Back to school for King Arthur’s knights

Stars of stage and screen have been going back to school in Stroud over the past few weeks, to polish up their riding skills.

They have been going to a riding school in Beeches Green to become accomplished horsemen for a TV film about the legendary King Arthur.


Among well-known actors involved are Jack Watson, who lives in Biddestone, near Chippenham; Rupert (Maigret) Davies and Oliver Tobias1, who takes the name role in the commercial TV film.

Also very much involved is Mr. Bernard Ford2, who owns the carriage museum and stables.

He has been recruited as horse master in charge of 22 horses required for various battle scenes.

His niece, 21-year-old Maria Tolwinska, has also been riding, and acting as serving wench during filming in the West Country.


Mr Ford’s sister, Mrs. Dorothy Tolwinska, told me the horses are changed most evenings.

“If they get supposedly hurt in a battle scene, or wet in the water, the television people have to use new ones in the next scene or they would be recognised,” she said.3

Work in the 24 episodes continues until December.

1 This is probably inaccurate. As the Saxon leader, Cerdig, Rupert Davies is never seen on horseback in the series, and Oliver Tobias was already an accomplished horseman, as seen in the film, “Romance of a Horsethief.”

2 This probably refers to Ben Ford.

3 In fact, this happened on just one occasion: in “Rowena”, when horses ridden by Arthur and Kai have supposedly been stolen in an ambush, Arthur is seen riding a dark horse for the only time in the series, as well as a white horse who is never seen again in the series. There are other occasions, such as in, “The Gift of Life”, when Kai is seen riding two different horses, when he should have been on the same one throughout the episode.

Further details on the Equine stars of "Arthur of the Britons" can be found here.

A Celt watchman sees an injured Saxon stagger from hiding, and run across an open space, back to cover. The watchman blows a horn to summon help.

The Saxon, Roland, leans against a fallen tree, gets his breath back, looks at his injured hand, then laboriously moves on.

Kai arrives; the watchman points him in the direction the Saxon took. While Roland struggles on, Kai dismounts at the edge of the wood, and follows him; finding Roland’s blood on the fallen tree, he continues his pursuit.

Roland comes out into the open, with Kai not far behind. He throws his axe at Kai, and misses. Kai chases him, brings him down, and is about to despatch him when he stops, and examines a medallion Roland wears around his neck.

Mark of Cornwall and three of his men gallop past the watchman, and into Arthur’s village. Mark tells Arthur and Llud they are in pursuit of a Saxon: the last survivor of a group that attacked them. This particular Saxon killed Mark’s best battle leader, and Mark wants revenge.

Meanwhile, by the river, Kai tends Roland’s injuries. Roland was a childhood friend of Kai’s, whom he recognised by the medallion, which he gave him. He asks Roland what he remembers about the past they shared.

Back in the longhouse, Arthur and Llud entertain Mark and his men, one of whom, Pethik, accidentally let Roland escape after he had been taken prisoner.

While Kai takes Roland to a hiding place nearby, the Celt watchman goes to look for Kai. Kai and Roland hide in the bushes until he has gone past.

Mark elaborates on his plan for Roland: execution by stoning.

Kai and Roland reach the hiding place. Kai leaves him there, then encounters the watchman, and tells him that the Saxon is dead.

Mark of Cornwall, furious that Kai has cheated him of his prey, wants the Saxon’s head on a spear. Kai tells him he can’t have it, because he threw the body in the estuary. Then Kai gets up and leaves.

While Arthur tries to pacify Mark, Llud follows Kai, and interrogates him in more detail about the Saxon. When Kai can’t answer all his questions, Llud asks him what’s wrong, but Kai walks away.

That night, while Mark and his men feast with Arthur’s people in the longhouse, Kai sneaks Roland back into the village. Pethik and the Celt watchman tumble out of the longhouse and see them, but Kai and Roland manage to fool them into thinking that they are just two drunks, staggering home. Kai takes Roland to Lenni the healer’s hut. Lenni starts taking a look at Roland’s injuries.

The next morning, Pethik spots Roland’s medallion lying in the grass outside Lenni’s hut. He shows it to Mark, Arthur and Llud, then throws Lenni to the ground at their feet, telling them he found her tending the Saxon’s wound.

They approach Lenni’s hut. Kai comes out and refuses to surrender Roland, whom he claims as his prisoner. Mark demands the Arthur does something about it, and threatens to spread the word around Arthur’s allies that Arthur harbours Saxons.

Kai says he didn’t kill the Saxon because he thought they could get valuable information out of him when he was fit to talk. But when he sees he is putting Arthur in an impossible position, he backs down.

Mark’s men bring Roland out, with his hands bound, and put him on a horse. Then, while Mark is making snide comments, Kai takes a running jump onto the horse, behind Roland, and the two of them escape.

Mark and his three men give chase. Arthur and Llud make straight for Kai’s hiding place by the river, but Mark, who hid nearby to see where they would go, follows them.

Kai tells Arthur and Llud that he’s going to return the Saxon to his people; he explains that Roland was like a brother to him, when he was a child. Arthur and Llud leave.

Then Mark arrives. He and Kai fight. Kai seems to be getting the worst of it. Roland emerges from the hiding place. Kai swings his axe, misses Mark and embeds his blade in a tree trunk. Mark continues his attack. Roland hobbles towards Kai’s axe, frees it, and comes to assist him; Mark runs Roland through, and Roland falls, dead.

Kai has built a funeral pyre for Roland. As he watches it burn, we see Kai’s memory of his childhood: young Kai and Roland, play-fighting with axes, on a wooden bridge. One of the railings breaks, and young Kai falls into the water; he obviously can’t swim. Young Roland jumps in, and helps young Kai to the bank, and out of the water. Young Kai puts the medallion around young Roland’s neck, and they shake hands.


Seasonal cues – thistles, willowherb and grasses all seeding, and ivy in bud – put the episode in early September, probably just after “Go Warily.”

Lenni’s appearance – her second, and last in the series – also makes it seem likely that the two episodes were filmed one after the other. It would probably have looked odd to show them one after the other, because the plots of both episodes involved a medallion!

As this is the first time we have seen Mark of Cornwall since “Arthur is Dead”, so Llud announces him on his arrival in the village, as if to remind the audience of who he is.

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers
In Common Cause
The Penitent Invader
The Slaves
People of the Plough
Go Warily
The Prisoner


At the beginning of the episode, the distant views of the village at Woollard are from the north-west. Mark and his men approach along the track from the south west, and Arthur comes out to greet them through the door at the south east end of the longhouse.

vlcsnap-2015-04-04-19h11m57s4 He's my prisoner (29)

A sturdy bridge has been built over the ditch that runs along the south west side of the longhouse. Lenni’s hut is across the bridge. A palisade has been erected, starting at the corner of the longhouse (behind Lenni, in blue), which splits the north east part of the village from the south west. This is probably to allow the village to be adapted for use by two groups of people at once, in future episodes.

Roland’s funeral pyre is on the hillside to the south of the village.

Cast notes

Roland is played by one of the finest actors of his generation, Michael Gambon, in a very bad wig.

Catching Roland (12) Interrogating Kai (13)

Brian Blessed returns to the series, as Mark of Cornwall.

Inside Information

Brian Blessed said that since filming this episode, he has joked with Michael Gambon that if he’d known how famous he was going to be, he would have run him through for real! More of Brian’s memories can be found here.

It is I, Mark of Cornwall!

Mark blusters back into the series, and into Arthur’s village, demanding food and fresh horses to chase a fleeing Saxon, determined to catch him, then kill someone who is essentially a prisoner of war, by public stoning, or at least have his head on a spear.

No one likes a gloater, and Mark is definitely one of those, telling his men to make Roland “comfortable” on the horse, to ensure that he survives to die a horrifying death.

Then he twists the knife – and tries to drive a wedge between Kai and Arthur – by suggesting that Kai could have slain the Saxon, "as a loyal gesture” for Arthur’s benefit. This seems all the more brutal, knowing – as the viewer does, but Mark does not – that Roland is not just any Saxon, but a childhood friend of Kai’s.

Brian Blessed’s subtle performance makes Mark a bit more than just a bully. He sees the funny side when Arthur catches him out, and he does eventually show some empathy. When Roland sacrifices his life for Kai, Mark looks perplexed, and perhaps a bit ashamed: but it is too little, too late.

The fight (89) The fight (112)

Dark Age Men

When Mark arrives at Arthur’s village, he indulges in the usual posturing: “While you sit and laze, like old men, I fight”, with the usual wry response from Arthur: “And get the worst of it, by the looks of you.”

Llud isn’t above baiting Mark: “Four mounted men couldn’t catch one lone Saxon on foot”, and Arthur also piles on the ridicule: “The Saxon escaped … After you’d taken him prisoner?”

All this puts a lot of pressure on Mark’s underling, Pethik, who Mark says “has a dent in that thick skull” as punishment for letting the Saxon go. So perhaps it’s no wonder Pethik treats Lenni in such an unchivalrous manner, throwing her to the ground when he finds her tending the man whose escape got him into trouble with his leader.

When Kai stands up to Mark, the inevitable result is more bluster, with Mark demanding to know, “What’s happened to the mighty Arthur? Isn’t he leader here any more?”

Arthur’s wisdom

Arthur “handles” Mark of Cornwall remarkably well: defusing the situation when Mark is cheated of his prey, by getting Kai to describe the Saxon’s death, and backing Kai up as much as he can: “Kai did right. How could he have known how much this particular Saxon meant to you? How could he?”

By concealing a prisoner, both from Mark and from Arthur himself, Kai puts Arthur in an unenviable position, and despite this, Arthur refuses to let Mark push him into acting hastily, but waits until Kai provides an – albeit spurious – explanation for his behaviour.

Even when Mark threatens him, for the second time, with the loss of all his treaties with Mark’s kinsmen, he waits, giving Kai the chance to voluntarily surrender Roland. Much as he can’t afford to put his alliances at risk, neither does he want to lose his lieutenant, who also happens to be his friend and brother.

Family Ties

Even when Kai rides off with Roland, there is no question in either Arthur or Llud’s mind, where their loyalties lie. Llud says they should follow, because “if Mark catches them, he’ll kill Kai”, and Arthur is in complete agreement.

One of the most poignant exchanges occurs outside the hiding place, when Llud says, “We thought we’d lost you”, and Arthur replies, “Perhaps we have.”

This is Arthur’s nightmare made flesh, harking back to his anxious words to Kai – “Don’t get too involved with your Saxon brothers” – before sending him to Ulrich’s camp with Krist and Elka in “The Gift of Life.”

And when Kai explains, “We were small boys together, in the Saxon village that was once my home. He was not just a friend. He was as a brother to me”, neither Arthur nor Llud try to dissuade him from his course of action. They both realise that such loyalties cannot be questioned, so they leave him, to do what they know he must. But if Arthur’s jealous reaction to Goda in “Enemies and Lovers” is anything to go by, Kai’s description of Roland - “as a brother to me” - probably hurt Arthur a great deal.

The hot-headed side-kick – a man divided

Roland immediately recognises Kai: “Saxon who kills Saxons. You’re Kai, who rides with Arthur.” But Kai doesn’t kill him because around Roland's neck, he sees a medallion which he recognises. He remembers giving the medallion to Roland, though we don’t yet find out why, and learns from Roland that his name – before Llud took him in – was Brett.

What with the trauma of losing his parents, and having to adapt to life as a Celt, it’s not surprising he doesn’t remember much. But when Roland reminds him that they lived on the coast, where a river flowed into the sea, near some cliffs, Kai’s memory starts to return: “We had a little boat on that river. And there was a rope to swing across.”

Roland tells him that their parents ended up in different villages, though it isn’t clear whether this was before or after Kai was found abandoned, by Llud.

When Kai stands up to Mark, his position is a little better than Arthur’s, in that he knows why he is putting Arthur’s alliances at risk. In the end, he pretends to back down, and has to watch his friend being manhandled onto a horse, ready to be taken for execution. But he can’t allow that to happen, so he helps Roland escape.

Arthur and Llud catch up with him, but seem to accept Kai's rather tenuous argument: “Your reputation as a leader is no longer at stake. The treaties are safe. We’re not in Arthur’s village, so Arthur is no longer responsible.”

What Arthur can’t understand is why Kai can apparently “no longer kill one of his Saxon friends.” He is just being sarcastic; he doesn't know that Roland is, in fact, one of Kai’s friends, but Kai – clearly very upset by the trouble he has caused Arthur, but resolved to protect Roland – is forced to tell him. For some reason, he doesn’t mention the very important fact, only revealed in the flashback to his youth at the end of the episode – that Roland saved his life.

Celts and Saxons

Like Rulf in “People of the Plough”, Roland is a Saxon who can ride a horse.

Yet again, we see that the Celts aren’t the only ones with a grievance; Roland's mother and father were killed during an attack by the Celts. So we can’t blame him for being surprised that a Celt healer will be willing to take care of a Saxon’s wounds. Obviously Kai’s reputation for killing Saxons is much more widely known than his popularity with the ladies!

But Arthur can’t afford for his allies to be told that he “harbours Saxons, and tends their wounds as he would his own kind.” Even Kai’s ingenious excuse for keeping Roland alive – “He belongs to one of Cerdig’s advance armies … When he’s fit enough to talk, we can learn much” – cuts no ice with Mark of Cornwall.

“That is bloody dangerous!”

Kai takes a magnificent flying leap onto the back of Roland’s horse.

Kai and Roland flee (27) Kai and Roland flee (30)

Kai and Roland flee (33) Kai and Roland flee (35)

He also has a fierce fight with Mark of Cornwall.

“Night-night, Kiddies!”

Mark’s suggestion that Roland be stoned is quite horrific.

Dressed to kill?

Kai wears a big, ragged, white fur jacket, the newer of his studded tunics, and the blue lace-up shirt that Arthur was wearing in “In Common Cause.” At the end of the episode, he has swapped his usual boots for a pair of loafers.

Catching Roland (18) Shoes

Arthur wears a new big grey fur cloak, and a new woolly blue shirt, with stud decorations up the arms.

Llud wears a jerkin with studs around the edge, which he appears to have stolen from Morcant, from “Enemies and Lovers.”

Mark arrives (16) Arrival at Athel's (39)

“A man on a horse is worth ten on foot”

When Kai answers the Celt watchman’s call, he is riding Moonlight.

Mark of Cornwall arrives in Arthur’s village riding Pinkie. A nice touch is the “wound” Pinkie sports on his shoulder. Mark’s men are mounted on Blondie, Pythagoras and Outlander.

Mark arrives (17)

To be taken back to Mark’s camp, Roland is loaded onto Blondie, who also puts up with Kai leaping onto him from behind, and carries both of them out of the village.

Mark pursues on Pinkie. The rest of his men follow on Outlander, Pythagoras and Flame.

Llud rides his usual mount, Curly, and Arthur rides Bernie.

When Mark arrives at Kai’s hideout, he is riding Jim. He does the unconventional forward-facing dismount favoured by Arthur, and – presumably because he rides in from the left, he does it on the horse’s right side. As a result, although he is right handed, he has to keep his sword on his right side, which makes it quite awkward to draw.

The fight (6) The fight (11)

See this post for further details of the horses of "Arthur of the Britons."

The best laid plans …

Hiding Roland in Arthur’s village is not one of Kai’s best moves.

Mark, on the other hand, shows considerable cunning by lying in wait, and letting Arthur and Llud lead him to Kai’s hideout.

Great moments

Mark, angrily demanding “Whose idea was it to pause in the hunt?” and Arthur’s deadpan reply, “Yours”. This is a rare moment of humour in an episode which, after a bit of a slow start, is full of tension and drama.

The exchange in the longhouse, when Kai has to lie to protect Roland, and Llud’s painful interrogation of Kai.

He's my prisoner (38) Mark demands (84)

Kai, defying Mark: “You’ll have to kill me first.” followed by his sudden change of tack: “Of course, if Mark feels so strongly, he must have the prisoner.”

The look of affront Arthur turns on Mark when he makes a demand.

Kai’s leap onto the back of Roland’s horse.

The sad exchange between Kai, Arthur and Llud outside the hiding place, and Mark’s dramatic arrival.

The subtle reactions of Kai and Mark when Roland falls, dead.

Kai’s dignified farewell to Roland as the pyre, burns.

Young Kai putting the medallion around young Roland’s neck.


Arthur: A life for a life is usually enough.

Mark: Blood protects blood. A Celtic name does not make him a Celt.

Arthur: Nobody demands, from Arthur.

On the table

As usual, everyone is talking while eating apples, and bits of meat!

Extra! Extra!

Stuntman, Terry Yorke puts in an appearance as one of Mark’s men, holding Blondie’s head while Kai jumps on.

Kai and Roland flee (33)

Honourable mention

Roy Herrick gives a convincing performance as Pethik, Mark’s downtrodden underling, desperate to improve his standing. Roy was only 52 when he died, in 1988.

Mark and Pethik (14) To Lenni's hut (18)

He's my prisoner (24) He's my prisoner (18)

Who died, and made you Sherlock Holmes?

The sceptical reactions when Kai says he killed the Saxon seem very odd. After all, it’s not as if he hasn’t killed Saxons before! He’s well known for doing so. Yet Arthur asks, “Where did you fight?” and Mark demands to know where, and why, Kai disposed of the body.

Then Llud goes at it like a dog with a bone: “The estuary’s a long way from the forest. The sentry could have helped you dig a grave.” Kai’s logical answer: “And leave his post?” doesn’t give him any respite from interrogation. Llud wants to know the exact place he dumped the body, and when Kai tells him, “At the deepest point opposite the flat rock”, Llud casts doubt in Kai’s ability to “hurl a weighted body so far”, and suggests that he waded in. Kai jumps on this solution, “Yes … I waded in”, but even this isn’t good enough for sharp-eyed Llud, who observes, “Your boots are bone dry”, and thinks Kai’s axe is too clean.

Kai could have said, “I took my boots off” and “unlike Arthur, I always clean my weapon after a fight”! But by this point, fed up with having to defend himself, and he just gives up.

And next morning, in the harsh light of day, Pethik – who saw two blond fellows staggering about a Celt village last night, but couldn’t work out why that bothered him – also has the eyes of a hawk, spotting Roland’s medallion lying on the ground from some distance away, and telling Mark “This belongs to the Saxon that we’re looking for … When we had him captive, I saw this round his neck.”

Then Mark of Cornwall stakes out Arthur's village, and tails Llud and Arthur to Kai’s hide-out.

All of which makes one wonder when this became a detective series!

What’s going on here?

When Kai and Roland first confront each other, Roland throws his axe at Kai. Why on earth would you risk losing your only weapon – unless it was a spear – by throwing it?

Mark arrives with bloody wounds on his arm, just like the ones he sustained in “Arthur is Dead”! Is this his only vulnerable spot? Or did the make-up department want to draw attention to Brian Blessed’s extremely muscular arms?

Mark arrives (22) Fighting Cerdig (25)

Llud mocks Mark of Cornwall: “Four mounted men couldn’t catch one lone Saxon on foot.” But why is Llud so determined to wind Mark up?

Mark claims that his “best battle leader, Agdor” was killed by Roland. He can’t have been a very impressive battle leader, if Roland managed to kill him.

That's King Athel sitting in the chair with the grey fur hanging over the back. He's chosen an inconvenient time to pay Arthur a visit!

King Athel

When Pethik and the Celt Watchman see two blond men staggering home, they must be very drunk, not to realise something is amiss. Even if the hair doesn't puzzle them, where do they think have the two have been drinking? Is there a pub at the other end of the village?

Why didn’t Kai stop Pethik dragging Lenni out of her hut? He was standing in the doorway, after all.

Kai’s excuse for hiding Roland – the information they will get from him – implies the use of threats or torture. Would Arthur really stoop to such methods?

Kai’s assertion - “Your reputation as a leader is no longer at stake. The treaties are safe. We’re not in Arthur’s village, so Arthur is no longer responsible” - seems a bit of a stretch.

When Kai fights Mark, his axe is often turned the wrong way.

The fight (18) The fight (19)

He appears to be trying not to injure Mark ...

The fight (25) The fight (23)

On the other hand, this tree has taken a bit of punishment from Kai’s axe!

The fight (60) The fight (59)

Mark seems to have stopped in the middle of the fight, to change his tunic.

The fight (110) The fight (89)

A particular annoyance in this episode is the piece of hair or grass that was moving about in the lens for much of the episode. Apologies to those who hadn’t noticed it before …


Some of the music tracks used in this episode were:

Track 16, Danger Mounts: Kai tracks Roland through the woods.
Track 26, Evil Stirs: Mark of Cornwall wants revenge.
Track 3, Celtic Horns/The Longships: Kai remembers Roland’s medallion.
Track 20, The Fair Rowena: Kai remembers their shared past.
Track 16, Danger Mounts: the Celt watchman looks for Kai.
Track 19, Celtic Dance: the Celts feast.
Track 18, Celtic Girl: Lenni cares for Roland.
Track 14, Chase! – Kai and Roland escape.
Track 7, Hesitation and Achievement: Mark lies in wait.
Track 5, To Battle! – Kai and Mark fight.
Track 20, The Fair Rowena: Kai lights the funeral pyre and remembers Roland.

The whole suite of music, beautifully written and orchestrated for the series by Paul Lewis, is now available on CD.


Arthur …………….... Oliver Tobias
Kai ……………….… Michael Gothard
Llud ………………... Jack Watson
Mark of Cornwall ...... Brian Blessed
Roland ………….….. Michael Gambon
Taber …………….…. Paul Greenhalgh
Pethik ………….….... Roy Herrick
Lenni ……………….. Sally James
Young Kai .................. Timothy Peverall


Director ………….…. Pat Jackson
Writer …………......... Robert Banks-Stewart
Executive Producer … Patrick Dromgoole
Producer ……………. Peter Miller
Associate Producer … John Peverall
Production Manager ... Keith Evans
Post-production …….. Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ……… Peter Brayham
Cameraman ………… Graham Edgar
Camera Operator …… Brian Morgan
Editor ……………….. David Samuel-Camps
Sound recordist …….. Gordon Kethro
Dubbing mixer ……... John Cross
Art Director ………… Doug James
Assistant Director …... Mike Roberts
Production Assistant ... Ann Rees
Costume Design .……. Audrey MacLeod
Make-up …………….. Christine Penwarden
Incidental music …….. Paul Lewis
Theme music ………... Elmer Bernstein
Episode 2.3: The Prisoner

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart


A Celtic warrior is standing watch, within view of Arthur’s village. He sees an escaping Saxon stagger from hiding, fall, and then run across an open space, back to cover.

Celt watchman: [mouths] Hey …

He blows a horn to summon help.

The Saxon, Roland, clearly wounded, leans against a fallen tree, gets his breath back, looks at his injured hand, then tries to move on.

Kai canters up to the Celt watchman.

Kai: What is it?

Celt watchman: Down there. I saw … saw a Saxon run into those trees.

Kai: Only one?

Celt watchman: Yeah.

Kai: I’ll deal with him.

Kai goes down a slope in the direction the Celt watchman indicated.

Roland continues his laboured progress through the trees.

The Celt watchman looks on as Kai dismounts at the edge of the wood. Kai takes his axe from in front of his saddle, and goes in among the trees.

Roland continues his halting progress.

Kai leans against the same fallen tree and finds Roland’s blood on his hand. He continues his pursuit up a wooded slope.

Roland runs down the other side of the hill, and comes out into the open. He reaches a small river, looks back, and sees Kai emerging from the trees.

They meet on open ground. Roland throws his axe at Kai, and misses. Roland runs; Kai follows and brings him down with a trip and a push. He is about to despatch Roland with his axe, but stops, and examines a medallion he has seen around Roland’s neck.



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We hear ominous music. Llud is chased down a hill by a huge masked warrior, carrying a spear, and gets trapped against a tree. The warrior, Brosk, throws his spear, missing Llud by inches. Llud stumbles down a bank into a river, and falls to his hands and knees. Brosk closes in.

In the grip of a nightmare, Llud cries out, waking Arthur, who rushes over and tries to calm him, and eventually resorts to throwing a bucket of water over him. Llud wakes, relieved.

Arthur goes out to fill the bucket from the trough, and calls Lenni, the village healer.

Back in the Longhouse, Llud refuses to discuss his dream. Arthur thinks he’s unwell, and insists that Llud allow Lenni to take care of him.

Llud is concerned to hear that Brandreth is leading an armed contingent their way; he says Brandreth’s tribe are treacherous. But Kai checks out Brandreth’s party, and soon joins them around their campfire. Brandreth wants to meet Arthur, and swear a pact of allegiance.

Back in the Longhouse, while Lenni sits sewing near the door, Llud lies in bed, experiencing his nightmare vision again.

One of Brandreth’s men secretly tells Brandreth’s twin brother, Gavron, about the planned meeting. Gavron means to ambush his twin en route. Brosk, the warrior from Llud’s vision – one of Gavron’s men – wheels a large hand-cart into position.

Outside the Longhouse, Llud looks at his hands in a worried manner.

On Gavron’s signal, Brosk upends the hand-cart, blocking the path of Brandreth and his party. Gavron’s men attack, and take Brandreth prisoner. Gavron prepares to take his place at the meeting with Arthur.

When Llud realises that the rendezvous between Arthur and Brandreth will be at the place he dreamed about, he wants to attend, but Arthur tells him to stay behind, in command of the camp.

As Llud lies on his bed, staring fearfully at the visions in his head, we see a large pendant hanging from a thong around his neck. Lenni wakes Llud, and presents him with a sleeping potion. Llud tells her to send Arthur to him, and puts the sleeping powder into a drink he has poured for Arthur.

The next morning, while Arthur lies in a drug-induced sleep, Llud tells Kai that Arthur agreed to let him take his place at the meeting. Kai knows Llud is lying, but sets out with him anyway. When they arrive at the meeting place, Gavron takes them prisoner, and ties them up. Kai berates Llud for not speaking of his premonition.

Arthur wakes, and realises what has happened. He asks the Minstrel how long ago Kai and Llud left, then sticks his head in the water trough.

Gavron reminds Kai and Llud that, four years ago, Arthur killed his father in battle. He has Llud taken out and staked to the ground, where Brosk thrusts Llud’s good hand into a fire, to force Llud send Arthur a message. Llud eventually agrees to do it. He pretends to try to write, but says his hand is too badly hurt. He suggests that Gavron write the message for him, and send his pendant in lieu of a signature.

Arthur receives the letter, and agrees to attend.

Still tied to a pole, Kai asks his guard for a drink. When the man returns, Kai trips him, breaks his neck, and uses his sword to free himself. But when he makes a run for it, he encounters more of Gavron’s men, and has to surrender.

Arthur approaches the meeting place, and falls into the same pit-trap as Kai and Llud. Gavron’s men surround him, but Arthur’s superior force surrounds and captures them in turn. Arthur then makes Gavron lure the rest of his men out, and Arthur’s men overpower them.

Arthur reveals that he knew something was wrong because the message claimed that Llud could not write because of his injured hand, whereas Llud never learned to write at all. Gavron is taken away at spear-point.

When Brosk breaks away from his Celt captors, Llud chases after him, and they begin to re-enact his nightmare, but this time, Brosk throws a spear into the river bank; Llud manages to pull it out, and kill Brosk with it.

Back in the longhouse, Kai lies in bed, apparently in the grip of a nightmare. Arthur and Llud wake him, and Kai tells them about his horrible dream, where he is carried off by a giant, which turns out to be a woman, whose captivity he has no desire to escape! Kai and Arthur both start laughing, and Llud throws a bucket of water over them both.

Author note

The script for “Go Warily” seems to have been the only work by Jonathen Crown that saw the light of day.


“Go Warily” appears after “People of the Plough” in both the “Konig Arthur” book, and the German DVDs, so that order seem likely to be correct. The grass looks quite dry, as would be expected in late summer, and thistles are flowering near Gavron’s encampment.

vlcsnap-2015-01-27-01h25m36s110 Gavron defeated (3)

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers
In Common Cause
The Penitent Invader
The Slaves
People of the Plough
Go Warily


We don’t see much of Arthur’s village in this episode: just a small area to the south of the longhouse, where Arthur goes to speak to the Minstrel, and another, further to the south west, where Kai and Llud have words near a small hut. The rest of the village was probably being adapted to accommodate both Yorath the Jute’s people, and Hecla’s, in the next episode: “Rowena.”

According to Executive Producer Patrick Dromgoole, Brandreth/Gavron’s camp was in the Blackdown Hills.

Inside information

The daughter of one of Michael's friends recalls: "At the end of 'Go Warily', when Arthur and Kai are winding Llud up, you see Kai laughing at the trick he has played; that was exactly the way he was if he was laughing so hard he couldn't stop.

The more I see of ‘Arthur of the Britons’, the more I see that there is SO much of Michael in Kai."

The rest of the memories she has shared can be found here.

Cast notes

Sally James who plays the mute healer, Lenni, is perhaps better remembered as a presenter of shows such as Pop Quest and the anarchic Tiswas. She now owns and runs a business that supplies school uniforms.

Having recently played Col, the blacksmith in “The Slaves”, Dave Prowse, better known as Darth Vader, plays the huge masked warrior, Brosk. Presumably, the mask was to hide the actor’s identity.

Arthur starts work (10) Dream (5)

Jeremy Taylor, who played the Minstrel, is a folk singer and comedian.

Arthur wakes (11) Jeremy Taylor

The unmistakeable Tom Baker, best known as the fourth Doctor in “Doctor Who”, plays the twins, Brandreth and Gavron.

"By the Gods!"

The only religious references in the episode are when Llud invites Gavron to “Burn in hell” and when Kai, fooling around at the end, cries out “In the name of the gods, no! No!”

Dark Age Men

Most of the problems our heroes encounter in this episode could have been avoided, if Llud hadn’t insisted on keeping his worries to himself. Instead of telling Arthur and Kai about his horrible dream, he just apologises for making a fuss, and warns Arthur not to intrude. And when Arthur refuses to include him in the planned trip to visit Brandreth, he makes sure that it is Arthur who takes a sleeping draft intended for him, because real men don’t need rest or medication!

Kai takes Llud’s insistence on assessing Brandreth for himself as a slight: “Are you not prepared to accept my word?” – and is quite annoyed when they are captured. Llud explains: “I brought you both up never to show any fear. Would you have had me admit to it?”

At the end, Llud feels honour-bound to personally dispatch the man who has haunted his dreams.

The best laid plans …

Gavron’s plan to take revenge upon Arthur might actually have worked if Llud hadn’t drugged him. Instead, Llud tricks Gavron into giving himself away, allowing Arthur to take counter-measures.

Family Ties

Gavron’s determination to kill Arthur is because of a battle, fought, four years before, in which Arthur killed the father of Brandreth and Gavron. Gavron, the Evil Twin, says his brother is weak for wanting to make peace with Arthur.

Celts and Saxons

Explaining Brandreth’s desire to make peace, Kai says: “He also has the Saxon wolves snapping at his heels. He would move his people to greater safety and join his army to ours.” Brandreth believes that revenge is simply impractical; he tells Gavron, “We Celts are fighting the Saxon now. Old hatreds, Brother, lie behind us.”

Don’t call me old!

Llud gets angry when Arthur suggests that he is ill or over-tired: “Llud is not old yet. Nor feeble … I need no nursemaid!”

This seems to be the first episode in which Llud is credited with more than usual foresight – later referred to in terms of his “nose twitching.” But it seems the future is not set in stone, providing one takes precautions.

“That is bloody dangerous!”

There is a minor skirmish when Gavron’s men ambush Brandreth’s, in which Brandreth is dragged from his horse.

Kai and Llud, and Arthur all have to fall into a pit trap.

Trapped (27) Arthur turns the tables (37)

Brosk is hit with a spear and drowned. The person who actually goes under is a stand-in; witness the disappearance of Brosk’s beard!

Dream laid (30) Dream laid (49)

“Night-night, Kiddies!”

Llud’s torture, and Kai breaking a man’s neck between his thighs, might be considered a bit much for today’s teatime audience!

Torture (3) Kai escapes (22)

Dressed to kill?

Arthur wears his woolly blue shirt with the embroidered cuffs for most of the episode. When he goes to meet Gavron, he wears his ring armour over it. In the final scene he once again wears the pale blue lace-up shirt he wore in “In Common Cause”: the same one Kai wears in the first scene of “Daughter of the King.”

For his meeting with Brandreth and discussion with Arthur and Llud, Kai wears the new studded tunic first seen in “People of the Plough.” When he sets out to meet Brandreth for the second time, he is wearing the brown suede shirt he wore in “The Challenge.” In the final scene, Kai wears the white shirt he wore in “People of the Plough.”

Llud wears the same old white shirt for most of the episode, as well as the significant pendant. When he goes to meet Brandreth, he wears what looks like the same jacket he wore in “The Challenge”, but with a brown shirt under it. Gavron deprives him of both of these, leaving him in just his white shirt again while he is being tortured.

Brosk’s mask is the same one used by King Athel in “Enemies and Lovers”, but with some extra bits of metal, leather and fur stuck on.

Aftermath (21) Dream laid (30)

Out of Brandreth and Gavron, the evil twin – as one might expect – seems to be the snappier dresser.

Ambush (32) Ambush (31)

“A man on a horse is worth ten on foot”

Kai rides Moonlight. Llud, as usual, rides Curly, and Arthur rides Skyline. Brandreth and Gavron both ride Pythagoras. Other horses involved in the scenes where Brandreth and subsequently Gavron are ambushed are Blondie, Merlin, Flame, Pinkie, and Jim. Also in the melee are the dark brown horse with the star, first seen in “People of the Plough”, and a new horse, with a wide blaze, Outlander.


See this post for further details of the horses of "Arthur of the Britons."

On the table

Brandreth has some bread in a bowl at his camp. Arthur has a bowl of what looks like pears on his table in the longhouse.


Arthur: They say you should never disturb another man’s dreams.
Llud: Or intrude on them afterwards.

Llud: Bed’s no place for any warriors.

Arthur: The way Llud feels today, he’d suspect his own shadow.

Llud: He’s mine! I have a dream to put to rest!

Great moments

The scene where Lenni, as part of her duties, wakes Llud up to give him a sleeping draft. Typical nurse!

Every scene where Gavron looks gleefully into camera.

Kai breaking the guard’s neck with his thighs, and the furtive look he gives afterwards.

Llud soaking Kai and Arthur at the end.

What’s going on here?

Arthur’s method of waking Llud – shouting at and shaking him – doesn’t seem very likely to calm him down!

He then gets water for Llud – who he thinks might be sick – from the horse trough, and later sticks his own head in it. Health and Safety?

Why is Lenni, the village healer, mute? Were they being inclusive, or just saving money by giving actress, Sally James, a non-speaking role?

In these scene where Brandreth is ambushed by Gavron’s men, he is pulled from Pythagoras’ back. Gavron then arrives – also riding Pythagoras. Has the horse, too, got an evil twin?

Brandreth on Pythagoras Ambush (26)

Given Llud’s forebodings, it seems odd that he and Kai still manage to fall into a trap, even though Gavron’s suggestion, “Leave your horses to water, and approach”, could hardly have sounded more suspicious.

If Brandreth’s people are from East Anglia – “the eastern marshlands” – why were they fighting over hunting grounds in Sarum (Salisbury), more than 100 miles from their home?

When we first see Kai tied to the post, he is still wearing his shirt; a few minutes later, still tied to the post, he is somehow – once again – stripped to the waist. One of Gavron’s men must have untied him, removed his shirt, and tied him up again. But why?

Gavron's demands (25) Writing (18)

There are some interesting paintings on one of the hangings in Gavron’s tent.

Kai escapes (20)

Very few people in those times could read or write; why would Gavron assume that Llud was one of them?

Why does Llud insist on describing his pendant as a “brooch”? Is it because he’s a man, and he’s not supposed to know about jewellery? And if Arthur knows it so well, why is this the first time we’ve seen it? Even assuming Arthur recognised it, how would it serve as a sign of Llud’s agreement with the contents of a letter? Wouldn’t it occur to Arthur that Gavron might have taken it without Llud’s permission?

Gavron’s man, Kellas, evidently considers himself a medical man. When Arthur asks if Llud is badly hurt, he diagnoses “a sprain”!

When Arthur has been captured, his men ride to the rescue on some of the same horses that previously belonged to Brandreth or Gavron.

If Gavron was really so intent on revenge, he would have killed Arthur while he was in the pit, regardless of the fact the Arthur’s men had arrived. Evidently he was not prepared to risk his life.

When Llud is chasing Brosk at the end, it seems a bit foolish to throw his sword at him. And why is Llud seen running down this hill, when he’s already run off in the opposite direction?

Dream laid (34) Dream laid (24)

In his dream about being chased by Brosk, Llud is shirtless, but when he re-enacts the dream in real life, he is wearing the white shirt.


As the Minstrel, Jeremy Taylor sings:

Where the grass lies low, and the wind sweeps wide.
Where the black dove flies, by the green lakeside.
There I must go ... must stand … must stare.
For ’twas there on the lake, that I lost me a bride
If the stones could walk, and the mountains move.
If the trees could talk …

Unlike most of the songs that have featured in the show so far, Jeremy Taylor’s doesn’t seem relevant to the story.

Some of the music tracks used in this episode were:

Track 12, Duel: used whenever Llud is experiencing the nightmare vision.
Track 19, Celtic Dance: Arthur fetches water and speak to Lenni.
Track 5, To Battle! – Brosk prepares to ambush Brandreth.
Track 6, Infiltration and Treachery: Llud drugs Arthur’s drink, and departs with Kai.
Track 16, Danger Mounts: Gavron threatens Llud and has him tortured.
Track 11, Desolation and Despair: Llud is forced to try to write a message.
Track 26, Evil Stirs: Kai kills his guard; Arthur is trapped,
Track 23, Arrival of Arthur: Arthur’s men come to the rescue.

The whole suite of music, beautifully written and orchestrated for the series by Paul Lewis, is now available on CD.


Arthur …………….... Oliver Tobias
Kai ……………….… Michael Gothard
Llud ………………... Jack Watson
Brandreth/Gavron …. Tom Baker
Kellas ……………… Colin Rix
Cador …………......... Alfred Maron
Brosk …………......... Dave Prowse
Lenni …………......... Sally James
Minstrel ……………. Jeremy Taylor
Guard …………......... Michael Ely


Director ………….…. Sidney Hayers
Story ………………... Jonathen Crown
Executive Producer …. Patrick Dromgoole
Producer …………….. Peter Miller
Associate Producer …. John Peverall
Production Manager … Keith Evans
Post-production ……... Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ……… Peter Brayham
Cameraman …………. Graham Edgar
Camera Operator …… Roger Pearce
Editor ……………….. Barry Peters
Sound recordist ……... Barrie White
Dubbing mixer ……… John Cross
Art Director …………. Doug James
Assistant Director …… Mike Roberts
Production Assistant … Maggie Hayes
Costume Design .….… Audrey MacLeod
Make-up …………….. Christine Penwarden
Incidental music …….. Paul Lewis
Theme music ………... Elmer Bernstein
Episode 2.5: Go Warily

Writer: Jonathen Crown


Ominous music. Llud is being chased down a hill by a huge masked warrior, carrying a spear.

Llud gets trapped against a tree. The warrior; Brosk, throws his spear, but misses Llud by inches. The chase continues. Llud stumbles down a bank into a river, and falls to his hands and knees. Brosk closes in.

We see that Llud is in his own bed, and this is a nightmare.

Llud: [shouts] No! No! No!

Arthur awakes, leaps up, rushes across to Llud, and grips him by the shoulders, trying to calm him.

Llud: Aargh! Argh!

Arthur: Wake up. What is it? Llud?

Llud continues to make sounds of panic, and throws Arthur off. He lands on the floor. Llud is still moaning and crying out, “No!” in the grip of his nightmare.

Arthur: Llud! It’s Arthur! Llud!

Llud is still dreaming. Arthur picks up a bucket of water and throws it over him. Llud suddenly comes fully awake. Arthur looks down at him anxiously. Llud closes his eyes in relief that it was just a dream.



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Kai is out riding when he comes upon an isolated homestead, beside a partly-ploughed field. He approaches, tethers his horse, and bursts into the main hut. A hooded figure comes up behind him, and taps him on the shoulder with an axe.

Kai lowers his own weapon, turns, and punches the hooded figure. They fight; Kai knocks his opponent unconscious, and turns them over, to find that he has been fighting a beautiful blonde woman.

Next, we see the woman, Freya, angrily sweeping the floor and kicking rubbish out of the hut, while Kai stands outside, apologising for his treatment of her. He asks if there is anything he can do to make amends; she gives him an assessing look.

As his penance, Freya puts Kai to work as her ‘ox’, pulling a plough, while she pushes it from the back. Kai learns that Freya and her husband, Rulf were cast out of their village, because Rulf refused to fight. Rulf went on a hunting trip some time ago, and failed to return.

Later, at dinner, when Freya sees Kai spear a chunk of meat from the stew-pot with his knife, and eat off the blade, she says that he eats like a Celt. Kai makes a pass at her, but she rejects him; she is worried about Rulf, and thinks the Celts have killed him.

Softening towards Kai, she goes outside, collects a bucket of water from the river, and loosens and arranges her hair, while checking her reflection. But when she goes back inside, she finds Kai asleep, with his head on the table.

Next morning, Freya wakes Kai with some breakfast, and tells him that today they must do the harrowing. Kai flops back on the bed with a groan.

As Freya contemplatively sorts seed corn outside, Kai comes out of the hut, and tells her he must move on. He says he’d like to stay and protect her, but that he is Arthur’s lieutenant, and he must complete his mission first. Freya calls him a traitor for buying arms to kill Saxons, and slaps his face. He turns slowly away, and leaves.

Kai arrives at the settlement of Mordant the Armourer, where he discusses his requirements with Mordant and his second-in-command, Kyn. They pass a big cage, hanging over a fire, in which Mordant says he plans to roast a Saxon prisoner.

At dinner, in Mordant’s longhouse, Kai realises that the Saxon in question is Freya’s husband, Rulf. He tells Mordant to confine him with the prisoner, so he can find out what he knows about nearby Saxon encampments.

Mordant agrees. Once inside the prison hut, Kai tries to rouse Rulf to fight for his life. Rulf explains that the reason he now refuses to fight it that he killed his own brother in a blind rage. But he agrees to help Kai to escape, if he can.

Kai tricks the guards, and overpowers them, then he and Rulf slip out, and try to sneak through the village. But they are spotted, and both are captured.

The next day, Kai and Rulf, armed with swords and shields, stand in a makeshift gladiatorial ring that Mordant’s people have made. Mordant orders Kai and Rulf to fight, for the entertainment of his people.

When Rulf refuses, Mordant threatens to roast him in the cage – a fate he actually has in store for Kai as well – but Kai deliberately provokes Rulf, threatening to tell Mordant how to find Freya, and implying that he has already had his way with her himself.

This sends Rulf into a rage. They fight, and Kai knocks Rulf over, breaks out, and escapes on horseback. Rulf rides after him, but Mordant’s horses scatter, so the rest of the pursuing villagers fall behind. When Rulf catches Kai, he attacks him again, and this time it is Kai who will not fight. Kai persuades Rulf that Freya’s honour is intact, and they return to Rulf’s homestead together.

Later, the three of them discusses Rulf’s pacifist philosophy, and Rulf offers to help Kai in time of need. Kai immediately takes advantage of the offer, and gets Rulf to help him rob Mordant’s village. They get away with a magnificent haul of weapons, and Kai leaves Mordant bound and gagged, in his own cage.

When Kai returns home with the swords, Arthur is well-pleased. Kai says they were a gift from Mordant, but when Arthur suggests that he might go to thank him personally, Kai advises against it.


“People of the Plough” comes after “The Slaves” and “In Common Cause” in both the German book and the German DVDs, entitled “Konig Arthur”, so it seems likely this was the next in the filming sequence.

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers
In Common Cause
The Penitent Invader
The Slaves
People of the Plough


Freya’s homestead was built in a field along the same stretch of the River Chew as the village at Woollard, but just a bit further south. This is what the field looked like then, and in 2014:

I saw your plough (7) plough field

Mordant’s village is the same one at Woollard that was previously used for Ulrich, Cerdig, Rolf, and Col, but with many additions to make it look like a working armoury.

The Armourer Armourer 2

There is also a large cage hanging over a fire, providing further distraction from the longhouse itself. The area to the south west side of the longhouse, in which much of the action takes place, is almost unrecognisable compared with the same during "Enemies and Lovers" (left).

Arrival at Athel's (24) Armourer 4

The palisade to the north side of the village seems to have incorporated one of the two small huts near the northeast corner of the village, and it is near that small hut - but on the other side of the palisade - that Kai brings Arthur the swords.

Failed escape (7) New toys (64)

Cast notes

This is the second episode in which Jack Watson does not appear at all – the first being “The Gift of Life.” He may have been working on another project, or perhaps filming had already begun on the next episode, “Go Warily.”

Valerie Ost, (Valerie Van Ost) who plays Freya, appeared in a number of “Carry On” films: “Carry On Cabby”, “Carry On Doctor”, “Carry On Again Doctor” and “Carry On Don't Lose Your Head.”

Valerie Ost

Mike Pratt, who played Morcant, was better known as Jeff Randall from “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” – a series in which Michael Gothard had appeared in 1970 as a heavy, Perrin, in “When the Spirit Moves You.”

WTSMY (139)

Author note

Bob Baker, who co-wrote this episode with Dave Martin, described HTV West at that time as like being in a family.

“During productions we often went for supper at Floyds. Dave and I were extras in most of the things we did so we knew everyone in the production, which was great. Patrick Dromgoole was the kind of the guy who liked to have the writing team - "With the unit" so that as writers we felt valued with everybody else."

A woman alone

It can’t have been easy for Freya, when she and Rulf were kicked out of their village because Rulf refused to fight; being left to fend for herself must be even harder. Any time she hears someone approach her homestead, she has to be ready to hide, or fight to defend herself, and she clearly doesn’t share Rulf’s pacifist views.

For his part, if Kai had known the homestead was occupied by a woman alone, he would not have been so unchivalrous as to attack, and he apologises profusely.

But he is only human, and after being used to plough the field, and even called “ox”, he can perhaps hardly be blamed for trying his luck. When Freya rejects his first advance, he doesn’t push it.

Freya says that she is afraid that the Celts have killed Rulf. He has been missing for “a season”, but this may be the first time she has admitted to herself that he is not coming back. That admission may be what prompts her to loosen her hair, and go back to Kai, perhaps having decided that it is time she found herself a new man to help and protect her.

By next morning, she has her sights firmly set on Kai, but when she finds out he is on a mission from Arthur – the enemy – she is not afraid to slap his face and call him a traitor.

He ain’t heavy …

Rulf admits that he killed his brother because a blind rage overcame him. Later, he reacts with a similar blind rage when Kai hints that he knows Rulf’s wife better than he has a right to. It makes one wonder whether it was jealousy over Freya that made Rulf attack and kill his brother.

"By the Gods!"

There are more references to God in “People of the Plough” than in any other episode, including “Rolf the Preacher”, an episode which is mainly concerned with Rolf’s attempts to convert people to Christianity!

Kai, who has previously shown no religious inclination, is heard to exclaim: “God’s teeth!” and “God’s breath!” and later swears, “God defend me, I didn’t touch her.”

The sadistic armourer, Mordant, also enlists God to his side, piously promising: “Before God I’ll roast you alive!” and, when enraged, exclaiming, “God’s blood!”

And Rulf, who later says he “would want to be a man who … never again … took away a life given by God”, tells Kai, “Before God, no man touches my wife”, and “As God is my witness, you shall die.”

But it seems to be the trauma of having killed his own brother that is behind Rulf’s professed pacifism, rather than the desire to follow a particular religious code.

Author note

Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who wrote just this one episode, were both relatively inexperienced script-writers at the time, and they seem to be trying a bit too hard to make their writing sound as if it fits the period. As well as constantly making the characters swear by god, or call him to witness, they also have Rulf use “’twixt” and “’tis” in the same sentence, as if he had just stepped out of a Shakespeare play. They went on to become a celebrated writing partnership, creating - among other things - the robot dog on Doctor Who: K-9.

The best laid plans …

It’s not very clear what Arthur had told Kai to do about payment for the weapons he was supposed to procure from Mordant. Kai tells Mordant, “Arthur is forging an army, but not for gold”, but Arthur can’t really have expected Mordant to give him arms for free. He probably hoped that Kai would be able to use some combination of threats and cajolery to secure a good deal, and Kai tries it at first, suggesting that Arthur could simply take over Mordant’s operation. But despite what Arthur says – “I asked you to strike a good bargain, but I never dreamed …” – the way Kai goes about his mission can’t have come as a complete surprise! After all, if Arthur really expected the arms to be got by negotiation and payment, shouldn’t he have gone himself?

The hot-headed side-kick

Kai is on his own for most of the episode. He never loses sight of his mission, but he completes a couple of projects of his own along the way. Arthur would probably have disapproved of Kai rescuing a Saxon from the people with whom he was supposed to be negotiating.

If Kai had really wanted to return to Freya, after taking Arthur his arms, it would have been in his interest to leave Rulf in Mordant’s hands. But his conscience demands that he rescue Rulf, and give up any pastoral fantasies. As Rulf says, “There are people of war, and people of the plough”, and in his heart, Kai knows where he belongs.

Celts and Saxons

Kai felt compelled to investigate the little Saxon settlement in an area he must have considered Celt territory. But as a result, he gets to see the human face of his enemy, up close, and this time, it is someone who poses no obvious threat to the Celts.

Once again, Kai feels conflicted: “I’m no farmer, but – I’d like to stay”, and when Freya, finding out who Kai is, calls him a traitor, it clearly hurts, more that the slap she gives him.

The Celts of Mordant’s village seem quite savage. Mordant himself plans to roast a Saxon in a big metal cage. For all that Kai is of “Celt persuasion”, this must make him feel threatened in Mordant’s camp, even before he sets about rescuing Rulf.

"A man on a horse is worth ten on foot"

Kai is once again on Pythagoras in this episode. Merlin is among Mordant’s fugitive horses, along with a new black or dark brown horse, with a star.

I saw your plough (5) Escape (3)

Rulf appears to be riding Jim.

Escape (8)

See this post for further details of the horses of "Arthur of the Britons."

“That is bloody dangerous!”

Though there are a great many swords in this episode – presumably the same ones seen in the weapons hut in “The Slaves” – most of the fights are fairly small and scrappy. However, we do see a rare use of a stuntman in this shot when Rulf throws Kai over his shoulder by the neck. They took a few extra shots while the camera was raised, though clearly not because of the danger of the fight.

Civilised men (76) Civilised men (77)

Civilised men (79) Civilised men (98)

What have the Romans ever done for us?”

Mordant seems to like to think of himself as a Roman: “You will fight. Let no man here say we are not civilised. You are gladiators, and will provide our sport.”

Great moments

Freya using Kai to plough her field, and calling him “ox.”

Kai’s restrained reaction when Freya calls him a traitor, and slaps him.

New toys (14) New toys (37)

The look on Arthur’s face as he examines his new swords.

New toys (40) New toys (55)

Arthur's suggestion that he should visit Mordant, and Kai's reaction.


Kai: Arthur is forging an army, but not for gold.

Rulf: There are people of war, and people of the plough.

Dressed to kill?

Kai has a new studded tunic, but spends some of the time wearing just his shirt ...

Escape (30) The Ox (18)

... and then (once again) stripped to the waist, while Freya, despite it being the middle of summer, wears a nice warm coat.

The Ox (36) The Ox (11)

Freya also has two different dresses, worn over some loose trousers.

Interlude (3) Interlude (23)

At the end of the episode, Arthur is in his woolly blue shirt.

On the table

Kai and Freya’s meal seems to be some kind of stew. Later, she is seen making loaves.

you eat like a Celt (3) Interlude (22)

Mordant’s hospitality seems somewhat lacking.

Saxon blood, Celt persuasion (26)

Honourable mention

Pythagoras looks particularly fine in this episode!

I saw your plough (14)

What’s going on here?

Why does Kai just burst into the house? It seems a bit rash – he didn’t know how many Saxons were in there!

Where is Freya’s actual ox? Did she have to kill and eat it, because Rulf has been away for so long? One might also ask why Kai doesn’t use his horse to plough the field, but probably battle horses weren’t to be used for such mundane tasks.

Freya's hands do not look as if they have done much manual labour!

The Ox (45)

Freya says that Kai eats like a Celt – apparently referring to the fact that he ate off his knife, out of the pot. It’s not clear what she means by: “you drink like a Saxon.”

Freya says Rulf has been gone for a season – but it seems unlikely, given Mordant’s bloodthirsty nature, that he would have held him prisoner for so long. Was he waiting for a special occasion to roast him?

Though the palisade seems to have grown since it was seen in “The Pentient Invader”, it still doesn't go all the way round the village, so would not have been much of a defence.

vlcsnap-2014-12-29-18h33m59s29 Civilised men (115)

Rulf is a Saxon – yet he goes on hunting trips, and can ride a horse, even leaping onto it from behind.

Why is Kai playing with his unsheathed sword while talking to Freya and Rulf?

Rulf returns (34) Rulf returns (31)


Some of the 34 tracks of incidental music, beautifully written and orchestrated for the series by Paul Lewis, used in this episode, were:

7. Hesitation and Achievement: Kai arrives at Freya’s homestead.
30. Night Scene: Kai sees a grave.
31. Lyrical Romance: Freya talks about Rulf.
18. Celtic Girl: Kai tries his luck with Freya.
20. The Fair Rowena: Freya considers her appearance, and brings breakfast.
18. Celtic Girl: Freya sorts seedcorn.
16. Danger Mounts: Rulf explains about killing his brother.
12. Duel: Kai and Rulf try to escape.
16. Danger Mounts: Mordant tells Kai and Rulf they must fight.
12. Duel: Kai and Rulf fight.
20. The Fair Rowena: Rulf and Freya talk with Kai.
16. Danger Mounts: Kai and Rulf steal from Mordant.
33. Springtime: Kai leaves Mordant in his cage.

The whole suite of music is available on CD.


Arthur …………….... Oliver Tobias
Kai ……………….… Michael Gothard
Rulf ……………….... Mark Edwards
Freya ……………..… Valerie Ost
Mordant ………….… Mike Pratt
Kyn ……………….…Geoffrey Russell


Director ………….…. Sidney Hayers
Story ………………... Bob Baker and Dave Martin
Executive Producer …. Patrick Dromgoole
Producer …………….. Peter Miller
Associate Producer …. John Peverall
Production Manager … Keith Evans
Post-production ……... Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ………. Peter Brayham
Cameraman ……….… Graham Edgar
Camera Operator ….… Roger Pearce
Editor ………………... Don Llewellyn
Sound recordist ……... Barry White
Dubbing mixer ……… John Cross
Art Director …………. Doug James
Assistant Director …… Mike Roberts
Production Assistant … Maggie Hayes
Costume Design ..…… Audrey MacLeod
Make-up …………..… Christine Penwarden
Incidental music …….. Paul Lewis
Theme music ………... Elmer Bernstein
Episode 1.5: People of the Plough

Writers: Bob Baker and Dave Martin


Kai is riding beside a river, when he sees an isolated homestead beside a partly-ploughed field. He approaches, tethers his horse, and bursts into one of the huts. A hooded figure comes up behind him, and taps him on the shoulder with an axe. Kai lowers his own weapon.

Kai: I saw your plough. I too am a Saxon.

He turns and punches the hooded figure. They briefly fight, and Kai knocks his opponent unconscious. He turns them over, and finds that he has been fighting a beautiful blonde woman.



Read more... )

Arthur is riding through open country, while Kai follows on foot, leading his lame horse. Arthur knows a blacksmith in a nearby village, who should be able to help, but when they get there, the place seems deserted.

Leaving their horses, Kai and Arthur cautiously approach, split up, and run to scout out different areas. Just as Arthur finds what he identifies as a Saxon shield lying on the ground, an arrow hits Kai in the leg.

Having suffered no great harm, he manages to pull it out, and together they investigate the hut from which the arrow came. They find the archer: a young boy, Frith, whom Arthur knows as Col the Blacksmith’s son.

Frith shot at Kai because he recognised him as a Saxon, but Arthur assures him that Kai is a friend. Col’s wife, Mair, comes out of hiding, and explains that the Saxons raided the village three days ago, and took the men away. She despairs of getting them back, but Arthur is certain that Llud will be able to track them.

Next, Kai and Arthur are seen on the trail, with Llud in the lead. They track the missing men to a quarry, where they are working as slaves, under the supervision of a Saxon foreman, and some guards.

Discipline is harsh. When Col, evidently exhausted, stops to rest, the foreman, Rodolf, gives him a blow with his whip.

Kai wants to go back for reinforcements, to effect a rescue, but Arthur says they are too far into Saxon territory to bring a large force in, and that they already have an army here – the slaves.

So Kai leads Arthur and Llud, roped together, up to Rodolf, and berates him for letting these two Celt slaves escape, and for not getting the work done more quickly.

Rodolf resents having his authority usurped, but seems to accept Kai’s story, that he is a new supervisor, sent by Cerdig. Arthur is taken up the ledge, and shackled at the rock face, not far from Col. The Saxon guard hands Arthur a sledge-hammer. Arthur gives Col a reassuring nod.

Heardred the builder shows Kai the armoury, then lunch is served, both to the Celt slaves, and – by Heardred’s daughter, Thuna – to Heardred, Rodolf, and Kai.

It is clear that both Heardred and Thuna think Rodolf treats the slaves too harshly; Thuna rejects an advance from Rodolf, and goes to sit near Kai.

While a guard watches the slaves from a little way off, Arthur tells Col to spread the word that an escape is being planned.

Once back on the ledge, Col, on the point of collapse, leans against the rock face. Rodolf comes over and delivers another blow with the whip, and Col falls to the ground.

Rodolf prepares to hit him again, but Arthur steps forward and tells Rodolf to leave him.

As Arthur turns back to the cliff face, Rodolf draws back his arm to strike Arthur with the bullwhip, but Arthur, anticipating reprisals for his insubordination, hits Rodolf in the stomach with the handle of his sledgehammer.

Rodolf drops to his knees. Another Saxon pins Arthur against the cliff face with his axe. Rodolf draws a knife, gets up, and comes towards Arthur.

Kai arrives in time to put himself between them. Rodolf want to kill Arthur but Kai says that Cerdig wouldn’t approve of killing a valuable worker. Arthur will be flogged instead, and Kai insists that he be the one to mete out punishment.

Thuna, Heardred, and all the slaves and their guards, watch as Arthur is tied, spread-eagled, to a large rock. While pretending to check that the ropes are secured, Kai has a private word with Arthur. Then he comes down from the platform surrounding the rock, and begins his grim task.

When the flogging is over, the Saxons take Arthur by the arms and drag him away, followed by Heardred and Rodolf. Heardred insists Arthur be put on a bale of hay.

The watching crowd disperses, leaving Kai, standing alone, contemplating the blood on his hand from the whip. Then he realises that Thuna is watching him.

Kai and Llud go to the armoury and set to work concealing weapons inside bales of hay. Kai agonises over what he’s done, but Llud tells him that he had no choice.

That evening, at dinner, Rodolf tells Thuna the slaves will work harder tomorrow, having seen Arthur flogged today. When Rodolf has gone, Thuna berates her father for the cruelty involved in this project.

To the surprise of Llud and the other slaves, gathered around Arthur, Thuna brings a bowl of salve to spread on Arthur’s back. Kai comes to see how Arthur is faring, and is disconcerted to see Thuna there. She says she won’t betray him.

The next day, while work continues, Llud, who is working near the huts, hears a new Supervisor, Ensel, telling Heardred that he has been sent by Cerdig, and that Kai must be an imposter. Thinking quickly, Thuna calls Llud over, and tells him to inform Rodolf.

While Thuna distracts Ensel, Llud hurries off, and tells Kai that they must stage their rebellion right away. Kai orders the Celts to bring fresh hay for their beds, and they start carrying bales, containing hidden weapons, towards the sleeping area.

Ensel goes to find out why Rodolf hasn’t reported to him yet.

Meanwhile, Rodolf comes to see what Kai is doing. Kai tells him the Celts needed fresh bedding if they weren’t to get sick, delaying the work, but Rodolf kicks at the bales, and finds a hidden sword.

High up on the cliff face, Ensel sees what’s happening, and calls out a warning. Arthur throws his sledge-hammer, knocking Ensel off the cliff.

The Celts and Saxons start fighting. During the battle, Kai makes sure he comes face to face with Rodolf, relieves him of his axe, and eventually strangles him with his own whip. The Celts have won.

Arthur, Llud and Kai mount their horses and set off, but Thuna appears, and Kai comes back to bid her farewell. Thuna looks sad as he rides away.

The former slaves walk home to their village, pondering their traumatic experience at the quarry. When they arrive home, Arthur, Kai and Llud ride in, followed by the men they have freed. A happy crowd runs out to greet them.


“The Slaves” comes before “In Common Cause” in the German book and DVDs, entitled “Konig Arthur”, but the settlement at Woollard appears somewhat more substantial and complete in “The Slaves.” Also, botanist Lynn Davy believes the condition of various flowering plants in the two episodes indicates “The Slaves” was filmed after “In Common Cause.” There is one scene near the end of the episode that was filmed much later in the year, when the trees had already lost their leaves.

Going home (13) Going Home 19b

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers
In Common Cause
The Penitent Invader
The Slaves


Col the Blacksmith’s village is once again the one at Woollard; this time, it has mostly been filmed from the southwest side, and from a distance. The fact that the cast spent so little time there would have given the set dressers the chance to make alterations to it, so that Mordant's armoury could be set there, on the northeast side, the following week.

The impressive cliff face where most of the action takes place is Black Rock Quarry, in Cheddar. This is about 16 miles from Woollard, so you probably wouldn’t have to ride all day and all night to get from one to the other. Further details about the location can be found here.

Cast notes

Col the Blacksmith is played by David Prowse, who was later to appear in “Star Wars” as Darth Vader.

Col’s son Frith – credited as “Dominique Fleming” – is played by one of Patrick Dromgoole’s sons, Dominic, who is now Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre, London. His brother, Sean, who played "Krist" in "The Gift of Life", recalled that Dominic didn’t like the fact that at the end of the episode, he had to be lifted – almost thrown – high in the air by Dave Prowse.

They took the men Dominic

Deborah Watling, who played Thuna, had previously appeared as Victoria Waterfield, Companion to Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, in 40 episodes of Dr Who.

Deboarh Watling300 high Now or never (18)300 high

Ensel was played by stuntman, Jack (“Jackie”) Cooper. He later did stunt work in the film “Going Undercover”, in which Michael Gothard appeared as Strett.

Adrian Cairns, who played Heardred the builder, would later appear in "The Prize" as the Armourer, Ruan.

The best laid plans …

When they find out where the Celt villagers have been taken, Arthur argues that they are too far into Saxon territory to march an army in, and that they have one here already.

Though this works out in the end, it was a bit of a gamble, and they clearly didn’t think things through very well before going in. For a start, Kai should have taken a Saxon, name, but he continues to use his own.

It is pure luck that the building site includes a hut full of weapons for the slaves to use to free themselves – though one might argue that the quarrying tools could also have been used for the purpose.

When Arthur, failing to control his temper, hits Rodolf, he is fortunate that Kai is nearby; Rodolf was ready to kill him on the spot. As it is, he puts Kai in an unenviable position.

And without Thuna’s quick-thinking and complicity, their planned rebellion would have been discovered before it could be put into action.

Celts and Saxons

Mair is keen to stress that the men of her village didn’t give up the fight without killing some of the Saxons.

Arthur states that Saxons don’t usually take prisoners, and when they find out that the men are being used as slaves, Kai worries that the Celts will be made to work until they die. Though Cerdig doesn't appear in this episode, his use of slaves to do his work, and his foreman's treatment of them, casts this usually rather avuncular Saxon leader in a more sinister light, and he evidently has no intention of halting his advance into Celt territory.

The hut full of new weapons that Heardred shows Kai is for a bigger and better Saxon supply base, which will presumably be used to power more extensive incursions into the Celts’ lands, so there is more hanging in the balance than the fate of these particular slaves.

As well as the beatings, the Celt slaves suffer constant abuse from Rodolf, who calls them ‘lazy Celtic dog’, and ‘Celtic pigs’; Kai has to do the same in order to fit in, and it clearly sits ill with him – though not as ill as “restoring Saxon honour” by punishing Arthur.

While Heardred thinks Rodolf goes too far in the way he drives the Celts, he is unwilling to condemn it outright, and tries to justify his involvement: “All across this land, men die in battle, on both sides.” But Thuna can knows that this is different, and does all she can to help the Celts.

At the end, Kai and Thuna bid each other farewell by saying, “Goodbye, Saxon”: perhaps acknowledging that they are both equally disloyal to their own kind.

You’ve got a friend

Arthur is quite mean, making Kai walk all the way when his horse is lame – but having to flog his best friend hurts Kai a lot more.

The hot-headed side-kick

Kai keeps his cool remarkably under the circumstances, though Thuna sees through his act. It is Arthur who has trouble keeping his temper.

Don’t call me old!

Arthur claims that “Llud can follow a trail that’s three months old.” Whether or not he can actually perform such miracles, he does manage to track the slaves to the quarry.

Llud is not so old as to be unaware of Thuna’s charms, visibly holding his stomach in when she calls him over to speak to him! And he gives a good account of himself in the battle.

Dark Age Men

As well as being unpleasantly sadistic, Rodolf is also a bit of a lecher, grabbing the unwilling Thuna round the waist and leering at her, when she accidentally walks into him while serving food.

‘That is bloody dangerous!’

Peter Brayham, who arranged the fights and action, had plenty to do in this episode, with lots of stunts, a new and dangerous environment, and different weaponry deployed.

To start with, Frith uses the only bow and arrow to feature in the series. According to Wikipedia, the first use of a longbow in the British Isles was in AD 633, so – as a relatively new weapon – perhaps that is why we don’t see more of them in the series.

Rodolf uses both a bullwhip and a flogger to punish the slaves, and the Saxons have brought quite a large store of weapons, including axes, swords and spears.

The quarry looks quite hazardous, with the slaves getting dangerously close to some nasty drops, and shoving big rocks off ledges to smash on the ground.

Ensel arrives (7)

Also, the rock on which Arthur is flogged is actually quite steep; the ropes would have been needed to stop him sliding off.

Black Rock 19 Nov 2011 (19)

Stuntman Jack Cooper takes a spectacular fall when Arthur’s sledgehammer hits him. If you look carefully at the fourth picture, you can just make out his sword tumbling through the air!

The fight (2) The fight (6)

The fight (7) The fight (9)

The fight (11) The fight (12)

Great moments

The moment Rodolf sticks the stock of his bullwhip up under Arthur’s chin.

The scene at the rock face where Kai stops Rodolf killing Arthur.

Kai’s exchange with Arthur before the flogging.

The moment Kai sees Thuna tending Arthur.

Heardred’s look of utter confusion when Thuna says she told him she was suspicious of Kai all along.

Kai, strangling Rodolf with his own whip.


Kai: How do you flay a man publicly, and soften the whip?

Thuna: … You’re building your fortress, Father, with human bones.

Dressed to kill?

At the start of the episode, Arthur is wearing his tan tunic, and Kai, the brown suede lace-up shirt and big cloak.

They must have changed their clothes when they went home to collect Llud, because for the rest of the episode, Kai wears his studded tunic with the big fur sash, while Arthur wears his ring armour, and Llud, his studded tunic, until they arrive outside the slave camp. Here, so as to look less like warriors, Arthur and Llud discard their protective clothing, wearing just their undershirts when Kai brings them in as captives.

After that, Arthur and Llud spend most of the episode stripped to the waist, like the rest of the slaves.

“A man on a horse is worth ten on foot”

Arthur is once again riding Skyline, and Llud is on Curly as usual. Kai’s horse, who is lame at the start of the episode, is Pythagoras. Despite there being no blacksmith at Col’s village, he rides the same horse for a day and a night, to get to the quarry! Presumably, when they went back to fetch Llud, their own blacksmith was able to deal with Pythagoras' problem.

See this post for further details of the horses of "Arthur of the Britons."

On the table

The Celts are being fed some kind of unappetising porridge that looks like wet cotton wool. Perhaps the Saxons have put Milo Minderbinder1 in charge of food supplies.

Slave lunch (8) Lunch (23)

Meanwhile, Heardred, Rodolf and Kai sit at Heardred’s dinner table, with more nutritious looking platters of bread and meat, and the usual enormous bunch of grapes.

Extra! Extra!

There are a lot of students – in an impressive array of different coloured leggings – working at the quarry. Even though they were only acting the part of slaves, they look as if they actually had to work quite hard, and could do with a few good meals!

Honourable mention

For the un-credited star of the show: Black Rock Quarry itself – still a very impressive location.

Black Rock 19 Nov 2011 (18)

Secondly, for this extra, for whom things got a bit too real!

“Night night, Kiddies!”

Yet another very serious and angst-ridden episode, considering this was nominally a children’s TV show: slaves under the command of a sadistic foreman, and one of our heroes having to give the other – who is also his best friend – twenty lashes. Kai, strangling Rodolf, is the icing on the cake.

What’s going on here?

Arthur calls out Col’s name, when still quite a distance from the village; surely it would have been more normal to go up to the village, and ask whether he was at home!

There are sounds of thunder at the start of the episode, but no thunder clouds in the sky, from which not a drop of water falls. More ‘pathetic fallacy thunder’ rolls, as Arthur is about to be flogged.

Arthur finds a shield lying on the ground, and says, “Saxons”, as if it were of obvious Saxon design; but it doesn’t look much different to the one he used when fighting Mark of Cornwall in “Arthur is Dead.”

Deserted village (44) Arthur vs Mark (51)

Given that “Kai, the Saxon who rides with Arthur” is well-known among the Saxons – enough so, that one of their minstrels sings of him, and Cerdig knows all about him – it seems incredible that the Saxons at the quarry don't immediately recognise him. Thuna seems to be the only one who sees what’s going on; it makes one wonder whether she were already a secret admirer of Kai's!

As a builder, Heardred hasn’t got much work done, though he seems very pleased with his plumb-line, telling Kai, “Yes, the Romans used this principle”!

Headred explains (6)

He tells Ensel “You don’t seem to understand the problems that I have building here. Why, only a few days ago none of this rock was ready.” It has to be said that none of it looks especially “ready” now. It’s just lying about in big untidy piles.


In this scene, you can see what looks suspiciously like a hole for dynamite.

As Arthur starts work, we see the rock on which he will be flogged, being made ready. Later, it has a platform around two sides. It’s almost as if they knew at once that he was going to cause trouble ...

Arthur starts work The flogging (37)

But he is flogged lying on his front. So when they pick him up to drag him away afterwards, why is he lying on his back?

The aftermath

And how does Kai manage to get blood on his axe halfway through the fight, without it ever having touched Rodolf?

The Fight (66) The Fight (92)

The fight scene ends very abruptly; one minute it is in full swing, and the next, our heroes are mounting up to ride away. The scene that immediately follows the fight – with the possible exception of the close-up of Thuna – was filmed much later.

Perhaps what with filming at the rather dangerous quarry location, on different levels, with lots of extras, and stunts, the crew simply ran out of time, and had to move on to the next episode. The unusual montage of the men walking home, contemplating their time in captivity, inter-cut with shots of the deserted quarry, with the shouts of the slaves and their captors as a soundtrack, might also have been put together later, to make up for a missing transition scene.

Going home (27) Going home (26)


Some of the music tracks used in this episode were:

Track 7, Hesitation and Achievement: the young archer is found.
Track 6, Infiltration and Treachery: they see the quarry for the first time, and Kai takes charge.
Track 10, Desolation and Despair: the midday meal.
Track 26, Evil Stirs: the slaves go back to work.
Track 30, Night Scene: Arthur’s dragged away after being flogged.
Track 13, In All Weathers: Thuna brings salve, and the slaves return to work next morning.
Track 26, Evil Stirs: Ensel arrives; it's now or never.
Track 12, Duel: The Celts fight for their freedom.
Track 17, Pensive Moment: "Goodbye, Saxon."
Track 29, Pastoral Episode: the former slaves arrive back at their village.

The whole suite of music, beautifully written and orchestrated for the series by Paul Lewis, is now available on CD.


Arthur …………….... Oliver Tobias
Kai ……………….… Michael Gothard
Llud ………………... Jack Watson
Rodolf ………........... Anthony Bailey
Heardred ………..….. Adrian Cairns
Col ….…………....… Dave Prowse
Thuna …………….… Deborah Watling
Frith …………….….. Dominique Fleming
Mair ………………... Karin MacCarthy
Ensel ……………….. Jackie Cooper


Director ………….…. Pat Jackson
Story ………………... Robert Banks Stewart
Executive Producer … Patrick Dromgoole
Producer ……………. Peter Miller
Associate Producer …. John Peverall
Production Manager ... Keith Evans
Post-production …….. Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ……… Peter Brayham
Cameraman ………… Bob Edwards
Camera Operator …… Brian Morgan
Editor ……………….. Dave Samuel-Camps
Sound recordist ……... Mike Davey
Dubbing mixer ……… John Cross
Art Director …………. Doug James
Assistant Director …… Keith Knott
Production Assistant … Patti Belcher
Costume Design .……. Audrey MacLeod
Make-up …………….. Christine Penwarden
Incidental music …….. Paul Lewis
Theme music ………... Elmer Bernstein

1 Milo Minderbinder was a corrupt mess officer in Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”, who sold off US Army Air Corps food supplies for a profit, and tried to persuade the men to eat cotton, which he had bought on the cheap, and was unable to offload.
TV Today 17 August 1972

This photo in this news article giving advance publicity for the series, shows the heroes wearing a prototype costume, some elements of which were abandoned before filming began. For example, Llud is never seen wearing a jacket like this in the series, and - in colour versions of this picture - Arthur and Kai are shown cross-gartered, whereas in the series, this is an element of the Saxon and Jute costumes.

costume clip
This article appeared on page 3, about halfway down on the right, on Thursday 17 August 1972.

Stunt is a hair-raiser

Stuntman, Peter Brayham lost an £80 long blonde Saxon wig in the River Chew, in Woollard, near Pensford, yesterday.

He was fighting with Bath actor Jack Watson in a scene from HTV’s £500,000 Arthur series, which is being filmed on location throughout the West.

There are very few scenes in which Jack Watson, as Llud, is seen fighting in or near water, and in none of those is he fighting a Saxon.

In “The Penitent Invader”, which was filmed during early August, he fights some Picts by the side of the River Chew, but their wigs are curly black ones.

In “Go Warily”, he fights the giant Brosk (played by Dave Prowse), who is not a Saxon, and who, in any case, is wearing a helmet, not a wig. The episode is thought to have been filmed in September, and so post-dates this article.

In “Rolf the Penitent”, Brian Blessed, playing Mark of Cornwall, throws a Saxon wearing a long blond wig into the River Chew, but this particular episode is thought to have been filmed in early October.

Given the date of the article, it seems most likely that the loss of a blond wig – if it happened at all - occurred during the filming of "In Common Cause", during which a stuntman, doubling for Michael Gothard, jumps into Woodborough Mill Dam, while wearing such a wig. However, the dam is not very big, so if his wig had fallen off, it should have easily been retrieved.

A cynical person might suspect that this article was a complete work of fiction, devised as a way of keeping the project in the news, or perhaps simply to fill a couple of column inches on a slow news day during the silly season!

Stunt is a hair-raiser
Episode 1.10: The Slaves

Writer: Robert Banks Stewart


In open country. Sounds of thunder. Arthur is on horseback. Kai, who is leading his horse, stops to look at one of its hooves. Arthur rides back to him.

Arthur: I’ve got some news that’ll take the ache out of those feet of yours.

Kai: You gonna let me ride your horse for a while?

Arthur: There’s a village over that last ridge. Col, the blacksmith there’ll take care of your horse.

Arthur rides on until he is in sight of the village.

Arthur: [shouts] Col!

There is no answer; the village looks deserted. Kai catches up to Arthur, and they approach the village cautiously. Arthur dismounts and they go in on foot. One of the horses whinnies, warning of their approach, so they split up and run to scout out different areas. There’s no one around. Arthur finds a shield lying on the ground, and lifts the edge with his foot.

Arthur: Saxons.

An arrow hits Kai’s leg.

Kai: Ach!

Arthur draws his sword and ducks down. Kai pulls the arrow out.

Arthur: [whispers urgently] Kai!

Kai: I’m alright.

They run to the hut from which the arrow came, go in, Kai through the door and Arthur through the window, and find the archer: a small boy, Frith.



Read more... )

Advertising poster

Sunday, 13 August 1972 08:00 pm
This poster must have been made up after the filming of "The Penitent Invader", which took place during the second week in August.

HTV publicity 3 small

Featured scenes, left to right are from "Daughter of the King" (two scenes), "The Penitent Invader", "The Gift of Life", "Arthur is Dead", and "The Challenge."

The episode opens with Arthur and Llud fighting a losing battle against some painted warriors, the Picts. Arthur takes a knife in the back, and Llud only just catches him before he falls. Fortunately, Herward shows up with reinforcements, and saves the day.

But the Picts are taking a heavy toll. Arthur’s longhouse is full of wounded men, receiving treatment. Arthur lies prone, and Llud, while giving a pessimistic view of their chances of defeating the Picts, heats a flat piece of stone in the fire, then cauterises his wound.

In return for saving his life, Herward demands that Arthur deals with Rolf the Penitent, one of the chiefs, who has been raiding Herward, and his other Celtic neighbours. Arthur sends Llud to persuade Rolf to cease his activities.

On Llud’s arrival, Rolf immediately dashes out of his longhouse, admits all his transgressions, and begs Llud to kill him. When Llud doesn’t do this, Rolf invites him to dinner.

During the feast, Rolf sings a short devotional song. He wants to sing more, but Llud takes him aside, and warns him that he must mend his ways; Arthur’s patience is wearing thin. But the only thing that scares Rolf is himself. He wants to reform, but is too easily tempted by opportunities to plunder.

The next morning, they visit the man to whom Rolf turns for spiritual guidance and punishment: the frail old Abbot Morpeth. Llud asks to take over the Abbot’s role, and the Abbot readily agrees. Llud then goes to see Rolf’s blacksmith.

That evening, Llud tells Rolf that if – at any time tomorrow – he feels tempted to sin, he must admit it. The blacksmith arrives, and gives Llud an item he requested – a jacket with studs on the inside – for Rolf to wear as punishment for his past offences.

The next day, while Llud and Rolf are riding through the countryside together, they pass a jeweller working out in the open, a young woman relaxing by the riverbank, and two fine horses with their owners; on each occasion, Rolf admits to being tempted, and Llud hits him, which, as Rolf is still wearing the studded jacket, is very painful.

When they stop for a rest, though Rolf complains about his lot, he seems to accept that he is a sinner, and deserves all he gets. But when Llud wakes up after a doze, Rolf has gone. Llud finds the young woman in distress; the horses gone – their owners dead or unconscious – and the jeweller being bandaged by his wife, having been attacked and robbed.

Llud has Rolf flogged in front of his whole village.

Back in Arthur’s longhouse, Arthur is berating Kai for rashly attacking the Picts, in defiance of his order to stick to defensive tactics.

Rolf’s punishment continues; at the night’s feast, Llud won’t let Rolf eat anything except dry bread. Rolf protests; Llud faces him down, but next morning, Llud learns that, during the night, Rolf has raided one of Herward’s food trains.

Meanwhile, Arthur and Kai are still arguing over tactics; but their conflict gives Arthur an idea. While Rolf is preparing to walk over hot coals – his latest punishment – Arthur sends a messenger to Llud, that he must come at once, to guard some helpless people, loaded with treasure, who are passing nearby. Llud explains his mission to Rolf, and then departs.

As soon as Rolf has done his penance, he rallies his village to attack the travellers Llud has supposedly gone to protect. But instead of finding easy pickings, he is set upon by the Picts. Arthur’s cavalry ride in, and the Picts, caught between Rolf’s men and Arthur’s, are defeated, though Rolf’s village takes heavy losses.

Rolf finally gets some insight into how his victims must have felt.

Finally we see Arthur, Kai and Llud back in the safety of their own longhouse, having a quiet drink, and discussing Rolf.


“The Penitent Invader” is the only episode for which definite filming dates are known, and this is thanks to one of the extras, Barbara Hatherall, who preserved two of the call sheets.

Some of the scenes which take place at Rolf’s settlement, including the banquet, and the scenes in Rolf’s bedroom, were filmed on 9 August 1972. The call sheet, and further analysis can be found here.

The fight scenes involving Celts and Picts, and the scene where the abbot goes about the battlefield, blessing the dead, were filmed the following day. This call sheet, and further analysis can be found here.

Once again, in this episode, Oliver Tobias has very little screen-time, and for most of it, he is depicted as injured; it was only three or four weeks since he suffered an actual spear injury on set.

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers
In Common Cause
The Penitent Invader


The village built at Woollard - earlier inhabited by Ulrich’s people, and then by King Athel’s, and then Cerdig's - to become the home of Rolf's people.

Arrival at Athel's (24) Penitent Invader

The hut next to the Longhouse has been turned into a forge, and there is a newly-constructed palisade.

vlcsnap-2014-09-16-23h14m52s224 Hammer of the Picts (52)

The palisade was only built on one side of the village, so it would not have formed a very effective defence, but it did allow the settlement to look completely different when filmed from different angles, so that various groups of people could be shown living there, without it being obvious that it was all the same place.

As in "In Common Cause", scenes set in Arthur's village feature interiors only, so these were probably filmed at Woollard, as well.

Inside Information

Barbara Hatherall, who lived in Woollard, had a shop that sold odds and ends in her front room, where the cast and crew would come in to buy treats. Patrick Dromgoole, the Executive Producer, would ask her to recommend people who lived in the area for particular parts. For “The Penitent Invader”, he wanted a man of a certain age, and her husband was available, so Patrick cast him as the jeweller, and Barbara as his wife.

When her husband came out of the make-up caravan, she didn’t recognise him. They put him in a wig and a beard, and – later on, after he was supposed to have been robbed by Rolf – Patrick gave them some dirty old rags to bandage his head. Patrick kept screaming at her because she was laughing so much at silly things her husband was saying to her while they were trying to film.

Temptation (75) Temptation (78)

In the scene where Rolf had attacked a young girl on the river bank, Patrick was telling the victim to spread her legs out, and look like she’s been raped, but she said “I can’t, there’s all stinging nettles there!” Perhaps this is why she was kicking her legs!

In the scene where Clive Revill, as Rolf, has to walk across hot coals as penance, he was supposed to put his feet in gaps which had been left between the coals, but ended up actually walking on hot coals because he kept missing the gaps. And he had to do it again, because Patrick noticed that Barbara, playing the part of one of Rolf’s bemused villagers, was wearing a watch.

Cast notes

Clive Revill has a long career, which includes appearances in three major science fiction franchises, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon 5.


Clive Revill as slave trader Trakis in Babylon 5.

"By the Gods!"

Religion has a major influence on events in “The Penitent Invader.” According to Llud, the reason the Picts are such fearsome opponents is their belief that “if they died in battle, they went straight to their paradise – but if they were defeated, or surrendered, they went straight to hell.”

Llus is clearly not a Christian himself, because when Herward the Holy, complains about Rolf’s behaviour, Llud says, “I thought he’d been converted to your religion – to the Christ of the One God.”

Rolf does profess to be a Christian, but while claiming that he is “begging to reform”, he simply confesses any sins, does his penances, then goes out and commits more offences.

Llud is understandably sceptical of the efficacy of these Christian penances, especially when he sees how old and frail is Rolf’s confessor, Abbot Morpeth.

Luckily, the Abbot seems to have no qualms about handing over responsibility for Rolf’s spiritual guidance to a heathen, and Llud warns Rolf, “I’ll set some penances for you. Remedies of the old gods.”

The leather jacket, lined with spiky metal studs, which Llud makes Rolf wear, “was a favourite penance of Mithras, god of the Roman soldiers”; perhaps Llud is himself a follower of Mithras; it seems that the main difference is that punishments under Mithras are more severe!

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Llud seems to have learned more from the Romans than just the methods he uses to try to tame Rolf. The way he refers to “Lacinius the old Centurion” gives the impression that he may even have fought alongside them.

Arthur has also learned from them: “An old Caesar’s trick. Set a barbarian to fight barbarians” – and this is what finally brings Rolf to heel.

The Masochism Tango

Rather than trying to avoid punishment, Rolf the Penitent seems eager to invite it:

“Kill me. Slay me first. Burn me over a slow fire. I deserve it. I am a sinner! I want to pay! … Use my own sword … Cut out my heart and give it to the dogs. Stake out my liver for the birds to pick at … cut off my head” and then later: “More, more! I’m a miserable sinner! A damned soul! I deserve more! More!”

Llud’s attempt at aversion therapy – beating Rolf with the flat of his sword or with his metal hand on top of the studded waistcoat, flogging, and hot coals – doesn’t seem to deter Rolf in the slightest, and Llud, for his part, rather than going about this as an unpleasant chore, is actually enjoying making Rolf suffer.

Temptation (12) Temptation (40)

Temptation (43) Temptation (55)

It seems that this was all a bit too much for the TV station which originally showed “Arthur of the Britons” in Germany. Despite having dubbed this episode into German, along with all the others, they didn’t show “The Penitent Invader” when they broadcast the rest of the series, and it only appears on the German DVD set (released in 2013) as a “bonus.”

Dark Age Men

Llud is very macho in this episode, dealing unflinchingly with Arthur’s wound, and accepting no nonsense from Rolf.

Though we don’t see much of the other principals, most of the interactions between Arthur and Kai are very intense. After taking a knife in the back, Arthur is in a very vulnerable position, and Kai does all he can to take care of him, wrapping him in his fur, helping him take a drink, evicting Herward from Arthur’s chair and getting him settled in it.

In return, Arthur really lays into Kai; on the surface, he is angry that Kai didn’t follow his orders, but in reality, he is probably lashing out because he hates having been seen in such a weakened state. Kai gets angry in his turn, and rubs salt in the wound, by pointing out that, while Arthur is incapacitated, he can still fight beside his men.

The best laid plans …

Herward’s timely appearance is the first evidence of Arthur and his people having got any benefit from the alliances Arthur has been building, though Herward then asks for his help.

Arthur’s plan – to send Llud to deal with Rolf – is an abject failure, except in the comedic sense.

He also seems a bit at a loss as to how to deal with the Picts, but he is firmly of the opinion that the best form of defence is … well, defence; “Careful defence. To kill without being killed” and “Let the boar run onto the spear.” Kai has little confidence in this approach.

It’s only when Arthur lets his two problems – Rolf, and the Picts – deal with each other, that he hits on a winning solution.

Great moments

The way Arthur falls when hit by the Pict’s knife is very convincing, and when we see Llud cauterising Arthur’s wound, it looks as painful, as you’d expect it to be. Arthur shakes and sweats, clearly in shock from the pain, both of the injury and the treatment, and he looks genuinely fragile afterwards.

The way Llud faces Rolf down at the feast is priceless.

Feasting 2 (21)

And a lovely little detail, that you might miss if you weren’t watching closely: Arthur and Kai have set out a model battlefield on the longhouse table, with a loaf for the longhouse, apples to represent the Celts, and knives for the Picts.

Let the boar run (2)

We get a rare smile from Arthur at the end.

Aftermath (18)


Arthur: I’d sooner spare you twenty swordsmen, but I will give you Llud.

Rolf: Kill me! Slay me first!

Llud: There are more sides to you than a woman’s argument.

Rolf: Threats don’t frighten me. Not even Arthur’s. I frighten me.

Llud: That old man couldn’t scourge the hairs off a peach!

Llud: Great good, and great wickedness, are but a hair’s thickness apart.

Llud: Oh, I think you’ll find he’s a friend. If you go to sleep with one eye open.

The burden of command

Arthur starts to feel the pressure of the responsibility he has sought. Herward tells him plainly: “He’s a Celt! You are the self-appointed leader of the Celts. You are the one who would show us the way to live in peace. Rolf the Penitent breaks that peace. He is your burden.”

Meanwhile, he has a nasty injury, and the Picts to deal with. On top of that, he has had to send Llud away, and his second-in-command is fighting him over tactics. He must have felt very much alone.

When matters are resolved, Arthur is still unhappy that he has to ally himself with men of such questionable morals, but pragmatically admits, “Good or bad, we need Rolf.” Realpolitik comes to Camelot …

'A man on a horse is worth ten on foot'

There were a lot of horses used in this episode – 16 in total, according to the call sheet.

In the opening scene, Herward rides to Arthur’s rescue on Blondie; his two cavalrymen are riding two horses seen for the first time in this episode, a chestnut with and irregular blaze and snip, who will be referred to as “Flame”, and a black or dark brown horse with a triangular star, irregular stripe, and wide snip, dubbed “Pythagoras.”


When Llud arrives at Rolf’s village, he is riding his usual horse, Curly, with whom he sticks for the whole episode. His attendants are on Flame, and the bay with the white star, James. Another bay horse stands hitched to a wagon, near the longhouse. As Llud and Rolf talk near the forge, a skewbald horse not seen before pulls a wagon past them.

When Llud takes Rolf out riding, Rolf is mounted on James. The two horses in the corral are Flame, and the grey horse, Jim.

Temptation (36) Temptation (38)

When Rolf rides out to attack what he thinks is a band of unarmed travellers, he is once again on James; at least three of his followers are also mounted, on Flame, Jim, Charlie (a larger bay horse with a faint star), and Merlin.

While Rolf and his men are fending off the Picts, 6 bay or chestnut horses, including Merlin and Blondie, are cropping grass in the background, seemingly unconcerned! These are presumably meant to be Rolf’s horses, though why Rolf and his men would abandon their advantage by dismounting is unclear. Also unclear is why Jim is not among them. They had him when they left the village!

Hammer of the Picts (6)

When Arthur rides to the rescue, there are 11 horses in his party, but due to the speed and the film quality, it has not been possible to identify every horse. Arthur is riding Skyline; Kai is on Pythagoras, and Llud is on Curly. James, Jim, and Merlin are also present, as well as another grey horse, probably either Pinkie or Bernie. The remaining four horses are bays or chestnuts – probably the same four unidentified individuals who were cropping grass.

As Rolf’s people return to their village, the skewbald horse pulls a cart bearing some of Rolf’s dead. Also in the party are Merlin, Jim, and Blondie, and Rolf is once more on James.

See this post for further details of the horses of "Arthur of the Britons."

Dressed to kill?

Early in the episode, Arthur wears his ring armour – which does nothing to protect him from the Picts’ knife. Kai wraps a new fur around him after Llud treats his wound; he appears to have pinched it from King Athel's throne!

Hereward's demand (56) Morcant's plot (19)

For the battle, he wears his tan tunic, and at the end of the episode he is relaxing in a blue shirt with a studded collar and cuffs.

Kai wears his studded tunic throughout the episode. Llud also wears his studded tunic, sometimes with a studded leather jacket on top. Underneath it all he wears a rather tatty white shirt, often open to the waist.

Herward is in priestly garb, similar to what he wore in “Arthur is Dead.”

Arthur is Dead (46) Hereward's demand (7)

Rolf’s outfit is fairly dull; what he lacks in colour he makes up for in bizarre behaviour.

Introducing Rolf (7)

The Picts are wearing some wonderful body paint.

Intro (6) Intro (31)

Also, they are apparently fighting in mini-skirts. Perhaps they were supposed to be kilts ...

Hammer of the Picts (7)

‘That is bloody dangerous!’

There are two battle scenes in this episode. In the first, Arthur and Llud seem to be mostly fighting hand-to-hand against the Picts. In the second, Rolf and his men defend themselves with swords, shields and spears against the knife-wielding Picts; most of Arthur’s men ride in and cut them down with swords; Kai, of course, uses his axe.

On the call sheet relating to the date when the fight scenes were filmed, listed, and underlined, as if they were of high importance, are towels – presumably to dry off the extras or stuntmen who had ended up in the river – and brandy, which the wisdom of the time said would warm them up afterwards, and be a good remedy for shock!

On the table

At Rolf’s feast, there is a pig on a spit. It’s hard to see what the rest of the spread consists of, though there are apples, and some dry bread for Rolf. He offers Llud “Adder’s Sting” to drink. This is interesting in the light of Proverbs 23:

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.

Here, it is the ruler, Rolf, who is given to appetite, and it is he who puts a knife to Llud’s throat! Proverbs 23 continues:

Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.

Perhaps Terence Feely had this in the back of his mind when writing the script.

Rolf has a dead deer ready for a future feast. It looks like the same deer Kai carries into Arthur's longhouse in “Daughter of the King.”

Feasting (24) Longhouse scene (16)

Extra! Extra!

A great many extras are used in this episode – for the Picts, and Rolf’s villagers. It was perhaps convenient that it was filmed during the school summer holidays!

Honourable mention

Rolf’s long-suffering villagers deserve a mention for putting up with their erratic leader. And Abbot Morpeth’s donkey gets points for cuteness.

Abbott Morpeth (11)


There weren’t many special effect used, but they did zoom in on the knife that buries itself in Arthur’s back! They did a similar thing with the tree branch which we are supposed to think has killed in “Arthur is Dead.”

Intro (15) Arthur is Dead (19)

What’s going on here?

Arthur says that “Today, Kai lost seven men holding them to the north … I myself saw six fall to their knives.” As the Picts’ attacks have been going on for 5 weeks, Arthur’s village should be emptier than the village of Midsomer!

While Arthur is lying waiting for Llud to finish heating his rock, Llud goes on and on about how impossible it will be to defeat the Picts, and then, with unfortunate timing, says “straight to hell” at the moment he sears Arthur’s wound. If Llud is going to make a habit of treating people’s injuries, he should do some work on his bedside manner.

Last time we saw Herward, in “Arthur is Dead”, he was calling on Celtic deities, “Nodens! Meponas! Barli!” to help him move the huge rock from on top of the sword. Now, he is a Christian. Perhaps the Celtic gods’ failure to help him move the rock led to his conversion ...

Herward complains that Rolf “ravages my cattle”; Rolf certainly has some unusual tastes!

When Llud first arrives at Rolf’s village, the sky is completely grey and cloudy. A few minutes later, it is mostly blue, with just a few clouds.

Introducing Rolf (4) Introducing Rolf (23)

Llud’s attendant is carrying a flag, but it’s hard to see what the design is; perhaps it’s meant to be a white flag of truce.

The biggest puzzle of the episode is Rolf. Sly, mercurial, sometimes sincere, often charming and funny, but always unreliable, he seems an unlikely village leader. Who put him in charge? Was the post of “Village Idiot” taken, or did the villagers decide to combine the two posts? Perhaps they were fascinated to see what he would do next – or maybe they were just along for the plundering.

There’s something odd and discomfiting about the way Rolf’s quite serious misdeeds – he steals, rapes, wounds (and maybe kills) on Llud’s watch – are played for laughs, as if he’s just a bit of a scamp getting up to mischief all the time. A scamp who can apparently eat a whole boar in one night.

Rolf is rather too easily was taken in by Llud’s story of gentle harmless people having to pay tribute to Arthur – but then, perhaps Rolf was judging Arthur by his own standards.

And why does Rolf walk over the coals, even when Llud has gone? He could quite easily have just cut straight to the plundering! It seems unlikely that he doesn’t dare break his promise to Llud; perhaps he is just playing to the crowd.

When Arthur shows up to catch the Picts by surprise, he seems to have miraculously recovered from his life-threatening knife-wound, enough to kill a few Picts himself. But he briefly becomes left-handed just before riding to Rolf's rescue.

Here he is, with his shield on his left arm, and his sword hanging to the left, ready to be drawn using his right hand. But in the next frame, he draws the sword with his left hand, and his shield is on his right arm.

vlcsnap-2017-01-13-11h26m18s941 vlcsnap-2017-01-13-11h26m55s247

As Arthur, second from the right, gallops into battle, his shield is still on his right arm, so his sword must be in his left hand. But when he rides at his first Pict, his sword is once again in his right hand, and his shield on his left arm. Presumably there was some logical or aesthetic reason these two short pieces of film were reversed, left to right.

vlcsnap-2017-01-13-11h32m32s999 vlcsnap-2017-01-13-11h32m36s921

This particular frame was also used in the opening credits, but the right way round.

vlcsnap-2017-01-13-11h26m55s247 AotB credits (6a)


Folk singer, the late Fred Wedlock (below, left) makes a cameo appearance as Rolf’s minstrel, though he doesn’t get to sing. His widow says: “He is sitting, playing a dulcimer, which HTV covered in an animal skin. I still have it now!”

Feasting (5) Aftermath (8)

Meic Stevens (above, right) makes another appearance as Arthur’s minstrel, Cabot: once again, playing a mandolin, altered to look like a crwth. He sings:

Rolf the Widow-Maker, fought the Painted Ones.
Found his penance in the slaying.
Rolf the Penitent shrived his sinning
Mourned his dead … paid his paying.

Some of the 34 tracks of incidental music, beautifully written and orchestrated for the series by Paul Lewis, used in this episode, were:

8. Kai the Saxon/Skirmish and Rout: Arthur is wounded; Herward arrives.
28. Purposeful March: Llud arrives at Rolf’s village.
6. Infiltration and Treachery: Abbot Morpeth tells Rolf he must obey Llud.
2. Sinister March: The temptation of Rolf.
26. Evil Stirs: Llud witnesses the results of Rolf’s activities; Rolf walks over hot coals.
8. Kai the Saxon/Skirmish and Rout: Arthur arrives at the battlefield.
10. Battle on Horseback/Bitter Victory: Victory over the Picts
25. Arthur is Dead: Rolf and his people return with their dead.
The whole suite of music, written by Paul Lewis, is available on CD.


Arthur …………….... Oliver Tobias
Kai ……………….… Michael Gothard
Llud ………………... Jack Watson
Rolf ……………….... Clive Revill
Abbot Morpeth …….. Hedley Goodall
Herward ………….… Michael Graham Cox
Cabot …………….… Meic Stevens
Minstrel ………….…. Fred Wedlock


Director ………….…. Patrick Dromgoole
Story ………………... Terence Feely
Executive Producer …. Patrick Dromgoole
Producer …………….. Peter Miller
Associate Producer …. John Peverall
Production Manager … Keith Evans
Post-production …….. Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ……… Peter Brayham
Cameraman ………… Tony Impey
Camera Operator …… Brian Morgan
Editor ……………….. Terry Maisey
Sound recordist …….. Bob Stokes
Dubbing mixer ……… John Cross
Art Director ………… Doug James
Assistant Director …… Dennis Elliott
Production Assistant … Ann Rees
Costume Design .……. Audrey MacLeod
Make-up ……………. Christine Penwarden
Incidental music …….. Paul Lewis
Theme music ……….. Elmer Bernstein
This piece of film was found for sale on an auction site, and transferred to DVD. As there is no soundtrack, the technician couldn't tell what the correct speed should be, so this is slightly slow.

The opening scene where the Picts attack Arthur and Llud is missing.

There is a different and much shorter title sequence than used in the broadcast series at the beginning, with no main actor credits, and different footage behind the ones that are there. The credits are on a slant!

The opening scene where the Picts attack Arthur and Llud is missing.

We jump straight into the bit with Herward, and Llud heating the stone.

The close-ups of Arthur, when he is having his wound cauterised, are missing.

It starts again with close up shots of Herward complaining about Rolf, and carries on the same as the episode, until Rolf throws a knife at one of his people, then it cuts off.
This call sheet, kindly provided by Mrs Barbara Hatherall, establishes the date on which the two main battles scenes for The Penitent Invader were filmed: 10 August 1972.

Scenes of general melée were filmed first, at 6:30, while the main actors were in make-up. Some of the Celts and Picts were played by stuntmen; presumably they were involved in fights, or had to fall in the river.

Someone called “Maria” is listed among Arthur’s Cavalry, though there doesn’t appear to be a woman among them. This is thought to refer to Maria Tolwinska, the niece of Ben Ford, who supplied the horses.1

Artists from the Animation department, a chestpad, blood and a knife were needed to simulate Arthur’s knife wound.

Call sheet Penitent Invader 10 Aug 1972 small

For the scenes filmed at 11:00 – the fight between Rolf and the Picts – a total of 16 horses are needed. Also listed, and underlined, as if they were of high importance, are towels – presumably to dry off the extras or stuntmen who had been in the river – and brandy, which the wisdom of the time said would warm them up afterwards!

At 12:30, the scene where the abbot goes about the battlefield, blessing the dead, was filmed.

Jack Watson only took half an hour in make-up, as did Michael Gothard, but it took 45 minutes to make up Oliver Tobias; Michael Graham-Cox, and Hedley Goodall, who played the abbot, took an hour and a half.

Oliver Tobias was staying at St Mary’s House, Wrington, and was brought to the location in a taxi. Once again, George Cook supplied the catering, but for this day’s shoot, there would be about 110 people.

1 See this article from the Western Daily Press, 11 September 1972: "Back to school for King Arthur’s knights"


Arthur of the Britons

August 2015

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