- 4 Seasons
Cadfael is a medieval crime drama television series that was aired on ITV from 1994 to 1998. It is based on a series of novels by Edith Pargeter, featuring the titular character of Brother Cadfael. Derek Jacobi played the lead role of Cadfael, a Benedictine monk who uses his skills as an herbalist and an amateur detective to solve various crimes in the 12th century England. The series is set in the fictional town of Shrewsbury, which is under the rule of King Stephen I, and is caught in the middle of a civil war between the king and the rebellious Empress Maud. Against this backdrop, the episodes deal with various criminal cases that challenge Cadfael to use his intelligence, compassion, and spiritual wisdom to catch the culprits and bring justice to both the victims and the accused. Throughout the show, Cadfael is aided by a cast of supporting characters, each with their own unique personalities and backgrounds. Sean Pertwee plays Hugh Beringar, the sheriff of Shrewsbury, who is initially skeptical of Cadfael's methods but gradually comes to respect his abilities and values. Eoin McCarthy plays Prior Robert, the ambitious and contentious leader of the monastery that Cadfael resides in. Anthony Green plays Jerome, a rambunctious and often-cursed novice who is both Cadfael's friend and apprentice. Other notable actors in the series include Michael Culver as Abbot Heribert, the wise and kind leader of the monastery; Julian Firth as Brother Jerome, a strict and dogmatic monk who is often at odds with Cadfael's liberal views; Peter Copley as Father Ailnoth, a former crusader who seeks redemption for his past sins; and Terrence Hardiman as Bishop Roger de Clinton, a political and religious figure who frequently clashes with Cadfael over matters of morality and justice. The show's production design and cinematography are notable for their accurate recreation of the medieval era, from the costumes and sets to the use of natural lighting and locations. The music, composed by Colin Towns, incorporates traditional English folk tunes and chants that evoke the spiritual atmosphere of the time. The tone of the series is generally serious and contemplative, with occasional touches of humor and romance. The crimes that Cadfael investigates range from theft and murder to treason and witchcraft, and often involve complex motives and plot twists that challenge both Cadfael's deductive skills and his moral sensibilities. Overall, Cadfael is a well-crafted and engrossing historical drama that offers a fascinating glimpse into the medieval world and the human condition. It is also an excellent showcase for Derek Jacobi's nuanced and charismatic performance, as well as for the talents of its supporting cast and crew.