Calais Tapestry

Calais Tapestry, adapted for American audiences under the name Banners – has been a huge television hit, even rivaling Game of Thrones for viewer counts. The series begins in 1347, as rival English and French wizards fight a shadowy conflict set against the backdrop of the Hundred Years’ War.

The television series was adapted from a series of lesser-known novels by English author Jack Proctor, with [Lionel Madigan]] serving as both director and scriptwriter. Season 1 began showing in 2013 (in Europe only); Season 2 enters production in 2014, with air times beginning in September 2014. The show sold for American syndication in 2014 under the name Banners.

Plot

The Battle of Crécy has just been won, triumphantly, by the English army under King Edward III, and the French city of Calais has been conquered and claimed as a colony by the English. Arriving in the city with the first English settlers are the Cavendish sisters, Isabella and Blanche, young mages who seek to defend the English settlers against the rival French. At the same time, they worry about the threat posed by their own side, as they risk being burned at the stake for witchcraft.

Characters and Actors

The English
  • Isabella Cavendish: English enchantress, portrayed by Caitlin Strike¹.
  • Blanche Cavendish: English sorceress, portrayed by Mikaela Walker-Hughes¹.
  • Thomas Warham: English war-mage, portrayed by Jason Palmer¹.
  • Lady Margaret of Canterbury: English lady, supervises Isabella and Blanche Cavendish.
  • Sir Richard Larkin: English man-at-arms, the Cavendish’s chief bodyguard, portrayed by Hugo Chapman¹.
  • William Bennett: English man-at-arms, one of the Cavendish’s bodyguards.
  • Mary Bennett: English girl, daughter of William Bennet; Isabella’s maid.
  • Thomas Marshall: English man-at-arms, one of the Cavendish’s bodyguards, portrayed by Harry Lloyd.
  • Lady Mortimer: English lady.
  • Caradog ap Hywel: Welsh mercenary archer in English employ, portrayed by Rhys Ifans.
  • Dafydd ap Adda: Welsh mercenary archer in English employ, portrayed by Iwan Rheon.
  • Madog ap Gwilym: Welsh mercenary archer in English employ.
  • Rhys Goch: Welsh mercenary archer in English employ.
The French
  • Philipp the Black: French archmage, father of Charles le Hardi.
  • Charles le Hardi (Charles the Bold): French mage.
  • Marie of Troyes: French sorceress, portrayed by Zoé Garnier¹.
  • Alice de Morville: French sorceress, portrayed by Victoria Howard¹.
  • Nine Left-Handed Men: nine French mages who are all left-handed.

Episodes

  • S1Ep01: Capitulation of Calais
  • S1Ep02: To Lay a Claim
  • S1Ep03: The Secrets of the House
  • S1Ep04: Chanson
  • S1Ep05: Sharp is the Blade, Sharp is the Tongue
  • S1Ep06: The White Maiden
  • S1Ep06: Warham
  • S1Ep07: Chevalier
  • S1Ep08: Sacrifice
  • S1Ep09: Dower
  • S1Ep10: Loss of Innocence
  • S1Ep11: Nine Left-Handed Men
  • S1Ep12: Morville
  • S1Ep13: Debts Unforgiven
  • S1Ep14: The Hobelars
  • S1Ep15: Night of the Tempest
  • S1Ep16: Marked for Mercy
  • S1Ep17: Ride on, Larkin
  • S1Ep18: The Welshman’s Plea
  • S1Ep19: Confessions
  • S1Ep20: For Want of Paper
  • S1Ep21: A Father’s Vengeance
  • S1Ep22: Like Lightning
  • S1Ep23: Silence from Afar
  • S1Ep24: Plague

Original Novels
Calais Tapestry is based on a quadrilogy of novels written by Jack Proctor, and published between 2006 and 2013.

  • The Lion Against the Lilies (2006)
  • The Pale of Calais (2007)
  • Wizard, Priest, and King (2009)
  • The Blazing Chalice (2011)

There are several major differences between the novels and the television series, with the most major being the conflation of two French mages (Jean de Morville and Charles le Hardi) into a single television character named Charles le Hardi.

Random Trivia

  • Luke and Jordan Hanley made a cameo appearance in S1Ep1 and S1Ep18, with Luke portraying William de Bohun (1st Earl of Northampton) and Jordan playing Elizabeth de Badlesmere, Countess of Northampton. They had only minor speaking parts.
  • Harry Lloyd, who portrays Thomas Marshall, one of the Cavendish’s bodyguards, is the great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens.
  • The music which plays during the closing credits, “Miri it is while sumer ilast” (Anon. 1225) was sung by actress Caitlyn Strike, originally for a part of the pilot episode which was cut due to time constraints.
  • Author Jack Proctor, who wrote the novels the series is based on, makes several cameo appearances (most prominantly in S1Ep01) portraying King Edward III of England. Edward’s wife, Queen Philippa of Hainault, was portrayed by Victoria Howard, whose acting made such an impression that she was asked to portray Alice of Morville when the original actress withdrew.
  • A blooper from S1Ep9 shows the actor playing Welsh mercenary archer Madog ap Gwilym in the background of a scene drinking from a bottle of Mountain Dew. The blooper – as well as some other footage of Madog and his friend Rhys Goch – was edited into a viral techno music mix by a fan, titled “Those Naughty Welsh Archers”.

¹ – Fictional actor

Calais Tapestry

Red King's Command BrockPaine