Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

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Gunpowder, Treason & Plot
Written by Jimmy McGovern
Directed by Gillies MacKinnon
Starring Clémence Poésy
Kevin McKidd
Robert Carlyle
Tim McInnerny
Emilia Fox
Michael Fassbender
Music by John E. Keane
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Cinematography Nigel Willoughby
Editor(s) Pia Di Ciaula
Running time 205 min (2 parts)
Distributor BBC
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 16:9 576i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 14 March (2004-03-14) – 21 March 2004 (2004-03-21)

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot is a 2004 BBC miniseries based upon the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son James VI of Scotland. The writer Jimmy McGovern tells the story behind the Gunpowder Plot in two parts, each centred on one of the monarchs.

Directed by Gillies MacKinnon and filmed in Romania with a key Scottish crew, the first film dramatizes the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots, played by French actress Clémence Poésy, and her third husband, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell played by Kevin McKidd. Scottish actor Robert Carlyle stars as James VI in the second part of the series, which concentrates on the Gunpowder Plot, planned by Guy Fawkes, to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to rid the nation of a Protestant monarch to be replaced by a Catholic one. McGovern had previously covered the Plot in the one-hour play Traitors for BBC2's Screenplay strand, transmitted on 5 November 1990.


Episode 1 opens with Mary, Queen of Scots, who is in exile in France returning to Scotland in 1561. Mary's first husband in Scotland is Lord Darnley who participates in the extra-judicial killing of David Rizzio. James I is born out Mary's first marriage. Mary's final husband is long-time paramour Bothwell.

The opening scene of Episode 2 is in Scotland in 1587 showing James I saying, "I have every right to hate you [his mother Mary]".


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