Gunpowder (TV series)

Last updated

Gunpowder TV series titlecard.JPG
Genre Period drama
Developed by
Written by
  • Ronan Bennett
Directed by J Blakeson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes3 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Kit Harington
  • Ollie Madden
  • Daniel West
  • Stephen Wright
ProducerLaurie Borg
CinematographyPhilipp Blaubach
Running time60 minutes
Production company Kudos
Distributor Endemol Shine UK
Original network
Picture format 16:9 1080p
Audio format Stereo
Original release21 October (2017-10-21) 
4 November 2017 (2017-11-04)
External links
BBC website

Gunpowder is a British historical drama television miniseries produced by Kudos and Kit Harington’s Thriker Films for BBC One. The three-part drama series premiered on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 21 October 2017 and on HBO in the United States on 18 December 2017. [1]


It was developed by Ronan Bennett, Kit Harington and Daniel West and is based on the Gunpowder Plot in London in 1605. The series stars Harington, who is a direct descendant of his character Robert Catesby. [2] J Blakeson directed the series. [3]





In February 2017, the BBC ordered Gunpowder, then announced the three-part drama series was to be developed by Ronan Bennett, Kit Harington and Daniel West, written by Ronan Bennett and produced by Kudos. The series stars Kit Harington, Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss, and Liv Tyler, and is directed by J Blakeson. [4] Filming started in late February 2017. [5]

Filming locations included the National Trust's East Riddlesden Hall and Fountains Abbey, alongside popular visitor attractions such as Oakwell Hall, Ripley Castle, Haddon Hall, Kirkstall Abbey, Bolton Abbey, Lendal Bridge in York City Centre and the famous Ilkley Moor. Beverley Minster depicted the regal splendour of the Palace of Westminster. [6]


All three episodes were available on the BBC iPlayer following the terrestrial broadcast of the first episode. [7]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [8]
1"Episode 1" J Blakeson Ronan Bennett 21 October 2017 (2017-10-21)9.33
It is 1603, and as England wars with Spain and the bloody persecution of Catholics intensifies, a young nobleman resolves to avenge his kin and defend his faith by any means necessary. [9]
2"Episode 2"J BlakesonRonan Bennett28 October 2017 (2017-10-28)7.49
As the king's network of spies close in on them, Catesby and Wintour attempt to raise an army for their plot across mainland Europe. Returning to London with Guy Fawkes in tow, Catesby assembles his gang of plotters for the first time. They know they must act fast, and the plan is formed—they will strike next week, 5 November, at the opening of Parliament. [10]
3"Episode 3"J BlakesonRonan Bennett4 November 2017 (2017-11-04)5.25
On the eve of 5 November, Catesby, Fawkes and the plotters load the tunnels below Parliament with barrels of gunpowder. Across the city, Father Garnet is under pressure to reveal Catesby's plot for the good of the Catholic faith. [11]


Gunpowder premiered on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 21 October 2017. [4] The series premiered in the United States on HBO on 18 December 2017. [12]


On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 72% based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 7.25/10. [13] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the series has a score 63 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". [14]

The initial reaction to the first episode was mired with complaints from viewers about the depicted scenes of torture, nudity and disembowelment, despite the broadcast time being 10 minutes after the watershed of 9 pm. In response to complaints, the BBC said: "The scenes aired after 9.30pm with a clear warning given to viewers before the episode started. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact and reflect what took place during the time of the gunpowder plot." It was described as 'a very good drama' by other viewers. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Guy Fawkes English member of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605

Guy Fawkes, also known as Guido Fawkes while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who was involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was born and educated in York; his father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic.

Gunpowder Plot Failed assassination attempt against King James I

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby who sought to restore the Catholic monarchy from the Church of England after decades of intolerance against Catholics.

Robert Catesby English conspirator

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Francis Tresham 16th-century English assassination conspirator

Francis Tresham, eldest son of Thomas Tresham and Merial Throckmorton, was a member of the group of English provincial Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I of England.

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Robert and Thomas Wintour Members of the Gunpowder plot

Robert Wintour and Thomas Wintour, also spelt Winter, were members of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed conspiracy to assassinate King James I. Brothers, they were related to other conspirators, such as their cousin, Robert Catesby, and a half-brother, John Wintour, also joined them following the plot's failure. Thomas was an intelligent and educated man, fluent in several languages and trained as a lawyer, but chose instead to become a soldier, fighting for England in the Low Countries, France, and possibly in Central Europe. By 1600, however, he changed his mind and became a fervent Catholic. On several occasions he travelled to the continent and entreated Spain on behalf of England's oppressed Catholics, and suggested that with Spanish support a Catholic rebellion was likely.

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Thomas Percy (Gunpowder Plot) English conspirator

Thomas Percy was a member of the group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A tall, physically impressive man, little is known of his early life beyond his matriculation in 1579 at the University of Cambridge, and his marriage in 1591 to Martha Wright. In 1596 his second cousin once removed, Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, appointed him constable of Alnwick Castle and made him responsible for the Percy family's northern estates. He served the earl in the Low Countries in about 1600–1601, and in the years before 1603 was his intermediary in a series of confidential communications with King James VI of Scotland.

John and Christopher Wright Members of the Gunpowder Plot 1605

John (Jack) Wright, and Christopher (Kit) Wright, were members of the group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Lords. Their sister married another plotter, Thomas Percy. Educated at the same school in York, the Wrights had early links with Guy Fawkes, the man left in charge of the explosives stored in the undercroft beneath the House of Lords. As known recusants the brothers were on several occasions arrested for reasons of national security. Both were also members of the Earl of Essex's rebellion of 1601.

Robert Keyes English criminal

Robert Keyes was a member of the group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605. He was the sixth man to join the plot.

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.

Thomas Bates

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John Grant (Gunpowder Plot)

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The Gunpowder Plot was a failed assassination attempt against King James VI of Scotland and I of England by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby. The conspirators' aim was to blow up the House of Lords at the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605, while the king and many other important members of the aristocracy and nobility were inside. The conspirator who became most closely associated with the plot in the popular imagination was Guy Fawkes, who had been assigned the task of lighting the fuse to the explosives.

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J Blakeson English film director and screenwriter

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