Are you one of the many fans of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth? If you are, then you won’t want to miss the television premiere event which begins Friday, July 23rd at 9 pm on The Movie Network (www.themovienetwork.ca/Pillars). The 8-part miniseries of the international bestseller will be broadcast over six weeks on Fridays Mondays this summer with the first two episodes shown back-to-back. The Movie Network will run the remaining six episodes on Fridays Mondays wrapping up with episodes 7 & 8 on August 30th.
The television adaptation, produced by Ridley Scott, stars Rufus Sewell (as Tom Builder), Matthew MacFayden (as Prior Philip), Eddie Redmayne (as Jack Jackson) and Hayley Atwell (as Aliena). It also features renowned Canadian actors, Donald Sutherland (Bartholomew) and Gordon Pinsett (the Archbishop) in supporting roles. The epic story set in twelfth-century England in the fictitious market village of Kingsbridge revolves around two central characters: Tom, a mason and master builder, and Philip, Prior of Kingsbridge, who team up to build the new cathedral. Tom Builder desires to create something out of nothing that will inspire future generations to come, while Prior Philip recognizes the potential of the cathedral to draw pilgrims (tourists) to Kingsbridge to help ensure future prosperity for all who live there. Both men set out to achieve their goals but are forced to confront darker motives that overshadow their good intentions.
This is foremost a story of love, hope, and determination, but the history of architecture and the skill of the masons who created these marvelous buildings weaves its way through the narrative. Ken Follett provides some background and insight into his inspiration for the book on his personal blog (Why were cathedrals built?) which accompanied the making of the miniseries: From an abstract interest in the architecture, I was led quite quickly to a fascination with the middle ages and what drove medieval people to their tremendous achievements.
Follett’s remarks also lend some insight into the motivations of his characters:
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Those builders knew they were likely to be working on the building of this church for most of their lives. And so it is going to be literally their life’s work. And so they have this feeling, maybe partly religious, but not necessarily religious, that this is what their life is about. And whether they are building it for the glory of God or whether they just want to do something wonderful.”