A new television series is the latest dramatisation of the Camelot myth. But why is the legend of King Arthur such a compelling one in culture?
For a man who may or may not have wandered Britain some 1,500 years ago, King Arthur retains the enviable knack of making his regal presence felt.
Merlin, Excalibur, Guinevere, Lancelot, the Lady in the Lake – all the components of his story are instantly familiar both in his erstwhile homeland and in much of the world.
Modern historians might query whether there is any real evidence for his existence, but none doubt his lasting hold over the popular imagination.
His, after all, is a tale that takes in romance, heroism, chivalry, honour and, of course, the promise that its hero will one day return to rescue his people.
Channel 4’s adaptation is the latest in a very, very long line.
Little wonder, then, that the entertainment industry continues to cheerfully plunder it.
Camelot, a Channel 4 drama starring Eva Green and Joseph Fiennes, is only the latest in a series of big-budget takes on Arthurian legend. Recent years have witnessed the 2008 BBC series Merlin, 2007’s Colin Firth blockbuster The Last Legion and 2004’s King Arthur, starring Keira Knightley and Clive Owen.
I admit to being hooked on the new “Camelot” series on Starz.
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