So, Camelot. What’s it all about?
The clue’s in the title, dummy.
Not another National Lottery game! I can’t afford Lotto and Thunderball as it is.
No… It’s the latest take on Arthurian legend.
Oh, like Merlin?
Apart from the fact that it has another young Aryan ruling a land of brown-hairs, not really. It has swords, it has sorcery, it has sumptuous scenery – but it’s not all sibilant alliteration. It also has brutal slayings, brutal sex and women saying the C-word.
Ooh. Not for kids, then?
Not really – although there are a few Hollyoaks moments when soppy pair Arthur and Guinevere get together.
So what’s the plot?
Uther Pendragon is King of the Britons. For about five minutes. His estranged daughter, Morgan, poisons him, you see, and tries to take control of the kingdom. Meanwhile, the sorcerer Merlin seeks out Uther’s illegitimate son, Arthur, and organises a campaign to install him on the throne and unite the country. Cue much bloodshed.
Blimey. So does Arthur do the whole sword-from-the-stone bit?
There’s a nice take on that, actually. The stone in question is at the top of a waterfall and Arthur has to climb up to it. I won’t spoil the excitement by telling you whether he manages to get the sword.
Thanks. So who plays the amazing Arthur? Someone like Russell Crowe, I expect?
Jamie Campbell Bower. You may know him from such supernatural teen movies as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight: Breaking Dawn. Think Keira Knightley, circa Bend It like Beckham.
Sounds a bit lightweight.
Possibly, although he grows into the role as the feature-length opener unfolds. And there are plenty of heavyweight actors in there, too.
Oh yeah? Like who?
Eva Green – all kohl eyes, sex and ruthlessness. She was born to play Arthur’s witchy, power-hungry half-sister Morgan.
James Purefoy (recently seen in ITV conspiracy thriller Injustice) is Morgan’s short-lived ally, the brutal King Lot, and Sean Pertwee is Arthur’s adoptive father. Although he might not last too long either. Did I mention there are a lot of slayings?
Joseph Fiennes is Merlin the sorcerer – but don’t expect long white beards or flowing robes. He’s a shaven-headed strategist who tells people to “p*** off” (Gandalf would be turning in his grave) and, so far, he’s only used his “magic powers” subtly.
Anyone else I should know about?
Tamsin Egerton – you know, out of the St Trinian’s films – is Guinevere. She’s currently betrothed to Arthur’s new right-hand man, Leontes (Philip Winchester), but it looks like Arthur is a bit of a ladies’ man and, y’know, he’s the king. It’s good to be the king.
I quite fancy this!
You know what? It might be a bit cheesy at times but, by the end of the first double bill, I was wanting more. Morgan is definitely the most intriguing character at this stage (and, no, I don’t mean because she gets her kit off a lot). She’s been doing a lot of communing with something unseen and unknown in the woods and I want to find out what it is! I also want to see Merlin do some proper magic. And surely the two of them are gonna go head to head at some point? Bring it on!
Sign me up! When and where?
Camelot starts Saturday 11 June at 9:00pm on Channel 4.