Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Bastard Executioner on UK TV

The History Channel in the UK is currently showing 'The Bastard Executioner' on Tuesday nights.  I've been waiting for this show for a couple of months after first hearing about it on Kathryn's  Edward II blog.  I've read mixed reviews, and then that the show has been cancelled.  Still, any show that features Piers Gaveston HAS to be watched.  The actor playing Piers is called Tom Forbes.

The series focuses on Wilkin Brattle, a knight in the service of Edward Ist, who is betrayed and left for dead.  It's far too complicated to explain - and has nothing to do with Piers Gaveston - but Wilkin takes on the life and role of another man - the official punisher/executioner , based at Castle Ventris - hence he is 'the bastard executioner'.   , Piers has appeared in 3 episodes.   The episodes have Welsh and English titles.  The episodes are no.4 'A Hunger/Newyn'  no. 5 'Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth' , and no. 9, 'The Bernadette Manuever/Cynllywn Bernadette'.

Episodes 4 and 5 focus on a character known as 'the Baroness', who has lost her husband and stands to lose her lands as she is childless.  She falsely claims to be pregnant - hmmm, the writers obviously knew about the widow of Gilbert de Clare, who tried the same ploy.  And guess who is after her lands?  yes, Piers Gaveston, who is called Sir Gaveston!  The Baroness is summoned by Edward II to Windsor, where she has to deal with Sir Gaveston, the king's chief adviser, who makes it plain she is not welcome.   Piers is referred to as a 'Frenchman', rather than Gascon.   Edward II makes only a fleeting appearance.  In episode 5, Piers travels to the home of the Baroness, where he behaves obnoxiously and takes 2 - yes 2! - women into his bedchamber to be entertained!  Who'd have thought it?  Piers a womaniser! haha!  He never gets that accusation flung at him.

Alas, episode 9 sees Piers meet his doom.  He is now an outlaw, pursued as he's hiding out after being exiled.  He's being held in a castle, whilst the Earl of Pembroke romps with his mistress.  He's pursued by.............the bastard executioner and his master, Milus!   Milus has one of the best lines  - ' 'He's there, I can smell the arrogance'.  Naturally they catch up with him, and the executioner does his job. Pembroke's mistress is 'tortured' so that Pembroke will break and say he surrendered Piers willingly.  But not before Milus makes Piers pay for humiliating him on his visit to castle Ventris.  You can find out all about the episode here  here.

I don't expect these type of dramas to be historically correct.  So Piers having 2 half twin sisters doesn't bother me really.   However, the series is far too nonsensical in it's story lines, with a fantasy theme running through it,  and far too gruesome for me.   Thank goodness Piers only had his head cut off, compared to how some of the others suffered.  Piers has THE best line - 'I do not regret loving someone above my status.  Even if this is the fate'.  If only he had said that!