For the purposes of disclosure, I am a huge Musketeers fan, I read the Dumas novel when I was a teenager and then devoured the sequels too. I still watch the Richard Lester version with joy (I think I will have to review it another time for the Code) so I always hold my breath with anticipation when a new version is in the offing and to this day all the other screen visions have been severely lacking. Therefore, I watched the first episode of the BBC’s new television series with a sense of nervous dread.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Is it a faithful retelling of the great adventure novel, gosh no but does it capture the spirit of the book and the essence of the characters yes it does. Would I have prefered more of the original book in the plot, yes for instance I miss the consecutive duels, but I will go along with the Adrian Hodges vision for now!
Young D’Artagnan is played with handsome cockiness by Luke Pasqualino and is given a new back story of revenge by the Murder of his father. The core of the Musketeers are sketched out with the dour Athos, the boisterous Porthos and the lutful Aramis played admirably by Tom Burke, Howard Charles & Santiago Cabrera respectively.
The plot is basic, it quickly and ably introduces the main characters and revolves around saving the honour of the Musketeers and Athos’s life. These deeds which have been put in motion by the dastardly Cardinal Richelieu, played with a cold sneer by Peter Capaldi and ably assisted by the femme fatale Milady de Winter, seductively played by Maimie McCoy.
The look and the feel of the programme was what I would call historically modern, the locations in the Czech Republic where excellent and used well and gave it a more realistic feel than say Merlin.
We at PGHQ are always happy to see old-fashioned tales brought back to life well and I am happy to say that the BBC have done a fine job. I am excited to see how this plays out over the next 10 weeks with an interesting and dashing beginning under it’s belt, but if you want more in the meantime grab a copy of Richard Lesters The Three Musketeers.
All for one and one for all!
The Musketeers is a BBC Television Production