Tonight sees the culmination of the BBC drama series Gunpowder. Yes I called it a drama, as like most programs these days it is a dramatised version of what really happened, probably to add a degree of spice for the 21st century viewer.
Yes it is based on real events, but as we have seen with so many productions, to simply tell the story as it was may not draw in the short attention of a modern day viewer. In the case of Gunpowder, you can point at the casting of the tall Mark Gatiss to play a short character, how some members of the plotting team were combined to create fewer characters and how the part of Guy Fawkes was seemingly played with Tom Hardy as the inspiration.
As criticism has been leveraged at television productins for many years – see Victoria and any number of US war films as examples – it’s for the viewer to decide whether they take what they are seeing as gospel or not. Is it Saturday night entertainment after Strictly Come Dancing and Casualty, or should it be broadcast on a Sunday afternoon on BBC2?
Television is entertainment, but it takes a viewer to determine how much truth they take from the show. One final point, yes there was a lot of violent scenes in the show, and while they were pretty gory, the fact is that is how some people were executed in this country in previous centuries, and I applaud the producers for having the guts (no pun intended) to display this part of British history.