Gunpowder is a new three part drama looking at the machinations of the 1605 Gunpowder plot. It’s being made by Kudos for broadcast on BBC One.
Writer is Top Boy’s Ronan Bennett and although Guy Fawkes has become something of the fall guy for the conspiracy it was actually Robery Catesby who was the leader of the plot. Harington will play the 30 year old Catesby and the cast also includes Mark Gatiss, Liv Tyler and Peter Mullan.
Catesby is a committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecutes Catholics relentlessly. The authorities directed by King James’s spymaster in Chief Robert Cecil (Gatiss), hunt down, torture and execute priests while lay Catholics are subject to oppression and the loss of their property. They must practice their religion in secret, risking imprisonment, fines, harassment and even death.
Catesby’s refusal to abandon his religion has brought him to the edge of financial, social and psychological ruin. His wife and father have both recently died, leaving him to bring up a young son in an increasingly hostile world. Unable to stand by while his coreligionists suffer, and despite the peaceful protestations of head Jesuit Father Garnet (Mullan), doing nothing is not an option for a man like Catesby. He starts to recruit friends and relatives, swearing them to secrecy as he devises an audacious plan. His astute and capable cousin Anne Vaux (Tyler) becomes suspicious about his activities and fears the consequences will be the exact opposite of what Catesby intends.
This fast-paced 17th century thriller delves into the history behind the plot evolution, the selection of the team to carry it out, the gathering of the resources, and the obstacles they came up against. At the same time a deadly cat and mouse game is played out with Cecil’s ruthless spy network.
Piers Wenger, BBC Controller Drama Commissioning, says; “Ronan Bennett’s powerful scripts tells the visceral and resonant story behind the Gunpowder Plot and I couldn’t be more delighted that J Blakeson is on board to direct and that Kit Harington, Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler will star. Gunpowder will be unmissable event television.”
Gunpowder has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller Drama Commissioning, for BBC One. The 3×60’ series will be written by Ronan Bennett, directed by J Blakeson and produced by Kudos (Apple Tree Yard, Broadchurch, Grantchester and Humans) in association with Thriker Films.
Executive Producers are Ollie Madden for Kudos and Stephen Wright for the BBC. Kit Harington and Daniel West are Co-Executive Producers for Thriker Films. Laurie Borg is producing.
Filming will start this month. The series will be distributed by Endemol Shine International. Kudos is part of the Endemol Shine Group.