I first saw this series when it was first shown on Channel 4 and was overwhelmed by the production design. Although the story is a variation on "Forever Amber" and showcases plenty of bodice-ripping interludes, it is overshadowed by the quite magnificent scenery, restricted colour palettes and costume design, possibly the most authentically impressive of any I have seen in a television drama. The set pieces of Charles I's court, trial and execution are astounding and Peter Capaldi must have really immersed himself in research to have achieved the perfect mirror image of the monarch himself, somehow juxtaposing the regal arrogance of God's annointed with the trembling humanity of the condemned man and achieving what Bernini is said to have remarked upon receiving Van Dyke's portrait; "He hath the most unfortunate face I have ever looked upon".
There are weaknesses, of course. Historical facts have been twisted to accomodate the plotline and there is little evidence of Oliver Cromwell being the devout family man of his private life, as his own family are never seen. There is a confusion in direction, with Sexby changing sides in almost every episode but then this is essentially a story of love in war.
Story aside, this is an extrordinary visual event; put away the text books and enjoy the view. Fantastic.