|Derek Jacobi as Cadfael.|
Running Time: 75 minutes (13 episodes).
Status: There were four seasons broadcast between 1994-1998. They’re available on DVD in the U.S.
Production Notes: British historian Edith Pargeter, using the pseudonym Ellis Peters, wrote twenty Cadfael novels (dubbed The Chronicles of Cadael) between 1977 and 1994. Some of them were adapted for radio as well as television. Glyn Houston, who played Bunter in the BBC’s Lord Peter Wimsey series, provided the voice for Cadfael in one radio episode. The Cadfael television series was filmed in Hungary. Sheriff Hugh Beringar was played by three actors (which may cause some viewer confusion): Sean Pertwee in season 1; Eoin McCarthy in seasons 2 and 3; and Anthony Green in season 4. Author Peters once noted that Cadfael’s name was mispronounced in the television series. She stated that that the “f” is pronounced as a “v,” making the name sound like “Cad-vel.”
Our Review: The historical setting makes Cadfael an unconventional, engrossing mystery series and Derek Jacobi is perfectly cast as the lead. Politics within the church, the disparity between social classes, and an ongoing civil war provide a rich background for the plots. As the series progresses, we gradually learn more about Cadfael’s past, such as when a former fiancée appears in “Monk’s Hood” and Cadfael learns of the existence of a son in “The Virgin in the Ice.”
Our Grade: A.