HBO Picks Up BBC Mini ‘Gunpowder’ Starring ‘Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington

By Nellie Andreeva, Peter White


HBO has acquired Gunpowder, BBC’s three-part thriller drama toplined by Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington. The miniseries, based on the real-life 17th century events that led to Guy Fawkes Day, will debut on HBO on Monday, Dec. 18, and will air over three consecutive nights.

Gunpowder, produced by Kudos, part of Endemol Shine Group, in association with Thriker Films, is currently airing on BBC One in the UK. Its cast includes several familiar faces from HBO/Cinemax shows. Co-starring alongside GOT‘s Harington are Peter Mullan (Cinemax’s Quarry), Liv Tyler (HBO’s The Leftovers), as well as Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and Kevin Eldon (Game of Thrones).

“We are delighted to offer a platform for a project that is so close to Kit Harington’s heart,” says Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming. “Kit’s passion for and belief in Gunpowder are evident in every frame of the miniseries.”

Harington, who is also a co-executive producer on the show, has a personal connection to the real-life source of Gunpowder. The actor is a descendant of Robert Catesby, the central figure in the story, and plays him in the show.

“Three years ago, Daniel West and I conceived and began developing Gunpowder with Kudos and Ronan Bennett,” notes Harington. “We are now thrilled to share this unique story with the U.S. audience. I can’t think of a better place to do that than my home at HBO.”

Gunpowder performed well on its launch for BBC One earlier this month.

The three-part drama, written by Ronan Bennett (Top Boy) and directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed), opened with an overnight audience of 4.8m (23.9%), higher than Tom Hardy’s Taboo, which premiered in a similar Saturday night slot.

The period drama was one of the first scripted series to air in a primetime Saturday night slot on the public broadcaster, a slot usually reserved for shiny floor entertainment formats and talent contests.

Gunpowder stars Harington as Robert Catesby, who was the driving force behind the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 London. A committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecutes Catholics relentlessly, Catesby’s refusal to abandon his religion brings him to the edge of financial, social and psychological ruin.

Gatiss plays Robert Cecil, King James’ spymaster, who directs efforts to hunt down, torture and kill priests, while rank-and-file Catholics are subject to oppression and the loss of their property. Mullan portrays head Jesuit Father Garnet, whose peaceful protestations have little effect on Catesby. Tyler plays Catesby’s astute and capable cousin, Anne Vaux, who becomes suspicious about his activities and fears the consequences will be the exact opposite of what Catesby intends.

Gunpowder is executive produced by Ollie Madden for Kudos, Matthew Read for the BBC and Ronan Bennett; Kit Harington and Daniel West are co-executive producers for Thriker Films; Laurie Borg is producer; directed by J Blakeson; written by Ronan Bennett. Endemol Shine International distributes the series internationally.

In the US, the miniseries will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals.

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