ORBzine - Britannia TV Review

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Britannia

Season 1


Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 1]
Shown 18 Jan 18

Unlike other TV shows set in ancient times, this uses an anachronistic modern-day theme tune. The Hurdy Gurdy Man of the song may be the chief druid, Veran (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates Of The Carribean ) - or possibly the crazy outcast who warns him that the Romans are coming.

Roman General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey - Walking Dead ) and his sidekick Lucius (Hugo Speer - Musketeers ) are tough working-class blokes with rural English accents. Completely different from the more archaicly-styled Roman generals in Spartacus: War of the Damned . But just as ruthless, of course.

The first British settlement the Romans get to is the village of the happy people. Yes, all the cliches are embraced as the peaceful vegetarian hippy commune falls victim to the Roman war machine.

Elsewhere, the real plot begins. Queen Antedia ( ZoŽ Wanamaker ) attends a peace deal with her neighbour, King Pellanor (Ian McDiarmid - Star Wars: Phantom Menace ). This is part of a Game of Thrones style political situation. Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ) is lurking in the woods with a bow and arrow, ready to rescue her male relatives.

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 2]
Shown 18 Jan 18

King Pellanor (Ian McDiarmid - Star Wars: Phantom Menace ) is not happy to be at war with Queen Antedia ( ZoŽ Wanamaker ). He turns down a peace deal with the Romans, so they will make a deal with his enemy and destroy his kingdom. Finally we discover how Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ) started the war.

The chief druid, Veran (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates Of The Carribean ), invites General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey - Walking Dead ) to visit him.

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 3]
Shown 18 Jan 18

King Pellanor (Ian McDiarmid - Star Wars: Phantom Menace ) tortures the Roman prisoners. We discover why his daughter Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ) ruined her own honeymoon night - she did not object to the groom for personal reasons, but as a matter of principle because he was selected by the chief druid, Veran (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates Of The Carribean ).

The General's bodyguards capture the exiled Druid. Well, that is what they think. He is manipulating and controlling them.

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 4]
Shown 18 Jan 18

King Pellanor (Ian McDiarmid - Star Wars: Phantom Menace ) hands his daughter Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ) over to the chief druid, Veran (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates Of The Carribean ). This seems the perfect compromise, so he can get rid of her and protect his clan. However, things do not go as he expects.

General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey - Walking Dead ) has a good grasp of things that are taking place. He knows he has to gather more info on the locals.

The blind man is grieving over his dead daughter. He tries to duplicate a magic spell that he saw a Druid use to apparently return a farm animal from the dead. Will it work, or is he just in denial?

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 5]
Shown 18 Jan 18

The Druids replaced King Pellanor (Ian McDiarmid - Star Wars: Phantom Menace ) with his daughter Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ). This seems like a good move, because the old man always bent the knee. He had his wife sacrificed, his daughter sold into an arranged marriage, his people lost in attempts to repair the political damage. Obviously a quitter, so he should be replaced by the ball-busting redhead. However, now people think that Veran the chief druid (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates Of The Carribean ) only did it to placate the Romans instead of fighting them.

General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey - Walking Dead ) visits his ally Queen Antedia ( ZoŽ Wanamaker ) to plot their next move.

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 6]
Shown 18 Jan 18

General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey - Walking Dead ) visits Queen Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ). She has other visitors too - the blind man and his daughter. Can she keep the two groups apart?

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 7]
Shown 18 Jan 18

The previous episode centred on the two main characters. This one does not feature either of them, and instead concentrates on the supporting characters and their subplots.

Kerra's brother and the rival princess stop off for the night in a deserted village. The blind girl and her father, also fleeing Kerra's camp to avoid the Romans, must have been going in the same direction because they stop off in the same village. Meanwhile, the two Roman deserters who have fled their camp end up spending the night in the same village. Yes, the storylines all seem to intersect ... but none of the three groups even tries to contact the others.

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 8]
Shown 18 Jan 18

The story takes up four months after the end of the previous episode. Winter has begun to set in. Queen Antedia ( Zoe Wanamaker ) has besieged Queen Kerra ( Kelly Reilly ) in her fortress, and food will eventually run out. Antedia has a plan, involving a sleeper agent in the enemy camp. Why she did not use this plan in the previous four months is not addressed.

Aulus only cares about catching the girl. He has summoned a collection of Bounty hunters - an Irish warrior-woman, a hawk-master and a couple of Syrians. Among their weapons they have a Chinese repeating crossbow, about a thousand years before everyone else started using them. Hella the Irish-woman ( Laura Donnelly ) spends her entire advance on the bow, in part because it is a thousand years more advanced than any other technology but also because its loss will disadvantage her rivals. Also, she has a plan to get here money back.

The two Roman deserters found the Druid's stash in the previous episode, and have spent the past four months getting high. Naturally they get dragged into the storyline, not that they have anything useful to contribute.

The girl has teamed up with the renegade Druid, who tries to teach her how to hypnotise Roman soldiers. Unfortunately it depends on a very precise series of words, and she has an inability to memorise her monologue.

The Roman second-in-command (Hugo Speer - Musketeers ) is haunted by the Chief Druid (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates of the Carribean ). If the Druids are playing with him, why would they turn him against Aulus?

Britannia Britannia [Season 1, Episode 9]
Shown 18 Jan 18

The renegade Druid has been gutted and left for dead. Somehow he still manages to find enough strength to kill a bear in a knife-fight.

Hella the Irish-woman ( Laura Donnelly ) is as cold-blooded as the Scotch sister in Outlander and as tough as Faith Lahaine in Buffy the Vampre Slayer (1997) ). In fact, she does everything short of saying five by five. She buried the girl alive for safe-keeping. Then she heads off to meet the Chief Druid (Mackenzie Crook - Pirates of the Carribean ). Her plan is to auction the girl, rather than just sell her outright.

The Chief Druid has been sheltering a couple of refugees. Now they reveal themselves as Phelan (Julian Rhind-Tutt - ) and Ania ( Liana Cornell ). He gives them a free fortune-telling.

Herra decides to negotiate with Aulus. He reveals how treacherous he can really be.

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Britannia

Britannia Britannia [Season 2 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th November 2019

Reviewed in our special supplement Britannia

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  • Britannia

    Season 2

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 1]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 2]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 3]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 4]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 5]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 6]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 7]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 8]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 9]
    Shown 7th November 2019

    Britannia Britannia [Season 2, Episode 10]
    Shown 7th November 2019