Saturday 30 March 2024

Boom Time

I'm very late to the party with this one. It was on BBC1 in 2017 and I never watched it then, but saw it was available on Netflix, so thought we would try it out. It is a three-part series. We watched part one on Saturday afternoon last week. I found it quite violent, and decided I didn't want to make it 'evening' viewing. We got home from church at 4.30 on Maundy Thursday, quite tired. "I need to watch the end of Gunpowder, or I will forget the plot" I declared. Then fell about giggling, realising what I'd just said
According to the Radio Times, it is fairly historically accurate in terms of what we know of the whole affair.
Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler, as to be expected, give brilliant performances,as does Peter Mullan [playing Jesuit priest Henry Garnet] And Guy Fawkes, although his name is the one everybody associates with November 5th, was really a very minor character.
The key figure behind it all is Robert Catesby. He is played by Kit Harington [aka Jon Snow, Game of Thrones] Kit was born Christopher Catesby Harington - named for Tudor playwright Christopher [Kit] Marlowe, and Harington's ancestor, the aforementioned Robert Catesby. So he definitely has a vested interested in the production.
Is this a terrorist or a revolutionary? Is he a guerilla or a freedom fighter? I was a student in the 70s, when 50% of my mates had posters of Che Guevara on their wall. The idea of planning to blow up the whole of Parliament, the King, Queen and all the others present [plus wives] is violence on a huge scale. Yet these were desperate men, who had seen unimaginable violence meted out upon their fellow Catholic believers by those in power.
"But were these men any different from the ones who planted a bomb intended to destroy Hitler and his generals?" asked Bob. Both groups had a passionate desire to remove the perpetrators of great evil from positions of authority, and usher in a better form of government. And both groups felt that they were doing the right thing and God was with them in their endeavours. 
I must point out that Garnet, the priest, did not condone their violence [although he did break the law by conducting Catholic Mass, and sought to evade punishment by hiding in Priest Holes etc] Annie Vaux, Catesby's cousin, whilst loving and supporting Robert did not want the killings either. 
Gunpowder was well filmed, with excellent costumes [ok I'm a geek about their clothes!] and in terms of making me think, it was good. But does the torture need to be portrayed so graphically? [even if it accurate] It has made me think, which is good. Rating ****
This is the weekend when I think about the pain that Jesus endured. Nobody should be persecuted for holding different beliefs. I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy - that tomorrow I will meet with others at sunrise, to celebrate Easter together. God be with all those who have to worship in secret, or who are in the minority in their community. 
And although I feel that our current government is totally out of touch, I'm grateful that we have a democracy and will soon have a chance to vote for a better one. 


  1. I'll have to read your post later. Thanks for your greetings.
    I wish you and your loved ones a happy Easter.
    ...see you soon Viola

  2. I completely agree about torture scenes on TV - is it me, has it got worse!?
    Because of home circumstances I'm only able to go to one Easter service, looking forward to that . And amen to your prayers for those who can't celebrate Jesus's resurrection openly.
    Alison in Wales x

    1. I am concerned that people become desensitised to it. Especially with the prevalence of violent computer games.... But bizarrely there are people who will still complain about the prevalence of crosses this weekend, even though they put up with all the other stuff all year.

    2. 👍
      Alison x

  3. I avoid violent movies as much as possible. It is impossible to unsee what is portrayed on the screen, and it is the same with violence in books.
    The history around the time of the Gunpowder plot is certainly interesting and I'm glad I didn't live in that time. One of my favourite saints is St. Margaret Clitheroe, who sheltered priests, and paid the price.

    1. I have just looked up Margaret Clitheroe. There is a school named after her in Thamesmead, London - and for a whole year I taught at a school less than half a mile away . I confess I never took time to find out about her [mind you, we didnt have google back then!]

  4. Not my kind of movie either even if it is on Netflix. That, of course is okay.
    Remember, the winners write the history books!


  5. I don't think I'll be watching this, my Degree was in History and a lot of it is written from the writers view point, so someone else will see something very different.

  6. I haven't watched this (don't have BBC1 or Netflix), but, I would rather watch a documentary than a movie, no matter how accurate. That's just how I am. :)


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