Arthur The King

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What to expect

The lavish seven-part saga of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

‘Wonderful… pure pleasure’ The Listener

The Arthurian legends have long held a powerful grip on our collective imagination, inspiring numerous poets, novelists and playwrights to interpret them in countless different ways. In this epic play cycle, based on Malory’s classic Le Morte D’Arthur, Graeme Fife gives us his dramatic, in-depth retelling of these perennially popuar myths. Focusing on seven key characters: Merlin, Tristram, Gareth, Lancelot, Galahad, Guenever and Arthur himself, he builds a vivid, multi-layered picture of the fabled king and his heroic knights.

We hear the tales of Merlin, the great magician, brought down by the beautiful Nimue; Tristram and his illicit passion for Isolde; and the mysterious ‘Beaumains’, who sets out to rescue an unknown, besieged lady from Castle Perilous. Here, too, are the stories of Sir Lancelot du Lac, the Queen’s champion and jewel of the Round Table; his saintly son, Galahad; Guenever, whose love for him will tear Camelot apart – and Arthur, the King, who chose the sword Excalibur over its scabbard, and sealed his fate. And behind them all lurks the shadow of Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s nemesis, and Mordred, the son destined to destroy him…

Told in allusive, poetic language, and with majestic, evocative music by Steven Faux, this sumptuous drama is full of enchantment, adventure, chivalry and courtly love. It stars Keith Baxter as Arthur, with Paul Scofield as Merlin, Anna Massey as Morgan le Fay, Nicholas Farrell as Lancelot and Jill Balcon as Guenever.

Cast and credits
Written by Graeme Fife
Music by Stephen Faux
Produced and directed by John Powell

Main Cast
Arthur (man and boy) – Keith Baxter
Morgan le Fay – Anna Massey
Merlin – Paul Scofield
Lancelot du Lac – Nicholas Farrell
Gareth – Crawford Logan
Tristram – Rupert Frazer
Lady Guenever – Jill Balcon
Sir Galahad – Benny Young

Other Cast
Nimue – Tara Dominick King Vortigern – Michael Graham Cox,
Uther Pendragon/ Sir Dinadan – James Greene, Merlin (child) – Jill Lidstone,
Sir Kay – Michael Kilgarriff, Archbishop – John Moffatt, Isolde – Sarah Badel,
King Mark – John Franklyn-Robbins, Sir Pellinore – Jonathan Scott, Sir Dinadan – James Greene, Lynet – Rosalind Shanks, Sir Gawain – Ioan Meredith, King Pelles – Maurice Denham,
His daughter, Lady Elaine – Eva Haddon, Sir Perceval – Ian Saynor,
Prince Morded – Tom Hunsinger, Elaine of Astolat – Moir Leslie,
The Hermit Naciens – Peter Penry-Jones, Sir Bors – Douglas Blackwell, Abbot – John Bull,
Sir Agravain – Angus Pope, Sir Bedivere – Edward de Souza
and Brian Miller, Simon Treves and Vincent Brimble, Jo Kendall, Marcia King, Donald Gee

Episode List


First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11 November 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 18 November 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 25 November 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 2 December 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 9 December 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 16 December 1990

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 December 1990

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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