From the magnificent pageantry of knightly tournament to the whispered meetings of courtly lovers, Sir Walter Scott's epic Ivanhoe has thrilled readers for generations. Now, this romantic masterpiece has been brought to life by A&E and the BBC.

Set in the dark days after Richard the Lionheart returns to England, this sweeping saga follows the noble Saxon knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe as he battles the factions of the scheming Prince John.

On his quest, Ivanhoe meets some of English folklore's most fabled figures --including Robin Hood and the fearsome Black Knight-- and discovers a romantic passion that will forever divide his heart.

The cast is out-standing but chief amongst them has to be Ciarán Hinds with his portrayal of Sir Brian de Bois-Gilbert. This brooding character is absolutely fascinating and his love trist with the Jewess Rebecca is far more interesting than that of the hero Ivanhoe.

From Heraldscotland, January 22, 1997, by Ajay Close

SO Prince John lived on to usurp another day, the sadistic Beaumanoir got off scot-free, even the cholesterol-crazed Athelstane came back from the dead, but Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert popped his clogs (not to mention his eyeball). To hell with fidelity to the text: this was a most unsatisfactory outcome for those of us who found Sir B. (Ciarán Hinds) and Rebecca (Susan Lynch) the most charismatic showbiz couple since Liam and Patsy. Any review of Ivanhoe really should be co-written with our defence correspondent, given the many hours taken up by ambushes, sieges, pitched battles, jousts, broadsword duels, and even the odd Glesga kiss. I spent at least 10 minutes per episode with my eyes tight shut, a waste of good screen time that could have been given over to Sir B, a chain mail-clad growler with the heart of a pussycat. Yes, I'm afraid I took sides. Ivanhoe was bubblegum, but so delicious that you weren't embarrassed to be seen chewing it. Visually it was marvellous, a pre-Raphaelite canvas come to life. Deborah Cook's dialogue steered commendably clear of archaic kitsch and even managed the odd moment of poetry, though, as ever with costume drama, there were so many uneasy digs in the ribs of the late twentieth century. A similar ahistoricism afflicted some of the actors. Victoria Smurfit's Rowena had just popped in from a Jilly Cooper mini-series. Christopher Lee renounced his Hammer horror past with a lamentably low-key Beaumanoir. Steven Waddington's Ivanhoe was butch but bland. By contrast, Lynch, Hinds, James Cosmo (Cedric), and Ralph Brown (Prince John) gambled with the grand gesture and found the right note of truthful artifice. This was not a series for the method actor. (..)

Character: Brian de Bois-Guilbert
Co-stars: Christopher Lee, Susan Lynch
Director: Stuart Orme
Screenplay: Deborah Cook
Run-time: 270 mn
Release date: 21 July 1998 (Sw)

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Radio Times 21-27 Sep 96


July 20, 1996

Radio Times 11 - 17 Jan 1997


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