BBC One has ordered explosive three-part historical drama Gunpowder with Game Of Thrones‘ Kit Harington starring and exec producing. Harington was first mooted for the Guy Fawkes-inspired thriller back in October. He’s now confirmed with Liv Tyler, Top Of The Lake‘s Peter Mullan and Sherlock‘s Mark Gatiss rounding out cast. The series was developed by Ronan Bennett, Harington and Daniel West and written by Bennett (Top Boy, Hidden). Kudos is producing in association with Harington’s Thriker Films.
Shooting starts this month of the real story of the Gunpowder Plot, the 1605 attempt by a group of provincial English Catholics to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I in order to help restore a Catholic to the throne. The plot was foiled on November 5 that year when authorities at Westminster Palace found Fawkes guarding the explosives. Brits still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night every year with bonfires and fireworks.
While he played a pivotal role, Fawkes did not devise the plan. The man who dreamed it up and was its driving force was Robert Catesby (Harington), a 30-year old Warwickshire gentleman and committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecuted the church’s members relentlessly. Harington has previously revealed that he is directly descended from Catesby.
Fresh off Season 4 of Sherlock, Gatiss will play King James’ spymaster-in-chief Robert Cecil who is instructed to hunt down, torture and execute priests while lay Catholics are subject to oppression and the loss of their property.
Unable to stand by while others suffer, and despite the peaceful protestations of head Jesuit Father Garnet (Mullan), Catesby recruits friends and relatives, swearing them to secrecy as he devises an audacious plan. Tyler plays concerned Catesby cousin Anne Vaux.
Gunpowder will be directed by J Blakeson. Executive producers are Ollie Madden for Kudos and Stephen Wright for the BBC. Harington and West are co-executive producers for Thriker. Laurie Borg is producing.