Friday, 2 August 2013

Friday 2 August 1963

Sound the horn, Sir Gilbert, it's the 100th TV Minus 50 post!

Sadly I've got nothing more festive to celebrate this auspicious occasion with than a ropey episode of Richard the Lionheart, but as always we'll have to make the best of it.

Jolly monarch Richard I's on his way to see one Baron Fitzroy, with bosom chums Sir Geoffrey and Sir Gilbert in tow.  High-spirited nobles that they are, they decide to race to the baron's, each taking a different fork in the road.  As fate would have it, Richard's path takes him past an old man of thunderous visage (David Davies) who swiftly whips out his crossbow and shoots the unfortunate monarch in the chest.

This unsavoury character takes the king back to the nearby hovel where he lives with his granddaughter Mary (Jennifer Jayne, screenwriter of Tales That Witness Madness).  Mary's been mute since she and her parents were attacked in their home by drunken noblemen 15 years before (she was the only survivor).  Since then her grandfather has nursed a seething hatred against the nobility, and in particular the king, who he holds ultimately responsible - despite the fact that it was Richard's father on the throne at the time.  This may not sound very reasonable, but then he's clearly a thoroughly unreasonable chap.

Richard tells the kindhearted Mary who he is in the hope she'll help him escape, and she just manages to stop him telling her granddad.  As it is the old man just thinks he's a generic aristocrat, and so rather than kill him intends to make him his slave.  Richard sends Mary to go and tell Baron Fitzroy where he is, but as she's only able to communicate in obscure charades it looks like it might be a losing battle.

Eventually the old man (he's never named, he's just "the old man") finds out from Mary's dim boyfriend just who it is he's holding prisoner, and he can barely contain his glee as he heads home to dispatch Richard.

But just as he's about to take revenge for the king's imagined sins, the watching Mary finds her voice and gives us 15 years worth of screaming all at once.

Distracted from his bloodthirsty task, the old man's overjoyed that his granddaughter can speak once more.  So much so that he completely forgets about any ill will he feels toward Richard and happily lets him go.  The episode ends with the monarch and the elderly psycho matily discussing Mary's wedding plans.  It's probably the most ridiculous episode ending I've yet featured here.  And I'm sure you'll appreciate that's saying quite a lot.

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