Since starting up this blog, I’ve re-watched quite a few series which I first saw several years ago. Most have lived up to my memories – but this swashbuckling BBC adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s tale of chivalry didn’t… or not quite.
The main problem is that, at 300 minutes divided into six episodes, at times it feels rather slow and repetitive. I feel I’ve got something of a cheek complaining about this, since I’m usually moaning that adaptations race through a story too quickly – but this mini-series slightly goes to the other extreme. Although I’ve chosen an illustration of a Dutch DVD set, because I think it’s the most striking sleeve, this set is also available in UK and US editions.
Despite criticising the pace of some sections, I did enjoy it, and got really caught up in the action. I have read the novel, but don’t remember it all that well and so can’t comment on how closely the drama follows it in terms of plot detail. I think the romantic, intense atmosphere and the rather vague medieval world do have the same flavour as the book. However, the violence is more real and more bloody than in most swashbuckling dramas I’ve seen – at times hard to watch, but probably giving a far more real picture of what would have been involved in all those jousting sessions described in tales of King Arthur.