Heroes and Villains. BBC1
The working title for H&V was ‘Warriors’. Conceived as a series of drama-documentaries, with the emphasis on dramatic action, ‘Warriors’ had a healthy budget and a lot of ambition. Its aim: to tell the true stories of eight great warriors in history. The films were well researched and overseen by noted academics. Filmed on location around the world, in Japan, Mexico, Tunisia and Malta amongst other places, the films attracted good actors and were well regarded. Sadly, the series fell foul of television politics and didn’t get the promotion or transmission slot it deserved.
I edited two of the eight:
The story of the escaped slave from Thrace – better known today as Bulgaria – who threatened Rome. Spartacus was played by Anthony Flanagan and his sidekicks Oinemaus and Crixus by Johnny Harris and Andrew Tiernan. The film reveals Spartacus to be a brilliant leader of a guerrilla band, but a flawed and indecisive human being. Robert Glenister played his Roman nemesis, Marcus Licininus Crassus. Filmed on location in Tunisia, extensive use was made of the huge Roman set just outside Hammamet, as well as genuine Roman ruins such as an ampitheatre.
Spartacus was directed by Tim Dunn. Series Producer was Mark Hedgecoe and Executive Producer Matthew Barrett
In, 1519 the Spanish adventurer Hernan Cortes is supposed to have taken on the mighty Aztec empire with a handful of soldiers and 16 horses. The myth claims that the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, surrendered his empire because he believed Cortes to be a God. But a more accurate account suggests that the Conquistadors started a civil war in Central America, uniting an army of tribesmen who hated Aztec rule. Filmed in location in a wintry Mexico, the film was a real challenge for all concerned, the biggest problem being the lack of suitable locations. Director Andrew Grieve made his Aztec causeways eventually in a lake with a covered pipeline running through it, an open-air basketball court became a pyramid, and a replica of one of Cortes’ ships had to be brought hundreds of miles by lorry to the location.
Director: Andrew Grieve. Series Producer: Mark Hedgecoe Executive Producer: Matthew Barrett