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The Borderers

The Borderers
Genre Drama
Created by Bill Craig
Starring Michael Gambon
Edith McArthur
Iain Cuthbertson
Ross Campbell
Margaret Greig
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 26
Production
Producer(s) Peter Graham Scott
Release
Original channel BBC One
Original release 31 December 1968 – 31 March 1970

The Borderers is a British television series produced by the BBC between 1968 and 1970.

Setting

A historical drama series, The Borderers was set during the 16th century and chronicled the lives of the Ker family, who lived in the Scottish Middle March on the frontier between England and Scotland. You also see the wider politics, mostly as it affects their relative Sir Walter Ker, warden of the Middle March

The series was described by The Guardian in 2007 as "brave and original...a kind of north-eastern western".[1] It shows an ordinary family trying to live as part of a society of Border Reivers, a world where raid and feud were unavoidable parts of daily life. The wars between England and Scotland had destroyed the normal processes of law enforcement. The setting is a particularly tense time, with Elizabeth of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, in competition. Also the struggle between Protestants and Catholics in both kingdoms. Amidst all this, the Kers of Stilrig are trying to live an ordinary life.

The leading cast members were Iain Cuthbertson, Edith MacArthur and Michael Gambon. It was produced and directed by Peter Graham Scott, who had worked on The Avengers, Mogul, The Troubleshooters and would later go on to make The Onedin Line.[2]

In 2007, two episodes of The Borderers were part of the BBC Archive Trial.[3]

Cast

The regular cast were Michael Gambon as Gavin Ker (male head of the family),[4] Edith McArthur as Margaret Ker and Iain Cuthbertson as Sir Walter Ker of Cessford. Nell Brennan as Agnes Ker (Series 1) and Eileen Nicholas as Agnes Ker (Series 2). Margaret Greig as Grizel Ker, Joseph Brady as Rab (Series 1) and James Garbutt as Rab (Series 2). Ross Campbell as Jamie Ker and Russell Waters as Pringle (Cessford's clerk).[5] Sir Walter Ker is a real historical figure, though little is known of him and most of what is shown in the series is invented.

Episode guide

Series 1

Ep. No. Title Writer(s) Director Airdate Archive Status
1 “Vengeance” Bill Craig Peter Graham Scott 31 December 1968 Exists in colour
The elder of the Ker family, Gavin, has a shattering experience in front of him when he seeks a wider world.
2 “Truce” Bill Craig Peter Graham Scott 7 January 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
When Gavin leads his men across the border to seek Agnes, he is accused of murdering an Englishman
3 “Witch Hunt” Vincent Tilsley Peter Graham Scott 14 January 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
Gavin's younger sister Grizel is put on trial for being a witch. (This episode was given a Radio Times cover).[6]
4 “Treason” Jack Ronder Peter Graham Scott 21 January 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
A friend visits Gavin who tries to persuade him to travel to Europe. But when pilgrims arrive, he is caught up in religious turmoil of the era.
5 “Fugitive” Allan Prior Peter Graham Scott 28 January 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
An English fugitive saves Gavin's life, but is soon compromised when he gives him shelter.
6 “Stranger” Bill Craig Peter Graham Scott 4 February 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
Gavin has a rival, when a David Scott claims to be the real Laird of Stilrig
7 “Hero” Jack Ronder Peter Graham Scott 11 February 1969 Missing
Cessford lies wounded at Slitrig after an assassination attempt by John Hume.
8 “Bloodfeud” George F Kerr Peter Graham Scott 18 February 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
The Kers arguments with The Armstrongs lead Jamie to be accused of murdering one of them.
9 “Giant” Eve Martell Peter Graham Scott 25 February 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
Gavin must sneak into England to rescue a Scottish spy.
10 “Wedlock” Sean Hignett Peter Graham Scott 4 March 1969 Missing
The Scotts of Branxholm raise Gavin's wrath when they boast openly of stealing the warden's cattle.
11 “Outlaw” Bruce Stewart Peter Graham Scott 11 March 1969 16mm black-and-white film print exists
When The Telfers, friends of the Kers, are evicted for debt, they desperately seek religious justification for the only option open to them, stealing
12 “Justice” John Lucarotti Peter Graham Scott 18 March 1969 Missing
A young Italian physician, Mario Vecchi, seeks refuge with the Kers, when he fails to save a patient's life, and the Armstrongs seek vengeance.
13 “Dispossessed” Julian Nees Peter Graham Scott 25 March 1969 Exists in colour
An English princess is taken hostage, while on the way to marry a Scot she detests. Guest starring John Thaw and Vivien Heilbron.[7][8]

Series 2

Ep. No. Title Writer(s) Director Airdate Archive Status
1 “The Siege of Cocklaws” Jan Read Peter Graham Scott 6 January 1970 Exists in colour
The English attack a castle owned by The Laird of Cocklaws, Gavin defends him, whilst knowing his motives are a sham. Guest starring William Hurndell and Hilda Braid.
2 “Survival Day” George F Kerr Peter Graham Scott 13 January 1970 Exists in colour
The Kers believe a cattle buyer is in league with Cessford to rob them of their living.
3 “Snatch” Jan Read Peter Graham Scott 20 January 1970 Exists in colour
Agnes Ker is snatched by a gypsy, Hector Faa. Gavin must fight Hector and Agnes to get her back.
4 “What a Vengeance Upon England” Anthony Steven Peter Graham Scott 27 January 1970 Missing
Cessford tries to marry off his troublesome ward to an English warden. The romance turns lethal and complicated by an Arab stallion.
5 “Among The Eagles” Bill Craig Peter Graham Scott 3 February 1970 Missing
Cessford is involved in a charge of treason when he attempts to uncover a traitor at the court of Queen Mary. (This episode was given a Radio Times cover).[9]
6 “Plot Counterplot” Anthony Coburn Peter Graham Scott 10 February 1970 Missing
Cessford travels to Edinburgh seeking promotion only to end up with dismissal and disgrace.
7 “The Quacksalver” Roy Russell Peter Graham Scott 17 February 1970 Missing
The Quacksalvers trick their way into Slitrig, and Gavin has to decide whether they should be pitied or are rogues.
8 “To The Gallows Tree” Martin Worth Peter Graham Scott 24 February 1970 Missing
Gavin defends his bonded tenant against torture and a monstrous charge.
9 “A Woman or an Epitaph” Bruce Stewart Peter Graham Scott 25 February 1969 Missing
A woman called "The Wee Daftie" changes men's opinions on the role of women in society.
10 “Hostage” Tom Wright Peter Graham Scott 10 March 1970 Missing
A boy is to be hanged within three days if stolen beasts are not returned.
11 “Where The White Lilies Grow” Martin Worth Peter Graham Scott 17 March 1970 Exists in colour
Cessford's son brings a new bride and murder with him to Cessford Castle.
12 “The Terror of the March” Martin Worth Peter Graham Scott 24 March 1970 Missing
Cessford has a hugely powerful cannon, which to the surprise of everyone, finds itself at the bottom of Slitrig Loch.
13 “The Sea-Cole Man” Morris Farhi Peter Graham Scott 31 March 1970 Exists in colour
To settle the feud between the Kers and the Johnstones, a wrestling match is arranged.[8][10]

References

  1. "Obituary - Peter Graham Scott". The Guardian. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. "Feature Obituaries - Peter Graham Scott". The Stage. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  3. "Feature Obituaries - Peter Graham Scott". The Mausoleum Club. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)[dead link]
  4. "The Borderers:Series info". The TVDB.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. "The Borderers Cast & Crew". TV.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. "The Borderers with main cover photo of Iain Cuthbertson, Michael Gambon & Joseph Brady". Kelly Books Limited. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  7. "The Borderers Season 1". TV.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Borderers". Lost Shows. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  9. "The Borderers Iain Cuthbertson RT 2412 - 29 Jan 1970 (31 Jan-6 Feb)". Kelly Books Limited. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  10. "The Borderers Season 2". TV.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links


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