"Arthur is Dead" – at least, the main part of it – was the first episode to be filmed, in late June and early July 1972. However, the horse-racing scenes at the beginning and end of the episode were clearly filmed in autumn, judging by the colour of the leaves on the trees.

The version of Arthur’s village seen in this episode had recently been built at Woodchester National Park, near Stroud, in Gloucestershire.

According to Sophie Neville, whose family owned some of the other filming locations, the ‘swamp’ where the Saxons were drowned was at the family farm in the village of Compton Dando.

Cerdig’s camp is thought to have been in the Mendips.

Of the filming, Director, Peter Sasdy says:

I was engaged to direct the opening episode of the series, with the understanding that, waiting for me there, was Arthur’s ‘village set’ already built. However, on arriving in Bristol and being taken to see this village set, all I’ve seen in the middle of the forest were a great number of trees with big chalk marks and numbers on them. "That’s where the village WILL BE BUILT!" I was informed. Not a good start...

After some panic, and bringing in outside crews – as always in the film industry, under pressure, working day and night for 7 days a week – more or less everything was ready to start the production on schedule.

I know I had very little time during pre-production, but I was happy with the casting of the main characters, and with the costumes ...

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Arthur of the Britons

August 2015

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