A forgotten Series Brought Back to Life, Just.
From the dusty vaults of the BBC comes a 1967 series based around the second book about the Kings Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo) set twenty years after the events of 1625-8. This series was prime time weekend telly of the era. Directed by Christopher Barry (Dr Who, Z Cars, All Creatures Great and Small) and Hugh David (Dr Who, The Pallisers) they bring together a stellar cast that play their parts in a serious manner, unlike the slapstick style of later films. The serious niggle with the release is that little has been done to clean up the original tapes, watching these episodes with headphones on was a real pain from the background hiss, this seems to be a trait with the BBC releases, only on DVD and do as little work on it as possible. (Just my humble opinion) But the acting alone is worth the niggles.
France is now in turmoil with the royalists and the rebellion, d’Artagnan (Joss Ackland, Leathal Weapon 2, The Hunt for Red October) reminisces about the old adventures and tells us that Athos (Jeremy Young, Hopscotch, Photographing Fairies) is retired and Aramis (John Woodvine, An American Werewolf in London) has turned to God and become a priest, whilst Porthos (Brian Blessed, Flash, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) got married and settled down. A young King Louis XIV (Louis Selwyn, Cry of the Banshee) sits on his throne with his mother Anne (Carole Potter,The Three Musketeers) by her side and Cardinal Mazarin (William Dexter, Young Winston) pulling the real strings from behind the throne.
Now d’Artagnan is still in the army as a lieutenant, transporting Mazarin’s main enemy the President Broussel (Charles Carson, The Dam Busters) who has been arrested, thus disbanding the government on the Kings orders. Riding in a carriage, they run into congested streets and an old enemy of d’Artagnan’s, Rochefort (Edward Brayshaw, Rentaghost) who manages to free Broussel whilst the Musketeer tries to deal with the angry mob.
This puts a fly in the ointment for Mazarin as now that Broussel is free they can mount a plan to release Prince de Beaufort (John Quentin, Gandhi) from his lofty castle keep. To stop this d’Artagnan is charged with finding the Queens old heroes the Musketeers.
Now d’Artagnan must become detective and find where his old companions are. This he does with great efficiency, but his old friends have different opinions on who should run the country, but even as it comes to a head they will always be.
“All for One and One for All!”
With sixteen episodes this is a great series and Joss Ackland is excellent as d’Artagnan and as we all know that Brian Blessed is a larger than life character and that is how he plays Porthos, excellent.