There’s been mounting consternation among critics that Gunpowder would be a dragon-free version of the Sky Atlantic powerhouse Game of Thrones; overly similar in setting, tone and – presumably – the amount of mud and horse sweat Harrington cakes himself in.
Gunpowder unquestionably has a GoT feel about it. The new, three-part drama offers more in the way of on-screen violence than we’re used to seeing on the tame, old BBC. But, where GoT gives us witch-craft, Gunpowder is refreshingly based in reality.
The story behind the gunpowder plot is – when told as well as this – a fascinating yarn about reactionary governments, lying politicians, religious intolerance, rising Euroscepticism and, of course, terror extremism. The similarities with today are striking, but at least we don’t have to wear codpieces.
The action follows Robert Catesby (Harrington), who was the 1605 original plot's mastermind. Harrington, who headlined as both producer and star in the production, was – literally – born to play the role, as he is both Catesby’s direct descendent and, in a twist of irony, a distant relative of King James VI & I.
Congratulations to the BBC on this thrilling new show. This year we'll be spending bonfire night greatful that we no longer chop off prisoners limbs for public entertainment, but nonetheless worrying about how many similarities can be spotted between today and 1605.
|What||Gunpowder review, BBC One|
|Where||BBC One, BBC One | MAP|
21 Oct 17 – 30 Nov 17, Gunpowder release date: 21 October 2017 9pm BBC One