making out that they are Saxon spies when he fears the two men may be after the hand of the King Athels daughter Goda (whom Morcant himself has designs on).

Writer: Scott Forbes

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 31 January 1973

Guest stars: Mark Edne as Morcant, Esmond Knight as Athel, and Hilary Dwyer as Goda.

10. THE SLAVES

Arthur mounts a campaign to free a group of enslaved villagers.

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 7 February 1973

Guest stars: Dave Prowse as Col, Deborah Watling as Thana, and Anthony Bailey as Rodolph.

11. THE WOOD PEOPLE

The Saxons kidnap two gypsy children threatening to kill them unless Arthur gives himself up to them.

Writer: David Osborne

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 14 February 1973

Guest stars: Bernard Bresslaw as The Saxon Leader, Daphne Heard as Elder, and Christopher Douglas as Yan.

12. THE PRIZE

Arthur teams up with Mark to try and steal a cache of Saxon treasure.

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 21 February 1973

Guest Stars: Tim Condren as Hoxel, and Richard Duerden as Galt

13. THE SWORDSMAN

Mordred tricks Arthur into fighting Karn, a deadly swordsman.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 12 September 1973

Guest stars: Martin Jarvis as Karn the Swordsman, Elsa Smith as Elsa, and Alfie Bass as The Trader.

14. ROWENA

As payment for some horses, Arthur and Kai agree to take Yorath's daughter Rowena to her bridegroom.

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart

Director: Patrick Dromgoole

Original ITV Transmission: 19 September 1973

Guest stars: George Marishka as Yorath, Sidney Johnson as Fenred, and Gila von Weiterhausen as Rowena.

15. THE PRISONER

An old Saxon childhood friend of Kai's called Roland turns up and provides a stern test of his loyalty towards Arthur.

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 26 September 1973

Guest stars: Michael Gambon as Roland, and Sally James as Leini.

16. SOME SAXON WOMEN

Yorath bargains with a trader to swap a barrel of wine for five Saxon women.

Writer: David Osborne

Director: Patrick Dromgoole

Original ITV Transmission: 3 October 1973

Guest stars: George Marishka as Yorath, Gila von Weiterhausen as Rowena, and Ferdy Mayne as The Trader.

17. GO WARILY

Llud is plagues by a nightmare about a giant warrior and Arthur has problems with a pair of twins - one good the other evil.

Writer: Jonathan Crown

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 10 October 1973

Guest stars: Tom Baker as Brandreth/Gavron, Colin Rix as Kellas, and Dave Prowse as Brosk.

18. THE MARRIAGE FEAST

Rowena is planning to marry Mark of Cornwall, Arthur who loves Rowena must come up with a plan to prevent the wedding taking place.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 17 October 1973

Guest stars: George Marishka as Yorath, and Gila von Weiterhausen as Rowena.

19. IN COMMON CAUSE

Arthur contemplates joining forces with the Saxons when a plague threatens to wipe out hordes of livestock.

Writer: Michael J Bird

Director: Patrick Dromgoole

Original ITV Transmission: 24 October 1973

Guest Stars: Rupert Davies as Cerdig, Kenneth Ives as Ulm, and Peter Stephens as Amlodd.

20. SIX MEASURES OF SILVER

A rascally Saxon, Kurk, sells Rowena a collection of stolen cattle, Arthur decides to teach him a lesson.

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart

Director: Pat Jackson

Original ITV Transmission: 31 October 1973

Guest Stars: Michael Craig as Kurk, Peter Copley as Berthold, and David Brierley as Hurn.

21. DAUGHTER OF THE KING

Arthur kidnaps the daughter of the evil King Bavick in order to try and persuade him to stop his murderous ways.

Writers: David Pursall and Jack Seddon

Director: Peter Sasdy

Original ITV Transmission: 7 November 1973

Guest Stars: Iain Cuthbertson as Bavick, Tony Steedman as Tugram, and Madeline Hinde as Eithna.

22. THE GAMES

Its time for the annual Inter-tribal games but Arthur learns that certain factions are planning to disrupt proceedings.

Writer: David Osborne

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 14 November 1973

Guest Stars: Christopher Mitchell as Barth, Drew Henley as Herrick, and Rollo Gamble as Erwith.

23. THE TREATY

Can a peace treaty with Cerdig really be as good as it seems to be - Arthur is not so sure.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Patrick Dromgoole

Original ITV Transmission: 21 November 1973

Guest Stars: Rupert Davies as Cerdig, Ray Witch as Voden, and George Marishka as Yorath.

24. THE GIRL FROM ROME

Arthur has trouble on his hands when a Roman Princess seeks Sanctuary with him.

Writer: Terence Feely

Director: Sidney Hayers

Original ITV Transmission: 28 November 1973

Guest Stars: Catherine Schell as The Princess, and Noel Trevarthen as Nestor.

Arthur of the Britons – The Complete Series is a four disc set with a running time of approx 600 minutes, and has a recommended retail price of £39.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com.

And now, thanks to Cult TV and Network DVD, you had the opportunity to put one of two copies available to win on to your mantelpiece, in our prize competition. All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: Which TISWAS presenter guest starred in the Arthur of the Britons episode “The Prisoner”? The answer was Sally James, and the winners were Al MacInnes of Kingsley, Frodsham, and Olivia Demosthenous of Islington, London.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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