Extra, Barbara Hatherall and cameraman, Roger Pearce remembered filming at Woodborough Mill Farm near the village of Woollard. This was where Ulrich's village in "The Gift of Life", Rolf's village in "The Penitent Invader", Cerdig's village in "In Common Cause", Yorath's village in "Rowena", Col's village in "The Slaves", and Arthur's village in the later episodes, were set.

In "The Gift of Life", this is the wood from which Kai and the children emerge, and into which Kai flees from his Saxon pursuers.

Match 1 (2)

Here is the location as it appeared in 2014; the young sapling left of centre in the scene above seems to have grown.

Match 1
Read more... )
Meic Stevens is an acclaimed Welsh folk singer. This is a photo from 1972.

Stevens, Meic

He appears in “Arthur is Dead”, playing a Celt named Cabot, who is also Arthur’s Minstrel; in "The Gift of Life" as Ulrich's minstrel; in "Enemies and Lovers", as the minstrel who accompanies Goda, and at the end of "The Penitent Invader", when he sings for Arthur once more.

Arthur is Dead (64) Victory (14)

He was kind enough to set down a few memories.

Thanks for the letter and pictures. I’d almost forgot all that stuff, long time ago.

HTV had built an ancient village in the Forest of Dean. It was brilliantly built and the hall (Arthur’s) was real, thatched roofs etc, stockade.

It was a beautiful spot, but very muddy! The production had started off trying to look authentic, of the period (Dark Ages), but the weather wasn’t kind, so we rejected the original shoes, which were not waterproof because they were made of hessian-like cloth. We finally got leather boots which were modern. We could have done with wellies!

My hair was long and dark brown then, and they wouldn’t let us shave.

Patrick Dromgoole was the producer, and they hired actors who were quite well known like Hillary Dwyer, Brian Blessed etc. We all stayed in the Unicorn Hotel, Bristol. 1

Anyway, Oliver Tobias was an up and coming actor; good-looking. Some of the others had been members of the Old Vic, Royal Shakespeare Company, RADA, etc.

It was a bit of a soap really – a historical soap!

The instrument I played was a mandolin, disguised as a Welsh crwth. I remember quite well, I did it myself. I also wrote the lyrics of the songs.

Aftermath (8)

In one of the pictures, I am playing a Saxon, and the instrument is a dud, just a board with ordinary ‘strings strings.’ I recorded the musical bits (songs) in a studio in Bristol, and mimed.

Celebration (11)

It was a wig I was wearing as Athel’s minstrel. 2

Magic (3)

Anyway, can’t remember much more, it’s pretty boring on a film set in the middle of nowhere! Sometimes we’d walk (me and some of the actors) down this earthen track about a mile or two to the road, where lay a country pub. We were in there one afternoon, playing darts, when some American tourists came in to find half a dozen Celtic warriors playing darts and a pile of swords and spears in the corner. They didn’t make any comment, but left rather hurriedly.

1 Call sheets 35 and 36 show Clive Revill being collected from the Unicorn.
2 This instrument seems to be the one Meic Stevens described as a dud. The one he plays as Ulrich’s Saxon minstrel looks like the same one he uses when working for Arthur, with a bit of added fur!
This photo is courtesy of camera operator, Roger Pearce, who says:

This shot is from our Woodchester Park location: me, operating the camera on the left, as one or two scallywags hurriedly exit the Long House, lake in background.

Arthur 2b

The "scallywags" are Morcant's men, who attack Arthur's village, only to find it deserted.

The episode opens with Arthur and Kai being brought as captives into King Athel’s village. Morcant, who appears to be in command, accuses them of being Saxon spies, and tells a Warrior to kill them quickly. But before the command can be carried out, the old, blind King Athel appears, establishes Arthur’s identity, and berates Morcant for his supposed mistake. He introduces Arthur and Kai to a worried-looking young man called Tarn, who is his grandson, and only living relative. During the introductions, Kai only has eyes for a young woman in the crowd.

At the feast that is held to welcome Arthur and Kai, the young woman sings a love song, clearly directing it at Kai. He follows her down to a meadow, where it transpires that he and the woman, Goda, were once close, but Kai went away to fight, and Goda moved on. Kai tries to persuade Goda to leave Athel’s village and return home with him. She says it is too late – she is betrothed to Morcant.

The next morning, when Arthur and Kai are preparing to return home, Kai hangs back, still hoping that Goda will change her mind, and come with him. Arthur complains about his lovesick behaviour, saying he shouldn’t expect her to come running when he calls. But Goda appears, Kai helps her onto his horse, and they depart.

Morcant persuades King Athel to allow him to take some men to join Arthur in fighting the Saxons. He then reveals to the Warrior that he has a spy in Arthur’s camp, who will discover the system of defences that protects Arthur’s people. His true intention is not to join Arthur, but to launch a sneak attack on his village.

When Arthur and Kai arrive home, Kai immediately announces that he and Goda are to be wed, in three days’ time, and invites everyone to a celebration feast. Llud seems delighted, but Arthur is clearly less than happy.

Goda goes to investigate the area around the village, and accidentally triggers Arthur’s warning system, which the villager manning them helpfully explains to her. She immediately relays the information to the Warrior from her village, who is hiding in the undergrowth.

On her return, Kai asks where she’s been, and tries to persuade her to go for a ‘walk’ with him, but she fobs him off.

Early next morning, Kai decides he can’t wait the three days it will take for the abbot to arrive, so he goes to the hut where Goda is supposed to be sleeping. Finding her and her belongings gone, he immediately wakes Arthur and Llud, who realise that their defences are compromised.

Meanwhile, Morcant arrives with a small force, intending to kill everyone in what he assumes is a sleeping village. But he finds all the huts empty. Kai and Llud lead the cavalry down the path towards him, and Arthur and his foot soldiers spring up from hiding to block Morcant’s escape.

Heavily out-numbered, Morcant’s men refuse to engage Arthur’s superior force, so Arthur leaves it to Kai to deal with Morcant, in single combat. They fight, and Kai drowns Morcant in the lake.

Arthur returns to King Athel’s village, and – sword in hand – enters a hut where Tarn cowers away from him. At the same time, Kai enters a hut where Goda is sleeping, and wakes her with the blade of his axe.

When Arthur comes out, King Athel – who knows that Kai killed Morcant, and fears the Arthur has killed Tarn – accuses Arthur of treachery. Arthur tells him Tarn is alive, and tries to explain that it was Morcant who was the traitor, but Athel won’t listen to reason. He insists that they are now enemies, though his attempts to fight Arthur are futile.

Arthur and Kai meet on the return journey, have a terse exchange, and gallop into the distance together.

Author note

Scott Forbes was an Oxford-educated actor, who worked in the US and in England; he took up screen-writing later in life.


“Enemies and Lovers” was originally shown as episode 9 of season 1, but seems to have been filmed before most of the episodes shown earlier.

Oliver Tobias still looks a bit fragile following the injury suffered in “The Challenge”; when they arrive home, instead of his usual casual slide down his horse’s neck, Arthur accepts help, leaning on the lad taking his horse.

Wedding announced (5) Wedding announced (7)

In the scene where Kai drowns Morcant, Oliver Tobias may even be wearing some sort of protective gear under a rather high collar.

Morcant defeated (93)

Perhaps – as well as the need for Kai to redeem himself in the eyes of the village – Oliver’s injury was a practical reason why Kai is the one to fight Morcant.

In the German book, “Konig Arthur”, and in the German DVD set, "Enemies and Lovers" appears immediately after “The Challenge”, and before “The Gift of Life.” However, in “The Gift of Life”, some of the buildings in Arthur's village were set on fire.

burning village small copy

So at least some of "The Gift of Life” must have been filmed before "Enemies and Lovers", because in some shots from "Enemies and Lovers", the charred remains of buildings can be seen.

Morcant attacks (21)

Suggested shooting order so far

Arthur is Dead
Daughter of the King
The Challenge
The Gift of Life
Enemies and Lovers


Arthur’s people are still living in the village by the lake, at Woodchester.

Goda deceives (6) Morcant defeated (2)

Morcant defeated (4) Morcant defeated (74)

“Enemies and Lovers” is the last episode to feature this location.

King Athel’s village is the one built at Woodborough Mill Farm, Wollard, and first seen in “The Gift of Life.”

Welcome (23) Match 1 GoL (3)

In its incarnation as Ulrich's village, there were only about five huts in the entire settlement.

vlcsnap-2014-08-07-23h05m12s63 Arrival at Athel's

A few more huts have been added since then, as well as a new trackway into the village, and Arthur and Kai are marched past what looks like the skeleton of another new building.

Welcome (17) You are mine (20)

The bridge is clearly the same one in both episodes. But while Kai and Goda's first conversation occurs by the stream - actually the river Chew - in King Athel's village at Woollard, some of it was filmed near a much larger body of water - probably one of the lakes at Woodchester.

You are mine (75)

The Villager’s statement that “It’ll take a day and a half to ride to Glevum, and a day and a half back” hints that Arthur’s village is 30 - 40 miles from Gloucester. The Wollard location is actually about 35 miles south west of Gloucester.

Inside Information

Hilary Dwyer, who played Goda, was later to marry Duncan Heath, and help run Duncan Heath & Associates, the actors’ agency that represented Michael Gothard from 1978 to 1982.

Cast notes

Esmond Knight, who played King Athel, had a career spanning nearly 6 decades.

Athel’s grandson, Tarn, is played by the young Peter Richardson, who later masterminded and starred in the "Comic Strip" spoofs.

The Tragedy of King Athel

The political situation in King Athel’s village is reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy, with the blind and foolish old king, the evil plotting couple, and the innocent young heir to the throne.

Morcant seems to have made it standard procedure to detain any strangers caught near Athel’s village: a deliberate attempt to isolate King Athel and his grandson Tarn from anyone who might speak against him, or give them any support. Clearly recognising Arthur and Kai, Morcant orders their summary execution. Perhaps he already knows about his betrothed’s prior association, and wants to get rid of a romantic rival; perhaps his main target is Arthur, as a political rival.

Utterly ruthless (Morcant later tells his men to leave no man, woman or child alive during his attack on Arthur’s village) it seems quite possible that Morcant was responsible for the death of Tarn’s parents; nevertheless, King Athel has agreed that in the event of his own death, Morcant will be regent until his grandson Tarn comes of age. Tarn seems painfully aware that when King Athel dies, his own life will be forfeit, though the old king is oblivious to the danger. The only time Tarn seems relaxed is when greeting the important visitors, perhaps seeing, in Arthur, a glimmer of hope.

The day Arthur appears Athel’s longhouse, sword in hand, is the day Tarn has been expecting for most of his young life – but he thought that the man with a sword who came when he was alone would be Morcant. Rather than killing him, Arthur backs Tarn into Athel’s throne. Very soon, he will have to take up the old king’s responsibilities.

Dark Age Men

Kai – as so often – allows himself to be led by his emotions. He knows what he wants, and goes after it. Whether or not he really searched for Goda for three seasons, he certainly makes a pretty speech about it, and claims her as his own.

“As the hawk drops from the sky, from this moment you are mine.” “Your prey?” “Aye, and my woman.”

Perhaps when she calls out, “Kai! It’s too late now”, she is trying to warn him of the disaster that is about to strike, but Kai ignores her protests and Arthur’s scepticism, and behaves like a love-struck teenager. As soon as they arrive home, Kai announces his love to the world, extravagantly inviting everyone to his wedding celebration.

If everything had gone to plan, this might have given his status a considerable boost; he would be entertaining the whole village, and marrying a Celt of some apparent importance: "Goda, Daughter of Hywel." As it turns out, his gamble almost costs him everything.

For any man, to be abandoned by the woman he loved, on the eve of marriage, is the kind of thing that could scar him for life. But Kai’s tragedy isn’t only a personal concern. His error of judgement in welcoming a spy into Arthur’s camp has endangered the whole village, and when he realises this, he almost breaks down. For a man in Kai’s position – a warrior who needs to keep the confidence of the men he leads into battle – such a public humiliation could have dealt a mortal wound to his reputation.

Understanding this perfectly, Arthur gives Kai the chance to retrieve something from the wreckage, by despatching Morcant.

Having disarmed his enemy, Kai chooses to fight him bare-handed, and when Arthur offers him a hand out of the water, he seems reluctant to take it. Perhaps he thinks it would have been easier if Morcant had put him out of his misery. Nevertheless, he has got a little pride back.

There is just one more thing he must do. In one of the darkest moments in the whole series, Kai finds Goda sleeping, and wakes her with his axe. Goda spied on Arthur’s people, and betrayed them to their enemy; traitors must die. Though the details are left to our imagination, Kai later tells Arthur: “She got what she deserved.”

"By the Gods!"

Arthur says “Heaven help us” when he realises Goda is coming home with them.

Kai sends for Felix, Abbot of Gloucester, to conduct the official marriage service. This may have been simply a status symbol; Kai has never shown any religious inclinations before. But he intends to at least appear to do this by the book, so he sends Goda to stay with Selvira, one of the village women, who - judging by her garb - may be a member of a religious order.

Wedding announced (20)

The best laid plans …

Having been prevented from killing Arthur and Kai on the spot, Morcant sets Goda up to ensnare Kai, who is only too willing to believe that she will leave her betrothed for him. However, when Goda discovers the secret of Arthur’s defences, Morcant’s plan - “We attack, from there!” - is somewhat lacking in tactical genius.

Arthur’s evacuation of the village must have been accomplished with great despatch; it seems likely that he had drilled his people for just this contingency.

Great moments

Kai, somehow managing to swagger with his hands tied behind his back.
Goda calling Kai, “You pig!” and his amused reaction to it.
Arthur’s expression when Goda shows up for the return journey, and when Kai throws her luggage to him to carry.
The subtle interaction between Arthur and Kai before and after Kai fights Morcant.


Arthur sums up Kai’s problem: “He has a sickness – one that reoccurs every time he sees a pretty face.”

Arthur’s wisdom

Wise or not, Arthur seems to have learned that fighting Kai over a woman is pointless. He fought him over Eithna in “Daughter of the King.” This time, he seems to accept that “if a man and a woman want to be together, they will be together. That’s the law.”

Family Ties

The information Arthur gives to Athel – that his father was slain at the Battle of Ilchester, and that Athel gave his mother the circular clasp Arthur now wears – is the first we hear of Arthur’s parents.

The esteem in which Llud is widely held is shown when Athel says of Kai, “It is enough that you’re the son of Llud, to be welcome at my hearth.”

Celts and Saxons

Morcant tries to use the Celt/Saxon conflict to further his own ends, first claiming to think the Arthur and Kai are Saxon spies – which, given Arthur’s complexion, he could only hope to get away with because King Athel is blind – and then pretending he wants to help Arthur fight the Saxons, though for some reason he says they are coming “from the far north.” King Athel is well aware of the Saxon problem: “It was ever so.”

‘A man on a horse is worth ten on foot’

When Arthur arrives at King Athel’s village, his captors are leading Bernie; the Warrior walks past Skyline, who is tethered nearby. When Arthur leaves the village, he is riding Skyline. He rides the same horse on his second departure from Athel’s, but when he meets up with Kai, he is riding Bernie again.

Predictably, it is Merlin, the same – evidently strong and reliable – horse who carried Kai and the children to Ulrich’s in “The Gift of Life”, who carries Kai and Goda back to Arthur’s village. When Kai rides back after his final encounter with Goda, he is riding Merlin’s stand-in, Smudge.

When they ambush Morcant, Llud is riding Curly. Blondie is among the Celts’ horses.

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

Dressed to kill?

Arthur wears a leather tunic we haven’t seen before. At the beginning, he is also wearing a blue cloak, with the metal clasp King Athel recognised as having been a gift from himself to Arthur’s mother.

Kai wears the same suede/leather shirt as in The Challenge, or one very similar. When he goes to look for Goda on the morning of the attack, he throws on the big cloak with the fur trim. For the rest of the episode, Arthur wears his ring armour, and Kai wears his studded tunic.

Llud also wears a studded tunic, seen before in “Arthur is Dead” and "Daughter of the King."

Morcant defeated (6) Arthur vs Mark (56)

The same tunic was later worn by Robin of Sherwood (played by David Robb) in “Ivanhoe”: a film in which Michael Gothard appeared as a Saxon prince, Athelstan.

IE (21) IC (36)

Morcant wears two different tunics; the one he wears to attack Arthur’s village is more elaborate than the one he wears at Athel’s.

Goda wears a striking – and expensive-looking – blue dress for the whole episode, except for during the scene where she sings at the feast, when – like most of the other women – she wears grey.

King Athel and his grandson Tarn are both also unaccountably clad in dresses.

Athel and Tarn (2)

Perhaps it is indicative of their rank, but Tarn’s, which reaches only to his knees, is particularly emasculating. King Athel later dons a battle helmet with no eye holes.

‘That is bloody dangerous!’

Kai finds both Arthur and Llud sleeping with weapons in their hands. When Arthur’s people ambush Morcant’s, they are armed with swords, spears and shields.

The only real fight in the episode is between Kai and Morcant: Kai’s axe against Morcant’s sword. Kai easily relieves Morcant of his weapon, then they fight hand-to-hand. Morcant also grabs a long pole to jab at Kai, who then drowns him in the lake.

Some interesting filming techniques and angles are used for this fight. This may be partly in an effort to disguise the use of a stunt double for Morcant.

Morcant defeated (73) Morcant defeated (66)

On the table

Athel’s feast includes the usual liberal helpings of grapes and apples. Also, some melons, what might be gooseberries, a pheasant, and what appears to be a small pig on a spit.

Honourable mention

You have to feel sorry for the people of Athel's village. While loyal to their King, they clearly realise that he's lost his grip. Despite Athel’s declaration that Arthur is an enemy, one of them helps Arthur onto his horse, and no one makes any attempt to stop him from leaving, while their King is slashing wildly with his sword, trying to kill him.

Also, the Warrior deserves some credit for his sensible response to Morcant’s ridiculous command to attack Arthur and his men: “There’s too many of them.”

What’s going on here?

Arthur’s reaction to Kai’s romance with Goda is interesting. At first he appears genuinely amused, but when he realises Kai is serious about her, his expression runs through anger and contempt, to utter shock and devastation when Goda actually shows up. One might have expected that his main concern would be the political ramifications; Kai is, after all, stealing Goda from King Athel’s chosen second-in-command, to whom she is betrothed. But despite the outright hostility Arthur displays, he doesn’t use the political situation as a reason to stop Kai from bringing her home with him; in fact, he makes no mention if it. Perhaps Kai hasn’t told Arthur about Goda’s prior betrothal!

Kai sends for Felix, Abbot of Gloucester, to conduct the official marriage service: but the Benedictine abbey at Gloucester doesn’t appear to have been founded until about 1022 – centuries after the wedding was to take place.

Who is Hywel? King Athel tells Morcant to leave Hywel in command of the village, and Kai mentions that Goda his Hywel’s daughter, as if he were some local dignitary, but we are never introduced to him.

Arthur’s confrontation with Tarn is puzzling. Tarn gave him no reason to suspect he was in league with Morcant, yet Arthur threatens him with a sword. Perhaps having been almost murdered in his bed made Arthur tetchy.

After betraying Kai, Goda would probably have returned to King Athel’s village, which is where Arthur is returning from at the end of the episode; so why do Arthur and Kai appear from different directions before riding off together?

And finally, the audience is asked to believe that Goda would choose Morcant over Kai. This seems to be asking rather a lot of the imagination!


Once again, the minstrel – this time in King Athel’s village – is played by Meic Stevens; he plays what looks like a hummel, while Goda sings one of his songs, Love Owed.

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

6. Infiltration and Treachery: Arthur and Kai are brought to Athel’s village.
15. At Dead of Night: King Athel decides Arthur and Kai can be trusted.
18. Celtic Girl: Kai spots Goda in the crowd.
20. The Fair Rowena: Kai and Goda walk in the meadow.
30. Night Scene: Arthur berates Kai; Goda appears.
32. Children’s Games: Arthur, Kai and Goda ride home.
22. Revelry: They arrive at Arthur’s village.
6. Infiltration and Treachery: Goda investigates Arthur’s defences.
3. Celtic Horns: Goda tells the Warrior her findings.
6. Infiltration and Treachery: Goda returns to the village.
31. Lyrical Romance: Kai runs to meet Goda.
16. Danger Mounts: Morcant’s attack begins.
11. Desolation and Despair: Kai drowns Morcant.
23. Arrival of Arthur: Arthur leaves King Athel’s village.
Variations on title theme: Arthur and Kai ride home.

The whole suite of music, written by Paul Lewis, is available on CD.


Arthur ……………... Oliver Tobias
Kai .….….….….…... Michael Gothard
Llud ………….......... Jack Watson
Athel …..................... Esmond Knight
Goda ………..…....... Hilary Dwyer
Morcant ……….…… Mark Eden
Warrior …………….. Robert Russell
Minstrel …………… Meic Stevens
Villager .…………… Rex Holdsworth
Tarn …….……......... Peter Richardson


Director ……………. Sidney Hayers
Story ……………....... Scott Forbes
Executive Producer … Patrick Dromgoole
Producer ……………. Peter Miller
Associate Producer … John Peverall
Production Manager ... Keith Evans
Post-production ...…... Barry Peters
Fight Arranger ……... Peter Brayham
Incidental music ……. Paul Lewis
Theme music ……….. Elmer Bernstein
Cameraman …………. Tony Impey
Camera Operator ……. Roger Pearce
Editor ……………….. David Williams
Sound recordist ……... Bob Stokes
Dubbing mixer ……… John Cross
Art Director …………. Doug James
Assistant Director …… Simon Hinkley
Production Assistant … Maggie Hayes
Costume Design …….. Audrey MacLeod
Make-up …………….. Christine Penwarden
Saison 1, episode 9: Ennemis et amants

Auteur: Scott Forbes

Scène d'ouverture

Village d'Athel. Arthur et Kai, les mains liées, sont conduits par un guerrier vers la longue hutte. D'autres gardes les suivent.

Guerrier: Ne bouge pas.

Ils s’arrêtent. Le guerrier s'approche de la longue hutte et pénètre à l'intérieur. Kai regarde Arthur d'un air inquiet. Morcant et le guerrier émergent de la longue hutte.

Morcant: Vous êtes des éclaireurs saxons!

Kai: Absolument pas! Nous étions en train de chasser, quand vos hommes nous ont attaqués.

Morcant: Vous avez été envoyé par Cerdig pour espionner notre territoire.

Arthur: Nous sommes amis! Venez plus près, vous me connaissez.

Morcant [au guerrier]: Tuez-les immédiatement. Enterrez-les de l'autre côté de la colline.

Le guerrier s’apprête à lui obéir.

[Générique de début]

Première partie

Read more... )
Season 1, Episode 9: Enemies and Lovers

Writer: Scott Forbes


King Athel’s village. Arthur and Kai, their hands tied behind them, are being led by a Warrior, and followed by a number of guards, towards a longhouse.

Warrior: Stay.

They come to a halt. The Warrior approaches the longhouse, and goes in. Kai gives Arthur a worried look. Morcant and the Warrior emerge from the longhouse.

Morcant: You are Saxon scouts!

Kai: We are not! We were out hunting when your men attacked us.

Morcant: You have been sent by Cerdig to spy on our land.

Arthur: We’re friends. Come closer – you know me.

Morcant: [to the Warrior] Have them killed at once. Bury them on the far side of the hill.

The Warrior goes to do his bidding.


Read more... )
For the first few episodes of "Arthur of the Britons", Arthur's village was situated at Woodchester Park, near Stroud, which now belongs to the National Trust.

According to Peter Sasdy, who was engaged to direct the opening episode of the series, Arthur’s ‘village set’ was supposed to be already built when he arrived.

"However, on arriving in Bristol and being taken to see this village set, all I’ve seen in the middle of the forest were a great number of trees with big chalk marks and numbers on them. "That’s where the village WILL BE BUILT!" I was informed. Not a good start ...

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

Arthur is Dead (38)

This is the dam across the third lake, which forms a causeway into Arthur's village: scene from "Arthur is Dead."

Woodchester (24)

This is what it looked like in 2010/2011.
Read more... )


Arthur of the Britons

August 2015

161718 19202122


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Monday, 23 October 2017 06:22 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios