It is loosely based upon the lives of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and her son James I. I usually love teaching about this period in British History, not only because it is the historical background of Shakespeare's latest years.
Directed by Gillies MacKinnon and filmed in Romania with a key Scottish crew, the first film dramatizes the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots, played by French actress Clémence Poésy, and her third husband, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell played by Kevin McKidd. Scottish actor Robert Carlyle stars as James I in the second part of the series, which concentrates on the Gunpowder Plot (1605), planned by Guy Fawkes, to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to rid the nation of a Protestant monarch to be replaced by a Catholic. Despite the rampant insincerity to historical accuracy this is enjoyable, well acted and well written. Clemence Poesy as Mary Queen of Scots is particularly good, and it is her story, making up the first half of dvd, that is the best. Kevin McKidd is the other remarkable protagonist as the Earl of Bothwell you won’t resist his rough lust! Though the second part is less emotionally involving, Robert Carlyle as James I is convincingly nauseous. He really is believeable as the creepy, unpleasant king.
I loved this. Although, to be fair, I loved the first part more than the second. I'm more interested in Mary than in James. If you can overlook the annoying historical inaccuracy and appreciate it as well acted, well written drama then you can get much fun from this dvd.