Gunpowder,Treason and Plot
New Jimmy McGovern
drama for BBC TWO
Award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern and film
director Gillies MacKinnon bring the story behind the Gunpowder
Plot to BBC TWO in two original films exploring the lives of Mary Queen
of Scots and her son James 1st.
Starring Robert Carlyle as James and French newcomer
Clémence Poésy as Mary, Gunpowder, Treason and
Plot also features Kevin McKidd, Emilia Fox, Tim McInnerny,
Catherine McCormack, Richard Coyle, Daniela Nardini
and Paul Nicholls.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot is a Box TV production for
BBC Northern Ireland directed by Gillies MacKinnon, whose credits include
such films as Pure, Regeneration, Hideous Kinky and Small Faces.
He also directed Jimmy McGovern's 1990 BBC TWO drama
Filmed entirely on location in Romania with key Scottish
crew, McGovern's script concentrates on Mary's short-lived reign and
the battles she has to fight with both her Protestant subjects and the
English Queen, Elizabeth 1st (Catherine McCormack).
She conspires with the Earl of Bothwell (McKidd) to
assassinate her miscreant husband Lord Darnley (Nicholls).
The story continues with her son James VI of Scotland
(who, on Elizabeth's death, became James 1st of England), and the plot
against his reign masterminded by the influential Catholic Robert Catesby
(Coyle) - a plot planned by Guy Fawkes (played by newcomer Michael
Fassbender) to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to rid
the nation of an oppressive Protestant monarch.
The drama reunites McGovern with producer Gub Neal.
The pair created Cracker together and were also
responsible for the award-winning drama-documentary, Hillsborough.
The executive producers are Robert Cooper,
former Head of BBC Northern Ireland Drama, and Gareth Neame,
BBC Head of Drama Commissioning.
Robert Cooper says: "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
is a signature drama from one of Britain's most accomplished television
writers, who is known for exploring such universal themes as injustice,
prejudice and intolerance in Sunday, Liam, Hillsborough, Priest and
"In Gunpowder, he explores the nature of power
and kingship with a drama inspired by historical characters and events,
in much the same way as Shakespeare interpreted the past in the history
"It's a personal vision, a dramatic interpretation
Gareth Neame adds: "It's become a cliché
that nations should learn from their past and that history repeats itself.
"However in Britain in 2004 we live with the threat
of terrorism as revenge for perceived religious persecution.
"400 years ago Britain was under the same threat
as a small group of disaffected Catholics, sickened by the persecution
they suffered at the hands of their king, fought back in the first attempted
act of modern terrorism with a strike at the heart of the nation."
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot, will be shown on
BBC TWO on Sunday 14 March and Sunday 21 March at 9.00pm.
A Box TV production for BBC Northern Ireland in association
with Raging Star Films.