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  1. #1
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    Does anyone remember this series? One of the most underrated on British TV, I reckon. The story of the first Plantagenets, from Henry II, played by Brian Cox, to John (John Duttine). Jane Lapotaire was a wonderful Eleanor of Aquitaine, Jack Shepherd a convincing Beckett, Christopher Gable was never better as Phillipe Augustus, and Patrick Troughton was a strong William Marshall (in spite of being about 8 inches too short for the part).



    My favourite moment is when the young Richard I, played by Michael Byrne, turns up at a farm in France. The farmer's wife doesn't take to him:



    "I know about you English. You all have tails because you copulate with sheep."



    "It's true!" he replies. "You wouldn't happen to have a sheep I could make use of?"



    "Er . . . we have a goat . . ."



    "Do you think me unnatural?"



    Maybe it failed because it was too literate.

  2. #2
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    I've heard of it and am really wanting to see it but haven't yet.



    I'm surprised it hasn't come to DVD yet actually. Has anyone heard any news that it will??

  3. #3
    Member Country: England
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    I'm amazed someone has posted about this. I've been looking out for it on release scheds for ages. The cast of Devil's Crown looks top notch - is it mostly studio bound or outside broadcast too? It was recommended after I saw 'Princes in the Tower' which Channel 4 did a couple of years ago (now out on region 1) which seemed unusually old school in approach, relying on great actors to drawn you in (the kind of thing reviewers on amazon annoyingly call 'poor production values' or 'slow'!)

  4. #4
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    The series was (I'm sure) entirely studio-bound, which allowed the use of highly stylised sets, many based on illuminated manuscripts. This was sneered at by certain critics - unfairly to my mind, since it gave the show a look unique in my experience, and allowed several amazing coups de theatre. My favourite was when King John, having assembled his forces on the cliffs of Dover to invade France, is informed by his nobles that they refuse to come with him. He realises his Continetal exploits are over, upon which the camera pans up to reveal that the clifftop is in fact a map of England, to which he's going to be confined for the rest of his life.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Gosh, I had forgotten about this series ! Am I correct in remembering quite a lot of nudity and rumpy-pumpy scenes ?



    It was quite an eye-opener for a kid whose only knowledge of the Medieval period came from those R.J. Unstead books in school !

  6. #6
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    Sounds really interesting - I think a lot has been lost by phasing out all the values of stage production in TV, sometimes it works really well. I don't expect it will be released unless some US company picks it up. Wasn't there a very stylised version of Gawain and the Green Knight around the same time too?



    R J Unstead - that brings back memories! Staple of every library back then, along with Geoffrey Trease and his medieval blockbusters...

  7. #7
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    They made much of Henry II's horizontal jogging, as I recall, though it seems to me the sight of him peeing in a leather bucket (with his back to the camera) raised the most hackles.



    I wouldn't know about the books of which you speak. I was stuck learning about Bannockburn, Mary Queen of Scots and other dreariness. Never even heard of Henry II till I saw The Lion In Winter.

  8. #8
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    Ah, The Lion in Winter. There's something about those historical epics from that period - Alfred the Great, Mary Queen of Scots, Man for All Seasons - when you always seem to get a perfect panoramic view of a river with a royal barge waving its oars against a sunset. It's my marker for whether it's going to be good or not!

  9. #9
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    Am looking for a copy (either video or DVD) of the 1978 miniseries "The Devil's Crown". Will pay for cost of tape/disc and shipping & handling. Please, please contact me if you have it or know where I could get a copy. Thanks so much!!



    -Andrea

    The Charles Kay Archives

    Charles-Kay.com � The Charles Kay Archives

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: Scotland silverwhistle's Avatar
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    I'd love this, too, if anyone can find it!

  11. #11
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    Wow - a blaste from ye paste. Yes, the teenager in me - whose appetite for BBC historical drama had been whetted by the fabulous "I Clavdivs" - remembers being captivated by this series when it was b'cast on Australian t.v. I missed so many episodes - had to wait for mother & father to start snoring before sneaking into the sitting room and plugging the headphones in - and have been looking in video-rental stores and latterly online retailers for many, many years, to no avail.



    I do remember the scene with the leather bucket (!), and the horizontal jogging (thankyou, my phrase-du-jour). And the wobbly sets - but who cared when the acting and the scriptwriting was so FABULOUS! Aunty has been kind to us, generous to a fault.



    I now work in London. A friend at the BBC tells me that this was probably never realsed commercially because the Beeb thought it wouldn't sell; it was, after all, only another in a long line of BBC historical outings. But we see that model changing, don't we: complete releases on DVD of US comedy series, for example, which none of us ever thought would be available except in our memories (how, pray tell, did someone get "Gilligan's Island" on to YouTube??). BUT apparently the good marketing people at Aunty are reviewing the sale of archive programmes...so keep an eye out!

  12. #12
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    Hi



    This series was even better than the subsequent RSC Shakespear History Cycle.



    Anyone know if tis available twixt BBC and franchise companies?



    Cheers

    L

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Scotland silverwhistle's Avatar
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    I would be very interested in it if it is available anywhere, too!

  14. #14
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    It's interesting to note that others remember this series. I first saw it when I was still a teenager, and have been obsessed with finding a copy of it ever since.



    I was particularly impressed with Michael Byrne's portrayal of Richard I - so much so that I have always been on the lookout for him in various movies, TV series, etc.



    I also remember finding a copy of the book in our local library - only to lose track of it later. In more recent years, I found the book again on Amazon, but this is really something you have to experience visually and dramatically. With any luck, one day the BBC will wake up and produce a DVD. And then we can all cheer.

  15. #15
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    I remember seeing a bit of this and being interested because I was studying the period in history. But as i recall it was all about sex and effectrively attributed great political historical events to the characters hedonistic sex drives. So Henry II's constant adultery led to him splitting from Eleanor and the pseudo civil war, Richard I spend all his time in the Holy Land trying to bugger young boys and John was a paedophile who's kingdom went to pot and he was forced to sign Magna Carta because he was too busy shacked up with his 12 year old wife. (i'm exaggerating slightly to make a point of course)



    I was also put off by the studio-bound theatricality of it all - though oddly I accepted this in I Claudius; probably because I Claudius was much better written and acted.





    I was particularly impressed with Michael Byrne's portrayal of Richard I - so much so that I have always been on the lookout for him in various movies, TV series, etc.


    yes - he pops up in such varied stuff as Braveheart and Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade.

  16. #16
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    Uh, was this the one where a man visits a youth in prison, gives him a hug, and then and orders the guards to "blind him and geld him", which happened on-screen? Disturbed me muchly as a kid.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: UK howardmitchell's Avatar
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    Hi

    can anyone tell me if the 1978 bbc drama "the devils crown" is available anywhere or was it wiped .

    i remember it being very dark and powerfull drama ?

    cheers chaps

    H

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I have wanted TDC for years. I believe copies do exist, but none of them have ever surfaced AFAIK.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK howardmitchell's Avatar
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    ive never been able to find it either - just remember it.

    probably a bit too " crusty"a drama for people to watch and keep ?

    thanks batman

    H

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain GoggleboxUK's Avatar
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    I'm looking for the BBC series The Devil's Crown from 1978 starring Brian Cox, Michael Hawkins and Patrick Troughton.



    If anyone can help I have lots to trade.



    Thanks in advance.




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