Three men with swords in a candlelit room.

Guy Fawkes was the tip of the iceberg. Find out about the whole plot to assasinate King James. Watch on BBC First, DStv Channel 119, and stream live on DStv Now.

Set in 1603, during the bloody persecution of Catholics as England is at war with Spain, Robert Catesby devises a plot to assassinate King James.

Watch Gunpowder Sundays at 21:00 from 4 February, on BBC First, DStv Channel 119, and streaming live on DStv Now.

Read what the cast had to say about their roles and the series:

Kit Harington (Robert Catesby) was asked: We think we know everything about the Gunpowder plot… Guy Fawkes is trying to blow up Parliament, right? Or is there more to it than that?

There really is - Guy Fawkes was the tip of the iceberg. Many people know he was working with plotters, but don’t know much more about who they were or what their motives were. And so little is known about the lead up to the night of November 5, or what happened after it. In Gunpowder, we show the whole story. In so many dramas on TV today you see anonymous bad guys without a narrative, but what we’re trying to do is to tell the story from the plotters’ perspective as well, to try to understand what pushes people to do horribly violent things. We wanted to tell a story from both sides.


Liv Tyler (Anne Vaux) talks about how long it takes to get into full costume, hair and make-up.

It can be up to an hour and a half. Just getting dressed takes a while as there are so many layers of corset and stockings, and a funny thing called a bustle, which is like a pillow that creates a big behind. And lots and lots of layers. This is my favourite part - the sleeves of the costumes are detachable so you can wear multiple different sleeves with the bodice. That’s what they actually would have done, they would have had different under parts and then just a couple of dresses, which I found interesting.


Derek Riddell (King James I) tells us why we should watch Gunpowder.

It's got a fantastic cast, great script and it looks amazing - but you also might learn some history you didn't already know.


Edward Holcroft (Thomas Wintour) talks about his most memorable moment on set.

The most memorable part of this whole thing was the fact that we managed to make a really wonderful series that people will be chuffed about - something that looks like cinema, on a television budget. It’s a great triumph and it shows that when one puts their mind to it, one can create wonders.


Mark Gatiss (Robert Cecil) describes his favourite scene.

My favourite scene is a big scene with Peter Mullan, who plays Father Garnet, the chief Jesuit. In the scene, Cecil has got everything he wants and Father Garnet is tortured. I have always been a big fan of Peter’s, so it was a privilege to do it. It was wonderful to see him work and to be opposite it. I’m also looking forward to the fireworks at the end… surely that is how it must finish?!

Tom Cullen (Guy Fawkes) reveals his most memorable moment on set.

I enjoy a good fight scene. My most memorable moment was the two days that all the plotters were together filming a huge sword fight in a tavern. Very fun.


For more riveting viewing, tune into DStv Now.

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by Alice da Silva