Log in

No account? Create an account

Summer 1967: The Further Adventures of the Musketeers

« previous entry | next entry »
Jan. 1st, 1970 | 03:45 pm

“The Further Adventures of the Musketeers” was a BBC drama series, based on Alexander Dumas' "Twenty Years After." The sixteen episodes were broadcast on BBC1, at 5:25 pm on Sundays.

Michael Gothard is credited for appearances in ten of the sixteen episodes, and very briefly appears in another. He plays Mordaunt, formerly John Francis de Winter, the vengeful son of Milady de Winter. Milady was executed by the Musketeers in the previous series, "The Three Musketeers."

This series, which features many stalwarts of British entertainment, had lain in the BBC archives for nearly 50 years, unseen by the public, but in May 2016 it was finally released on DVD by Simply Media.1

In an interview that appeared in ‘X’-Films Vol.3 No 1 in 1973, Michael briefly mentioned this role:

“That show [‘Arthur of the Britons’] was the one I got the most public notice from. I also did another TV series five years ago, called “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers.” I was playing the villain in that, but I used to get more fan mail than the bloody hero! So, I had an image then, but I don’t know what it was.”

Watching the series now, it is not hard to see why he got so much fan mail. A classic anti-hero, Mordaunt appears much more dynamic than the Musketeers, and his pursuit of his goal stands in stark contrast to the muddled and often self-serving aims of the D’Artagnan and his colleagues.

D’Artagnan is brought into the affair by an appeal from Queen Anne, whom he and his friends previously helped in covering up her betrayal of her husband, King Louis XIII. But he is also looking for advancement in the Service, and persuades Porthos to join him - on the promise of a barony - in working for the Queen and Mazarin, against rebels led by Rochefort and the Prince de Beaufort.

Their other old friends, Athos and Aramis, are on Rochefort’s side, and the four spend some time working against each other, while trying to remain friends. When Mazarin sends D’Artagnan and Porthos to England to negotiate with Cromwell, they forget about their mission, and team up with Athos and Aramis in trying to save King Charles, from the man with whom they are supposed to be negotiating. They are constantly changing their minds and squabbling amongst themselves; they fail to save Charles, and it is only thanks to a servant, Grimaud, and his desire for wine, that they are not blown up. After Mordaunt’s death, they manage to negotiate peace between the warring parties in France, and rewards for themselves, but this seems more by luck than judgement.

By comparison, Mordaunt’s single-minded quest to avenge his mother’s death seems, if not admirable, at least understandable, and especially when – in episode 13 - he is surrounded by all four Musketeers, he appears quite brave in standing up to the more experienced swordsmen, and fights well against D’Artagnan.

Michael also referred to the series in an interview in a Marvel Super Special Magazine: For Your Eyes Only on-set report, which came out in 1981.

"I've been killed in so many different ways on both the large and small screens," he said wryly. "I've been hanged, stabbed, strangled, shot, immersed in an acid bath, crashed on a motorcycle, killed by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine, drowned and – on one memorable occasion – stabbed and drowned simultaneously.”

The “memorable occasion” was in “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers.”

Fellow actors

This was the first of three productions in which Michael Gothard worked with Brian Blessed.2

The creator of this archive met Brian in 2011, and showed Brian some pictures of fans dedicating a tree to Michael. Brian didn’t even know Michael had died. When told that Michael had killed himself in 1992, he became serious, and said that he was sorry.

He said that Michael was depressed when he knew him. Michael used to say, “Oh, Brian, I don’t know if I’ll make it as an actor. No one seems to like me”,4 and he had a lot of bad luck – some bloke he’d paid to decorate his house left the job half-finished.

Brian mentioned working with Michael on the “Further Adventures of the Musketeers.” He said: “We killed him in the end.”

Morris Perry who appeared as Captain Groslow, in 1979 played Radouk in the episode of “The Professionals”, in which Michael played Kodai. In 1980, they worked together again, in “A Tale of Two Cities.” Morris Perry played the Marquis St. Evremonde, who is killed by Michael’s character Gaspard, in revenge for the death of his daughter.

John Woodvine, who plays Aramis, was also to feature in “The Devils” as Trincant – a film in which Michael played a starring role as Father Barré.

Joss Ackland, who appeared as D'Artagnan in this series, later played D'Artagnan's father in "The Three Musketeers," in which Michael Gothard played John Felton.

1 The production features a disclaimer about the quality of the footage, but this turns out to be better than expected, though the subtitles are not to be relied upon.

2 Blessed played Porthos in "The Further Adventures of the Musketeers", Korski in "The Last Valley", in which Michael played Hansen, and Mark of Cornwall in "Arthur of the Britons", in which Michael played Kai.

3It was hardly surprising that Blessed missed the news, given how little coverage it received. Also, he would have been preparing for one of his attempts on Everest at the time.

4 It was not clear whether Michael thought no one seemed to like him professionally, or personally, though the former seems more likely.

Episodes in which Michael appeared, with the introductory quotation from the Radio Times:

3. Conspiracy (4 June 1967)
“I see a man, a Royal Prince, defying bolts, bars, and fortress walls. I see him free … two days from now. At seven o’clock.”

4. Conflict (11 June 1967)
“The King’s name is no password here. To the sword, sir!”

5. Peril (18 June 1967)
“There is only one man in France I would trust with these secrets. You must destroy these papers … or die.”

6. Abduction (25 June 1967)
“People like us, madam, must not trust even our own two hands.”

7. The Boy King (2 July 1967)
“Monsieur D’Artagnan, you are under arrest. The King has vanished.”

9. Escape (16 July 1967)
“Your Majesty, I promise that anyone who has the audacity to touch you will die.”

10. The Oath (23 July 1967)
“You cannot live without me, my love. I am your star, your protector, your husband. We will make this true before God.”

11. The Trial (30 July 1967)
“Never doubt me again, Athos. I vow to take upon myself all that concerns the delivery of the King.”

12. The Scaffold (6 August 1967)
“We are about to separate before the most desperate adventure of our lives – the most glorious! We shall not fail.”

13. Treachery (13 August 1967)
“Athos, you are becoming imbecile. Do you realise our situation? It is kill or be killed.”

IMDB entry


Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {0}