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Gunpowder, Treason And Plot [DVD] [2004]

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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Carlyle, Clémence Poésy, Catherine McCormack, Paul Nicholls, Emilia Fox
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Contender
  • DVD Release Date: 19 April 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001XLVH2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,153 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


BAFTA award-winner Jimmy McGovern writes about the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots and her son James I in this BBC historical drama directed by Gillies MacKinnon. Robert Carlyle stars as James I, who battles with the Catholic conspiracy against him and eventually foils a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The Gunpowder Plot was masterminded by the influential Catholic Robert Catesby (Richard Coyle) and planned by Guy Fawkes (Michael Fassbender), who wanted to rid the nation of an oppressive Protestant monarch. Clémence Poésy plays Mary, Queen of Scots, who spends most of her short reign locked in a battle with both her Protestant subjects and the English Queen, Elizabeth I (Catherine McCormack), before conspiring with the Earl of Bothwell (Kevin McKidd) to assassinate her miscreant husband Lord Darnley (Paul Nicholls).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Jones on 21 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
Despite the rampant insincerity to historical accuracy this is enjoyable, well acted and well written. Clemence Poesy as Mary Queen of Scots is particularly good, and it is her story, making up the first half of dvd, that is the best. She makes a very arresting leading lady. Robert Carlyle as James I is convincingly nauseous. He really is believeable as the creepy, unpleasant king. Kevin McKidd is the other notable standout as the Earl of Bothwell; rough lust at its most believeable.
If you can overlook the annoying historical inaccuracy and appreciate this as well acted, well written drama then much fun will be had from this dvd.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Iceni Peasant on 10 Jun 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This production provides viewers with a chance to see historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots and James I, whom are not featured in many, if any previous films.
The history has been tweaked here and there, as history mostly is when it's adapted on film, but the fundamental story and attitudes of the various characters and plots are easy to follow and make very intriguing viewing.
The cast for the most part are excellent, especially Robert Carlyle as King James I; the one slightly dodgy acting work coming from the actress playing Mary Queen Of Scots, and it's perhaps her performance that leaves the viewer feeling as though it *could* have been better. The sets and costumes are fantastic and up to the BBC's usual high standards.
The DVD is very basic, allowing you to view chapters or which episode you want to see, but not offering any extras.
Overall it's a very watchable and interesting mini-series and I'd recommend it to fans of BBC costume dramas or historical pieces as long as you aren't too picky about the facts!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Nov 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot is definitely a mini-series of two halves. The first, presumably based on Jimmy McGovern's unfilmed screenplay Mary Stuart (at one time a big-screen vehicle for Meryl Streep and Glenn Close with Sean Connery producing), is a fairly balanced look at Mary Queen of Scots' troubled reign and the reasons for its failure that's often genuinely impressive, powerfully directed and certainly compelling. While it shows her rather more in command of events than history recalls - here she makes many of her own catastrophic mistakes rather than having them made for her by the shady characters who surrounded her - it does deal convincingly with the problems of a Catholic queen ruling a Protestant country where half her advisors are blinded by their hatred of the English while the other half are in their pay and few have her or Scotland's interests at heart. Unlike previous versions of the tale it acknowledges that a big part of her problem in winning over her subjects was the fact that, having spent most of her life abroad, Mary was more French than Scot and is appropriately played, and rather well, by a French actress, Cleménce Poésy. She's given strong support by an excellent Kevin McKidd's convincingly loyal and infatuated but brash and disastrously tactless Bothwell, Paul Nichols as her politically expedient but tragically feckless husband Darnley, who loses all interest and charm no sooner has she signed the marriage contract, and Gary Lewis as John Knox, the Ian Paisley of his day.Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Deighan on 5 Aug 2007
Format: DVD
This two part film for television gives an overview of the dramatic lives of two Monarch's Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI of Scotland. The first part follows Mary's troubled life in trying to govern a very divided Scotland. Acting is impressive and mostly convincing. This fades a bit in the second part where the characterisation of the people involved in the gunpowder plot are hard to believe. I knew quite a bit more about the lives of the plotters before seeing this than I did about the characters surrounding Mary Queen of Scots so perhaps this is why I found the story much less enjoyable. Some of the historic facts are just so wrong as to overshadow the storyline, for example the outcome of Francis Tresham's life was quite different to that given in the film. There is also an inconsistency in the portrayal of just about all the main figures, who are correctly portrayed as willing to die for their faith but they then take their faith so lightly in relation to murder and marital fidelity. The scope of the film is massively ambitious and therefore it is difficult to give any depth to this remarkable period in time. But the series is worth watching and might encourage viewers to follow it up with a read of Antonia Fraser's excellent biographies of the same period.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. Dench on 3 Jun 2004
Format: DVD
I loved this. Although, to be fair, I loved the first part more than the second. I'm more interested in Mary than in James, and I was also a little irritated by the way the characters talked to the camera in the second part.
Clemence Poesy was flawless as Mary, although she clearly wasn't 6 feet tall - as Mary was! It was a nice touch having an actress with a French accent, as Mary spoke French and had lived there from a very early age. Undoubtedly she would have spoken Scots with a Scottish accent, but this was a nice reminder of how she had grown distant from her homeland. Undoubtedly the whole saga was riddled with historical innacuracies, but I can forgive those since it was all performed with such passion and produced to a very high standard.
For me Mary came to life. We could see just what a remarkable woman she was to have been able to hold her country together for as long as she did, as a Catholic woman in a Protestant man's world. Not only was she up against the likes of John Knox, but also she faced the endless scheming of her half-brother Moray. If it's any comfort he came to a very brutal end at the hands of the Gordons!
Robert Carlyle was very good, as ever, as James VI, but I wonder if he was really like that? Never mind, it was gripping and enjoyable, but lacked the passion and immediacy of part one I felt.
Well done to the BBC, just a shame that the DVD didn't have anything at all on it other than the programme. Oh well, at least it was cheaper!
Highly recommended - if you think not, just remember 'Mary of Scotland' with Katherine Hepburn and her sad Scots accent!
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