The Devil’s Crown – a violent historical drama the BBC has swept under the carpet

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Temple Church, effigy of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke

In 1978 – fresh from the success of its Roman romp “I Claudius”, the BBC aired a medieval historical drama from April to August of that year called “The Devil’s Crown”.

Following the stories and intrigues of the early Angevin, or Plantagenet if you prefer, monarchs from Henry II to John.

It was quite bloody as I recall, being a teenager at the time, and involved some hapless prince being castrated in a dungeon – which was certainly the talk of the school playground the next day.

Brian Cox – he of Troy and countless other movies – played Henry II.  The greatest knight that ever lived, or so it was said at the time, William Marshal – was played by former Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton.

The episodes had titles like “Bolt From The Blue”, “When Cage Birds Sing”, “Before the Dark” and “The Hungry Falcons”.

After some reticence to have the video made available on YouTube, the BBC seems to have relented and here is an episode for your enjoyment. Bit dated – but fascinating viewing:



2 Comments on “The Devil’s Crown – a violent historical drama the BBC has swept under the carpet

  1. A wonderful series, love the sets, everything looks like a medieval painting. The casting was superb, a total and priceless classic. Why it’s not available on DVD is a mystery.

    • I remember we were really shocked by some of the violence back then – seems very tame now. But some great actors. No idea why the BBC was so weird about not broadcasting it or even making it available. For years it was impossible to view. Oh well!

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