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Arthur of the Britons (ITV 1972, Oliver Tobias, Michael Gothard)

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Period action adventure series. A muddy realistic version of the King Arthur legend in which the Warlord does battle against marauding Saxons in the sixth century.

This was an attempt to put the King Arthur legend into a realistic setting, Arthur, played by Oliver Tobias in a star making performance, is here living in a dark, muddy and murderous 6th Century Britain. If there really was a King Arthur this is probably more true to how he would have lived than any other production.

The series also provided Brian Blessed for another of his brilliantly full blooded performances as Mark of Cornwall.

production details
UK | ITV – HTV | 24×30 minutes | Broadcast 6 December 1972 – 28 November 1973

Executive Producer: Patrick Dromgoole / Producer: Peter Miller

cast
Oliver Tobias as Arthur
Michael Gothard as Kai
Jack Watson as Llud
Brian Blessed as Mark of Cornwall
Gila von Weitershausen as Rowena
Georg Marischka as Yorath

THE EPISODES

1. ARTHUR IS DEAD
Arthur fakes his own death to try and bring together the various Celtic chiefs, the better to fight the Saxons.

guest cast
DONALD BURTON as Dirk

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Peter Sasdy

 

2. THE GIFT OF LIFE
Following an attack on his village Arthur discovers a pair of abandoned Saxon children.

guest cast
STEPHEN CHASE as Horgen / DENNIS BANDA as Ulrich / HEATHER WRIGHT as Hildred

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

3. THE CHALLENGE
Arthur has his hands full thanks to the activities of cousins Garet and Gawain.

guest cast
NICKY HENSON as Garet / KEN HUTCHINSON as Gawain / TERRY YORK as Saxon Leader

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

4. THE PENITENT INVADER
Arthur thinks a spot of Christianity may be able to help in dealing with invading Picts.

guest cast
CLIVE REVILL as Rolf / MICHAEL GRAHAM FOX as Hereward / HEDLEY GOODALL as The Abbott

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Patrick Dromgoole

 

5. PEOPLE OF THE PLOUGH
Arthur has food for thought when Kai falls for a Saxon girl.

guest cast
VALERIE OST as Freya / MIKE PRATT as Mordant / MARK EDWARDS as Rulf

WRITER: Bob Blake, Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayer

 

6. THE DUEL
Whilst rushing to the aid of a Saxon village one of Marks men is killed – convinced Llud is to blame Marc insists they take part in a trial by combat.

guest cast
MAX FAULKNER as Luke / TERRY YORK as Mahon

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

7. THE PUPIL
Young Corin attacks Arthur in order to prove that he is worthy to be a warrior.

guest cast
PETER FIRTH as Corin / TRISHA MORTIMER as Llud’s Wife / GERRY WAIN as Mordor

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

8. ROLF THE PREACHER
Rolf, now a Christian, returns to Arthur’s lands and threatens to end up putting Arthur’s life on the line.

guest cast
CLIVE REVILL as Rolf / MEL DAVIES as Maaren

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

9. ENEMIES AND LOVERS
The sly Morcant has Arthur and Kai captured making out that they are Saxon spies when he fears the two men may be after the hand of the King Athels daughter Goda (whom Morcant himself has designs on).

guest cast
MARK EDEN as Morcant / ESMOND KNIGHT as Athel / HILARY DWYER as Goda

WRITER: Scott Forbes
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

10. THE SLAVE
Arthur mounts a campaign to free a group of enslaved villagers.

guest cast
ANTHONY BAILEY as Rodolph / DAVID PROWSE as Col / DEBORAH WATLING as Thana

WRITER: Robert Banks Stewart
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

11. THE WOOD PEOPLE
The Saxons kidnap two gypsy children threatening to kill them unless Arthur gives himself up to them.

guest cast
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Saxon Leader / DAPHNE HEARD as Elder / CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS as Yan

WRITER: David Osborne
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

12. THE PRIZE
Arthur teams up with Mark to try and steal a cache of Saxon treasure.

guest cast
TIM CONDREN as Hoxel / RICHARD DUERDEN as Galt

WRITER: Robert Banks Stewart
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

13. THE SWORDSMAN
Mordred tricks Arthur into fighting Karn, a deadly swordsman.

guest cast
MARTIN JARVIS as Karn the Swordsman / ELSA SMITH as Elsa / ALFIE BASS as Trader

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

14. ROWENA
As payment for some horses, Arthur and Kai agree to take Yorath’s daughter Rowena to her bridegroom.

guest cast
GEORGE MARISHKA as Yorath / SIDNEY JOHNSON as Fenred / GILA VON WEITERHAUSEN as Rowena

WRITER: Robert Banks Stewart
DIRECTOR: Patrick Dromgoole

 

15. THE PRISONER
An old Saxon childhood friend of Kai’s called Roland turns up and provides a stern test of his loyalty towards Arthur.

guest cast
MICHAEL GAMBON as Roland / SALLY JAMES as Leini

WRITER: Robert Banks Stewart
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

16. SOME SAXON WOMEN
Yorath bargains with a trader to swap a barrel of wine for five Saxon women.

guest cast
GEORGE MARISHKA as Yorath / GILA VON WEITERHAUSEN as Rowena / FERDY MAYNE as Trader

WRITER: David Osborne
DIRECTOR: Patrick Dromgoole

 

17. GO WARILY
Llud is plagues by a nightmare about a giant warrior and Arthur has problems with a pair of twins – one good the other evil.

guest cast
TOM BAKER as Brandreth and Gavron / COLIN RIX as Kellas / DAVID PROWSE as Brosk

WRITER: Jonathan Crown
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

18. THE MARRIAGE FEAST
Rowena is planning to marry Mark of Cornwall, Arthur who loves Rowena must come up with a plan to prevent the wedding taking place.

guest cast
GEORGE MARISHKA as Yorath / GILA VON WEITERHAUSEN as Rowena

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

19. IN COMMON CAUSE
Arthur contemplates joining forces with the Saxons when a plague threatens to wipe out hordes of livestock.

guest cast
KENNETH IVES as Ulm / PETER STEPHENS as Amlodd

WRITER: Michael J. Bird
DIRECTOR: Patrick Dromgoole

 

20. SIX MEASURES OF SILVER
A rascally Saxon, Kurk, sells Rowena a collection of stolen cattle, Arthur decides to teach him a lesson.

guest cast
MICHAEL CRAIG as Kurk / PETER COPLEY as Berthold / DAVID BRIERLEY as Hurn

WRITER: Robert Banks Stewart
DIRECTOR: Pat Jackson

 

21. DAUGHTER OF THE KING
Arthur kidnaps the daughter of the evil King Bavick in order to try and persuade him to stop his murderous ways.

guest cast
IAIN CUTHBERTSON as Bavick / TONY STEEDMAN as Tugram / MADELINE HINDE as Eithna

WRITERS: David Pursall, Jack Seddon
DIRECTOR: Peter Sasdy

 

22. THE GAMES
Its time for the annual Inter-tribal games but Arthur learns that certain factions are planning to disrupt proceedings.

guest cast
CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL as Barth / DREW HENLEY as Herrick / ROLLO GAMBLE as Erwith

WRITER: David Osborne
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

 

23. THE TREATY
Can a peace treaty with Cerdig really be as good as it seems to be – Arthur is not so sure.

guest cast
RAY WITCH as Voden / GEORGE MARISHKA as Yorath

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Patrick Dromgoole

 

24. THE GIRL FROM ROME
Arthur has trouble on his hands when a Roman Princess seeks Sanctuary with him.

guest cast
CATHERINE SCHELL as Princess / NOEL TREVARTHEN as Nestor

WRITER: Terence Feely
DIRECTOR: Sidney Hayers

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