Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ellis Peters: medieval mysteries


Sir Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael.







Have been enjoying BBC’s Cadfael mystery series for some time. I think I've watched nearly all 13 episodes filmed back in the mid-late 90s. Available in a fantastic DVD boxset from Amazon (which I long to own), you can check them out on Netflix. Many personal websites share insight and information about the main character, Brother Cadfael, and the Shrewsbury setting.

I recognized guest actors from other shows I've enjoyed like Anna Friel (Timeline, Bathory, Pushing Daisies), Natasha McElhone (The Secret of Moonacre), Hermione Morris (BBC Spooks) to name a few. Coincidentally, it was filmed in Budapest on a set used by BBC's Robin Hood - another show I watched with great enthusiasm. Ellis Peters also writes under the pen name Edith Pargeter, whose The Brothers Gwynedd series I enjoyed about 10 years ago. Love Welsh historic fiction!

15 comments:

  1. interesting :) I haven´t any idea bout this series ejejeje!!

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  2. i've seen a handful of these episodes and they were really good :D

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  3. Ruzu - Not sure if they ever aired on BBC America or other networks and discovered them quite by accident - although a happy one!

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  4. I'm only sorry they didn't do all the books. I think I have my VHS tapes memorized now, need to replace with DVDs one day.

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  5. They were shown on PBS here in the States

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  6. Mermaiden - I think they capture the essence of everyday medieval life really well (or as I imagine it to be) without over-romanticizing it.

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  7. Ladyhawthorne - I did not know that - thanks so much for the info!! and wonder how I missed them as I'm an avid PBS viewer. I'm sure the boxed set is well worth every penny.

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  8. I did catch a few on PBS as well and loved them so much...wish they would re-air them!

    Can't remember how long ago it was with my terrible sense of time, but really enjoyed the attention to detail.

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  9. Jen - Again, I'm wondering how the PBS airing escaped my all-seeing medieval eye:) The details — interiors, simple clothing, everyday objects really helped transport the viewer. Well cast too.

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  10. The sets, real buildings, were created in Poland and they are still there though falling into disrepair. It was part of what made it an expensive series to produce and I guess why they stopped less than halfway through the book series. Derek Jacoby really IS Cadfael, I can't imagine anyone else playing him. And Jacoby is excellent in anything he does.

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  11. I adore the Cadfael mysteries, esp. the television series - they were so lucky to get Derek Jacoby to play Cadfael! What a consummate actor. He makes the show.

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  12. Margaret - I thought he was excellent too and even though he was a "man of the cloth" I had a wee crush on him:)

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  13. I definitely need to rent these! Looks great!

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  14. Robin - Given that we have such similar viewing habits, I think you'd really enjoy. Lots of Welsh references too.

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  15. I too, love this series. There is another very engrossing novel about an old world "detective" by C.J. Sansom entitled "Dissolution". It takes in a Monastery in a later time period, the 1500's. I found this as a "book on tape" read by Simon Jones,on Amazon. That is the best way to experience it, because the actor reading the book is marvelous.

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